Medical marijuana has the potential to relieve a wide range of symptoms and conditions. But, like any other kind of medicine, it has side effects that affect some people more than others. Certain patients feel sleepy after they take their cannabis medicine. This drowsiness can get in the way of daily functioning. Read on to find out why some marijuana products cause tiredness and how you can change your treatment plan to avoid it.
The Science Behind Cannabis and Sleepiness
When we understand how our bodies react to marijuana, we can reduce the side effects and enhance the benefits. Cannabis makes you sleepy due to the following factors.
Cannabinoids: Medical marijuana actually consists of about 500 compounds. Substances called cannabinoids make up at least 85 of those compounds. They activate our endocannabinoid system, which includes receptors throughout our bodies. When cannabinoids activate receptors related to our sleep/wake cycle, we get sleepy. Research has pointed to the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as the main cause of the drowsiness associated with marijuana.
Terpenes: In addition to cannabinoids, you can find hundreds of compounds called terpenes in cannabis. Even people who don’t use marijuana consume terpenes—they appear in aromatic herbs and plants. Just like cannabinoids, terpenes also work together to affect your body in different ways. A terpene called myrcene creates sleepiness and is contained in cannabis.
Medicine type: Patients have a wide range of methods of cannabis consumption at their disposal. Some of these medication options can enhance the sleep-inducing effects of marijuana. Edibles with high amounts of sugar or tea infused with cannabis can calm you down and make you feel drowsy. By contrast, topical treatments that reach only your muscles may not make you tired at all. High-THC medicine formulas pose a greater risk for drowsiness than medications with less THC.
How to Reduce Sleepiness
1. Try a different formula or product.
When you notice that your medicine causes drowsiness, your first step is to try changing to a different product. Concentrates, capsules and other infused products each have a formula of compounds. Some items have more THC than others, making them more likely to make you sleepy.
If you need a high amount of THC in your medicine, try asking for a product that also has a high amount of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD reduces the side effects of THC and improves its benefits. If you take your medicine in edible form, find something that has a lower sugar content.
2. Change your strain.
Another option when looking for a remedy that doesn’t cause drowsiness is to search for a new strain. Keep in mind that strains can includean indica, sativa or hybrid. Indica strains have more sedating effects than strains with sativa heritage. Many indica strains have more terpenes than sativa strains do. Even if your strain doesn’t have as much THC, the terpenes it contains could have an impact on its effects.
3. Take fresher medicine.
While THC has the most influence over the level of drowsiness caused by a medication, other cannabinoids have a similar effect. Cannabinol (CBN) amplifies the sleepiness associated with THC. You may not have much control over the THC in your medication unless you change it, but you can reduce the amount of CBN.
When THC makes contact with the air, it begins to turn into CBN. If you use flower to medicate, keep it stored in an airtight container away from light. Marijuana tends to contain more CBN when it becomes dry and aged due to a natural curing process.
4. Switch your treatment schedule.
If you feel satisfied with your medicine’s effects and don’t want to change it, you can try taking it before bed. Much of the drowsiness should go away when you wake up. However, some of the benefits could be reduced as well.
This approach takes some experimentation, so try it the night before a day when you don’t plan to do much. You may find that you feel good enough throughout the day that you could change to a nighttime dosage. And you may find that your sleep is improved.
Marijuana Medicine as a Sleep Aid
While some patients prefer to avoid the sedative effects of marijuana, others take it specifically to improve sleep. Cannabis medicine can help withsleep conditions like:
While some patients don’t prefer the sedative effects of marijuana, others take it specifically for sleep. Cannabis medicine relieves sleep conditions like:
Before you decide to make a major change in your medical marijuana treatment, talk to your recommending doctor or a dispensary employee. Switching the way you take your cannabis medicine may be safe, but these professionals will help you make a smooth transition to your new plan. You can call your doctor or ask the consultants at your dispensary for assistance.
Find out more
The side effects of marijuana are generally mild, but managing them will let you enjoy your treatment more. At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we aim to provide comprehensive information on everything related to cannabis medicine. Visit our side effects page today to learn about more potential side effects, as well as how to handle them.