Are you a night owl? Are you having trouble falling asleep? Have you been frustrated with your poor sleep quality? Using cannabis for sleep, better known as “marijuana”, just might be something to look into.
It is a plant used to manufacture hemp fibers. Smokers normally have a psychotropic experience by using it. So, if you’ve been asking yourself “how does cannabis affect sleep?”… read on.
It’s also very important to note that the effects of cannabis will vary person-to-person.
Indica strains aid sleep:
Cannabis plants consist of at least 2 known strains, Indica and Sativa. Both these strains have a variety of medicinal effects on the human mind and body. Indica strains are especially useful for providing a deep sense of body relaxation.
Sativa strains provide a higher energizing experience. Cannabis has more than 200 types of terpenes. These are said to have many therapeutic benefits such as muscle relaxation, heartburn, and pain relief. The terpene known as Myrcene has anti-inflammatory as well as sedative effects.
Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid strains:
If you’ve already talked to your doctor, and they’ve agreed that the use of marijuana to treat your insomnia (or sleep apnea) might be a good idea, it’s time to choose a strain.
There are different strains of marijuana. Some are more energizing, and some are calming and sedating depending on the balance of the different cannabinoids. (healthline.com)
Think of ‘choosing a strain’ like choosing a tea blend. You could go for straight white or black tea, or a hybrid. The Indica strain will typically leave you feeling soothed and relaxed (great for sleep in my own, personal opinion).
Generally, the Sativa strain leaves people feeling excited, happy, and energized. Most of the people I know who smoke marijuana will smoke their Sativa strains in the mornings to start their day and get rocking.
Popular opinion would tell you that Indica strains tend to induce heavy, sleepy effects and Sativas are known to be uplifting and energizing. While this might often be true (just take a look at our top-rated sleepy strains ), this shouldn’t be the sole basis of your strain selection.
Cannabis can be used to improve sleep quality:
Cannabis is a popular and well-accepted treatment in the case of sleep apnea. Patients who suffer from sleep apnea have breathing problems while sleeping throughout the night. They find it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep due to obstructed and discontinued breathing.
As per evidence from different studies, tetrahydrocannabinol controls the level of serotonin in the human brain. This also, in turn, helps to regulate the breathing patterns.
It’s also important to remember that CBD also comes from the cannabis plant. Many people use CBD to improve sleep, but, with anything, it will affect each person a bit differently. It never hurts to try different products and, if CBD isn’t helping improve your sleep, you could consider trying something with a low dose of THC. “It’s hypnotic, sedative effects might just be the lullaby you’ve needed.” ( leafly.com).
Might Induce a Hangover:
Overindulging in marijuana might lead to a hangover effect. You can feel dehydrated, suffer from headaches, or experience dryness, and congestion.
Good quality cannabis will have a minimum hangover effect. To combat this, you need to drink a lot of water, have healthy food, and do some workouts.
Prevents Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep:
For patients who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, marijuana can be an effective solution, since it helps in reducing the occurrence of nightmares. If you stop consuming cannabis abruptly after having used it for many years, there is a high possibility that you might experience increased REM sleep.
Scientists and doctors have warned against overdosage which might lead to an unhealthy balance in the brain.
Cannabis, especially THC-rich strains, are likely to reduce levels of REM sleep. This is the stage of sleep when we do our most active dreaming, and when the brain does a lot of memory processing and consolidation of acquired information, as well as the processing of emotional experiences.
REM sleep can be thought of as a kind of wiping the slate clean in the brain each night, helping prepare the brain for all the activity, including cognitive and emotional activity, that it powers during every moment of waking life. (thesleepdoctor.com)
Helps To Fall Asleep:
Cannabis helps people to de-stress and relax. Due to this, it can be used as a natural sleep simulator. If you wish to relax your mind after a tiring day at home or work, cannabis can help you switch off your brain and fall asleep faster.
Marijuana can also be consumed as an effective pain killer. If you are suffering from any kind of pain or headaches, you can consider consuming cannabis.
Mature Cannabis is More Effective:
Marijuana works better when it is stored in a low, humid environment having a controlled atmosphere. Cannabis becomes more effective as a sleeping pill when it is allowed to grow more mature.
Gradually, the Tetrahydrocannabinol content in cannabis starts to degrade and gets substituted by cannabinol which has more sedative powers.
What Are The Things To Keep in Mind Before Using Cannabis As Therapy for Sleep?
Talking about how does cannabis affects sleep, it can be said that it needs to be consumed in consultation with a medical practitioner. If you wish to get an immediate solution to your sleeplessness, you can consume marijuana. However, it is recommended that you consult your physician before consuming regularly.
The dosage also has to be controlled. If you decide to stop using cannabis, it needs to be done gradually. Stopping it suddenly might also affect the mind and the body in a negative way. It will also take you longer to fall asleep.
You should consume cannabis only if you have reached 21 years of age. This is the minimum age requirement in all of the U.S. states that have legalized marijuana. According to many pieces of research, young teenagers and young adults tend to experience deteriorating sleep quality due to long usages of marijuana.
It is always better to proceed with caution when you are consuming cannabis for sleep. More than medication, cannabis is a natural and herbal solution. Given the therapeutic and medical benefits of marijuana, it can be used for getting a good night’s sleep.
Smoking of any kind is a known health risk and should be approached with caution. Also, medicinal use of marijuana is still illegal in many areas.
Talk to your doctor about your sleep cycles. There may be long-term health consequences with interrupted REM, because much of the immune function repair takes place in deep sleep.
Long-term use of any sleep aid isn’t recommended.
Please use marijuana responsibly. As with all forms of smoking, your risk of COPD can increase. Smoking marijuana is hazardous to the lungs , especially for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions. The use of marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding isn’t recommended. (healthline.com)
- CBD and THC affect sleep differently
- Dosage is crucial — smoke too much and you may end up in a weed-induced paranoia — smoke too little and you might not feel any helpful effects at all
- How you consume marijuana is important — if taking an edible, allow your body a couple of hours to react (I personally recommend starting at or below 10mg). If smoking or vaping marijuana, you will feel the effects much sooner and less planning is necessary for your good night’s sleep
- Researchers found that cannabis may promote better breathing with sleeping (a way to combat sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea) — check out this study from 2013 and another from 2002
- Interestingly enough, discontinuing long-term use may end up worsening the quality of your sleep. This study from 2008 found that it could lead to shorter sleep time, less slow-wave sleep, worse sleep efficiency, longer sleep onset, shorter REM cycles, and more sleep disruption. (leafly.com)
- This 2014 study took a survey of 1,811 participants and researchers found that using cannabis before the age of 15 may cause continuing sleep problems throughout adulthood