Are you having trouble sleeping?
If so, you’re not alone. Up to a third of the American population suffers from a sleep disorder of some sort at some point in their lives.
And whether it’s temporary or chronic, sleeping problems and insomnia can affect your physical and mental health.
With its growing legalization, more and more people are getting curious about cannabis as a solution to this problem.
Cannabis has even been hyped as one of the best ways to treat insomnia in some circles.
In fact, there has been a lot of research on the topic and the results have been impressive.
So, how does it work? What makes cannabis a good sleeping aid?
This post covers a few things you should know about cannabis and how it can help you to get your sleep back.
A Few Things to Know about Cannabis as a Sleep Aid
Most people know marijuana as a drug that gets people “high” and relaxed.
Understanding the real science and properties of cannabis can give you a more informed perspective on the drug.
For starters, cannabis has a host of medical benefits. And that’s why it’s been gaining popularity in medical studies.
To get a better understanding of how cannabis helps to treat sleep disorders, here are a few things you should know:
The Science Behind It
According to medical research, cannabis contains over a hundred cannabinoids.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most common ones.
The difference between the two is that CBD is not psychoactive meaning it cannot get you high.
Plus, it has quite a number of health benefits, including some that can help with sleep issues.
On the other hand, THC is often responsible for the “high” feeling that comes from using marijuana.
That’s because it has psychoactive properties that ease anxiety and leads you to relax.
Arguably, THC is often the best cannabinoid for sleep issues.
THC helps to induce sleep in a number of ways. And that’s why when you experience difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, taking a cannabis strain with more THC than CBD can help.
So, how does THC induce sleep?
A 2008 study shows that high levels of THC often lowers the amount of Rapid Eye Movements (REM) sleep you get.
Now, if you are wondering what REM has to do with sleep, you should note that it determines how much you dream.
A reduction in REM sleep means less dreaming.
If you spend less time dreaming, you’ll spend more time in a state of “deep sleep.”
And your body will have more resting and restoration time during your sleep cycle.
However, long-term THC consumption could affect your sleep quality.
That’s because REM also plays an important role in cognitive health and immune functioning.
Hence, the use of THC-rich cannabis should only be limited to a small amount of the time.
Different Cannabis Strains: Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid?
Cannabis comes in different strains. Some strains have more THC than CBD and vice versa.
In order to get the best results, you have to use the right strain.
The most popular cannabis strains include:
- Cannabis Sativa: This strain can make you feel happy, excited, and energetic. It’s great for anyone going to a party or concert.
- Cannabis Indica: If you are looking for a chill, laid-back, and soothing effect, the Indica is what you need. It is often the most recommended for sleep induction.
- Hybrids: Sometimes, it takes a little bit of both Indica and Sativa strains to get the job done. A hybrid is a combination of both strains. Manufacturers often tailor hybrid strains to treat specific types or levels of sleep disorders.
To be on the safe side, you should look for cannabis sleep medication with less than 20% THC.
That’s because too much THC can have some side effects e.g. feeling sleepy and groggy in the morning.
Important Things to Consider Before Giving Marijuana a Try
Proceed with Caution
As promising as it may sound, the use of cannabis can have some health effects on you.
Smoking – of any type – can lead to long term health issues. You have to make sure you proceed with caution when using marijuana to treat your sleeplessness.
Also, as mentioned above, long-term disruption of REM sleep can weaken your immune system and affect your cognitive functions.
You have to be very responsible when using cannabis to treat your sleeping problems.
- Protect your lungs by using edibles or vaping instead of smoking.
- Avoid cannabis products when pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Use it only when you really have to and not for long periods.
Remember that different people react differently to this kind of treatment.
You may have to experiment with a few strains before finding the right one for you.
Timing is Critical
When should you use marijuana for sleep?
How long does it take for the effects to kick in?
The timing is always very important especially if you want to fall asleep at a specific time.
Generally, the speed at which you’ll start feeling the effects of cannabis depends on a number of things including the strain and type of ingestion.
Cannabis ingestion can be achieved through smoking, vaping, or eating edibles.
Edibles take time and don’t often have a specific reaction period. Sometimes you may start feeling the effects after an hour, while other times it could take up to 3 hours.
It’s not easy to time your sleep using edible cannabis.
Experts recommend that you ingest cannabis by vaping an hour before your bedtime.
That’s mainly because of the drug’s effects last for three to four hours. Which means you’ll have enough time to fall asleep.
In summary, both CBD and THC cannabinoids can be helpful to you when you’re experiencing difficulty getting enough sleep.
However, you have to be smart about how you use cannabis.
Make sure you consult with your doctor about using cannabis as a sleep aid.
Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. Because, the more information you have, the easier it will be for you to make the best-informed decision for yourself.