There are few things as annoying, or more common, than a rough night’s sleep. From anxiety to stress to simple overstimulation, getting some shuteye isn’t always as simple as hitting the pillow and shutting off the lights. There is good evidence, however, that cannabis can be a safe sleep aid.
Many of the studies focused not just on a few nights of bad sleep but recurring sleep disorders like insomnia. Insomnia is a pervasive problem in the US, with 40 million people affected each year and 10-15% of Americans suffering from the disorder long-term.
With that many Americans struggling, it’s no wonder they’re exploring as many options as possible, especially those which may be non-habit forming and natural. Cannabis offers both, but it’s important to understand the elements at work. First, there is a big difference between CBD and THC and those differences are especially important when it comes to using cannabis as a sleep aid.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is nonpsychoactive, and while it offers a number of health benefits, it doesn’t cause any sort of a high. More specifically, it doesn’t have one important side effect that THC does, and that’s causing drowsiness.
When you’re choosing a product to support healthy sleep, finding something with elevated levels of THC is a plus, especially to help you make that important transition from awake to knocked out. However, there are drawbacks. Some studies, including an important trial in 2008, found that THC can reduce the quality or amount of REM sleep. REM sleep is the deep sort of sleep in which we dream and is considered important for restful, restorative sleep. Some veterans or sufferers from PTSD benefit from THC by reducing REM sleep and the night terrors caused by their traumatic experience.
One of the most challenging aspects of marijuana as a healthful supplement is accounting for its different effects on different people. Other studies have found that long-term marijuana use can negatively impact sleep and sleep patterns; the same changes that might help some people can create even more problems in others.
If you’re planning to use marijuana to help with sleep, consider talking with your doctor to first ensure you’re following good sleep hygiene to begin with. Not only with this help you to improve sleep without marijuana, but it may also help any cannabis sleep aid be more effective if you still want to give it a try.
As a good rule, Indica strains are more relaxing and calming than Sativa, and you can always ask one of our crew at Dunegrass to help you find the right strain. Because strains affect people differently, it’s a good idea to smoke or ingest your cannabis at least an hour before bedtime, and make sure you give it a little experimentation when it comes to finding the right strain, the right amount, the right time, and the right form (smoking versus edibles or concentrates) to get to sleep.
It may also be useful to use cannabis as a sleep aid only during periods of poor sleep instead of nightly to avoid any long-term changes to your sleep patterns or reliance on smoking to get to sleep. Everyone is different, so keeping a watchful eye on how cannabis is impacting your sleep is very important to make sure it’s only positive.
If you have questions about cannabis and sleep, reach out, or stop by the Dunegrass Co. shop nearest you to learn a bit more!