Many users of both medical and recreational marijuana find that one of its most amazing benefits is its ability to act as a sleep aid. Not surprisingly, the research on this topic backs up these reports. Not only does it help treat certain medical conditions, but it actually has an impact on the biology of sleep, allowing those who use it to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
If you’re experiencing sleep disturbances, keeping some marijuana at your bedside might be the perfect tool to a good night’s rest. The right strain can provide a deep sense of relaxation, as well as other useful benefits that promote sleep. Even those with persistent insomnia find that cannabis before bed gives them the opportunity to drift into a peaceful slumber.
Marijuana affects your sleep in a variety of ways. As with most of the plant’s beneficial qualities, its interaction with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) produces these effects. Marijuana’s cannabinoids — such as THC, CBD and CBN — mimic the activity of naturally occuring brain chemicals and bind themselves to ECS receptors. The ability of cannabis to produce these effects is what allows it to regulate sleep on top of offering other medical benefits.
Specifically, both THC and CBD change a user’s sleep cycle, the process that occurs while we sleep that includes five different stages. These changes are primarily to the progression and length of the cycles. For example, the REM cycle may be shortened but the period of deep sleep is extended. However, the result is a more restful night’s sleep. Those who use marijuana as a sleep aid typically experience four key benefits.
A moderate amount of cannabis before bedtime can be more effective than chamomile tea. Since the 1970s, researchers have found that those who use marijuana before bedtime fall asleep faster. However, moderation is key, as high doses of cannabis may produce the opposite effect.
Not only does marijuana help people fall asleep faster, but they also experience more extended periods of uninterrupted sleep. Increased doses of THC corresponded to increased time asleep. However, users should be aware that increasing the amount of THC they take could lead to symptoms resembling a hangover.
One of the sleep cycles cannabis affects the most is the slow wave or deep cycle. THC allows users to stay in this cycle longer than average. During this stage, sleep is at its most restful and revitalizing, which means the body can get the complete benefits of a full night’s sleep. Most sleep deprivation is believed to be caused by shortened or interrupted periods of deep sleep that can impact a person’s health, leading to such conditions as high blood pressure and stress.
Many disorders and medical conditions can lead to sleepless nights. Because of marijuana’s positive effects on sleep, patients who experience difficulties sleeping due to an underlying condition may experience a restful night as a result of medicating with cannabis. Patients with the following disorders have found that marijuana is a useful treatment option:
Before visiting your local dispensary, there are a few things to consider about using marijuana to help you sleep. Tons of different strains are out there, and if you pick the wrong one, it could have effects you don’t want or need for your unique situation. So, here are some factors to keep in mind to help you find the perfect cannabis strain for a good night’s rest:
If you struggle with a condition that leads to sleepless nights and are interested in using cannabis as a sleep aid, you may qualify as a medical marijuana patient in your state. Make an appointment with a marijuana doctor near you to find out if you meet your region’s criteria.