Cannabis can be a splendid sleep aid, which is why many consumers keep a go-to favorite by their bedside. Even people with the most stubborn insomnia can find their escape to the dream world with a nice sedating indica. While most consumers are aware that cannabis can help you get a good night’s sleep, there’s a lot more to that relationship than you might think. For example, did you know older dried cannabis makes you sleepier than fresh bud? And did you know that marijuana inhibits dreams?
Get ready to learn a thing or two about the ways cannabis can help or hinder your nightly hibernation.
1. CBD and THC Affect Sleep Differently
By now you probably know that there are different types of strains: some get you high (high-THC, low-CBD), some don’t (high-CBD, low-THC), and others keep your buzz at a minimum (equal or near-equal parts THC and CBD). It’s worth first noting that most sleep studies – as well as the facts to follow –pertain to high-THC strains, as CBD strains are significantly harder (if not impossible) to find in some areas of the U.S.
So what effect do high-CBD strains have on sleep? A 2006 study tested the effects of CBD on animal models in both lights-on and lights-off environments and found that this non-psychoactive cannabis compound increased alertness with the lights on and had no discernable effects on lights-off sleep. The study’s authors concluded that CBD might actually hold therapeutic promise for those with somnolence, or excessive daytime sleepiness from a not-so-good night’s rest.
2. Indica Strains Tend to Be Better Sleep Aids
Popular opinion maintains that indica strains tend to induce heavier, sleepy effects while sativas are known to be uplifting, even energizing. Take a look at our top-rated sleepy strainsand you’ll see a wall of indica purple patched with a little hybrid green. Although chemical and DNA testing have yet to show exactly why indicas typically make better sleep aids, some theorize that it has to do with the terpene content – that is, the aromatic compounds that contribute to each strain’s special effect fingerprint. In other words, indicas may contain more of the relaxing, sedating terpenes than its sativa relatives.
3. Aged Cannabis Makes You Sleepier
No, really. When THC degrades over time, it converts to a sedating chemical known as cannabinol, or CBN. This cannabis compound is five times more sedating than THC, though it’s fairly slow to form. Chief Research Officer Rev. Dr. Kymron deCesare of Steep Hill Labs elaborates on this process.
“As d9-THC degrades through both isomerization and/or oxidatively, only a small portion of it turns into CBN. As a result, CBN is a bit difficult to collect in large quantities for usage. My experience is that if I take cannabis that is about 20% THCA, and I wrap in in plastic and let it sit in the garage for 3 years (in summer heat and dry), it results in a 3-5% production of CBN. Yes, I use ‘old weed’ to make sedative medicinals.”
5. Cannabis Can Help You Fall Asleep Faster
Given its ability to quell stress and relax physically, it should come as no surprise that cannabis can help you fall asleep faster. This can be especially true for those treating pain, insomnia, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, or other conditions that interfere with the ability to fall asleep as cannabis relieves many bothersome symptoms. It’s worth noting that cannabis-infused edibles take longer to kick in than inhalation methods, but their effects can last several hours and help you stay asleep longer.
7. Cannabis Inhibits REM Sleep and Dreaming
One thing you may find yourself missing while regularly consuming cannabis is dreams. Dreams occur during the final stage of your sleep cycle called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Cannabis use before bedtime is shown to reduce the time spent in REM, which means you won’t have as many dreams or as vivid dreams. However, if you halt long-term cannabis use, you’re likely to experience “REM rebound” in which you tend to have more dreams that are more lucid in nature.
10. Using Cannabis at a Young Age May Cause Sleep Problems
Using cannabis – particularly before the age of 15 – may cause sleeping problems throughout adulthood, according to a 2014 study that took survey information from 1,811 participants with a history of use. The key word there is “may” – the study was unable to determine whether cannabis caused worsened sleep or if insomniacs are more likely to use cannabis for its sedative effects. More studies are needed to confirm a causal relationship.
Leafly.com Article By. BAILEY RAHN