This is probably one of the most important questions about cannabis you could possibly ask, as it is used globally by countless people as a natural treatment for insomnia. But is this actually a good idea?
Does weed help you sleep? Yes. It is definitely a great short term solution if you are having trouble getting to sleep. However, whether cannabis actually aids rest is a completely different question, and the answer probably isn’t what you were expecting.
The question of how or if weed aids sleep is a very personal one for many, if not most stoners.
As is the case with many people who seek Mary Jane’s medical help, I used to suffer from terrible insomnia, a condition which is often treated with various pills including Diazepam (aka Valium), a solution which requires higher and higher doses to work on a long term basis. This puts the patient at high risk of many adverse side effects, including addiction.
Does Weed Make It Easier To Sleep?
When it comes to Marijuana, the answer is a little confusing.
In the short term, Marijuana is really good at making you feel sleepy, drowsy or tired because the THC interacts with the CB1 receptors in our brain in a way which induces sleep, as those receptors are a crucial part of the sleep mechanism.
So if for whatever reason you can’t sleep, a spliff or bowl will definitely mellow you out and make sleeping easier, provided it’s not too intense a sativa.
This doesn’t mean that you are getting a better sleep though. Despite what you may have heard or thought from experience, the truth is that the effect of THC on sleep has been studied scientifically in the 1970s. This was a small study and it was under many restrictions, but its conclusion seems to line up with my experience at least.
It concludes that people who consume THC before sleep on a non-regular basis do have an increase in REM sleep, or deep sleep, as well as finding getting to sleep much easier.
Unfortunately for regular users, it would seem that this increase in REM sleep is only short-lived and over time users experience decreased amounts of REM sleep leading to less rest.
Interestingly cannabis doesn’t seem to have any effect on the length of sleep, only the quality. Unfortunately, though this decrease in REM sleep with regular use can last for several days even when no THC is consumed.
Does Weed Impair Sleep?
Even though long term use does lead to decreased REM sleep and can even make users find it hard to sleep without consuming it, it’s not all bad news.
Let’s focus on the fact that it initially aids REM sleep over short term use. According to the same study I mentioned earlier, this effect can actually last so long as the user stops using marijuana after only a short period.
This means that THC can actually help you reset your body clock, helping people who suffer from both jet-lag and Netflix-lag.
Not only can THC aid your body clock get back into a rhythm, but there is another cannabinoid which can help sleep on a much more profound level and it’s our good friend CBD.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is something of a wonder drug and has recently been proven scientifically to help negate the effects of epilepsy, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis as well as a whole host of other things. It is probably most famous though for its alleged ability to help relieve both psychological stress and physical stress. This is understandable as it is a large part of what causes the ‘stoned’ feeling people get in their body when medicating with cannabis.
So as CBD can help users alleviate stress and can help them relax both physically and mentally, and as stress is the leading cause behind most sleeping issues, it stands to reason that CBD could actually aid sleep.
Unfortunately, though, there just isn’t enough research into the effects of long term CBD use on sleep. But it would seem to like it’s not a bad idea to have a low-temperature vaporizer session or some CBD cannabis oil if you are struggling to sleep and don’t want to take sleeping pills.
How Do I Consume CBD
CBD is found in all marijuana in varying quantities and has many effects, one of which is that dampens your THC ‘high’ meaning that the CBD in your cannabis can counteract its psychoactive effects. It does make you feel relaxed and heavy in high doses, despite not making you feel ‘high’ or ‘stoned’. This is because CBD is a mild muscle relaxant.
If you don’t want to reset your body clock, or risk becoming dependent on THC to sleep, and you instead want to reap the many benefits of CBD, how would you do this?
There are many ways. You could use a normal e-cigarette and purchase some CBD infused e-liquid.
You can also buy CBD rich hemp tea in many online stores, and best of all it’s extremely low THC content means it’s legal in most countries. This tea can be used as intended, or as it is just dried hemp it can also be smoked and made into THC-free hemp butter or even vaped.
CBD oil is sold freely and legally in many countries, even countries with notoriously strict drug laws like the UK and Sweden! CBD oils are by far the easiest way to consume CBD as they usually have high concentration and can be added to food, drinks, vaporized or even directly under the tongue.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is one of the many unique compounds found within marijuana which interacts with our endo-cannabinoid system. This puts CBD in a unique class of chemicals called Cannabinoids. More specifically it has been proven to have a profoundly positive effect on people who suffer from epilepsy and has been shown to have some effect on our ability to recover from stress, anxiety and many other neurological conditions as well as being a muscle relaxant.
Will I Feel The CBD?
CBD, unlike its fellow cannabinoid THC, will not have any psychoactive effects on you. In fact, for most users, CBD has no psychoactive effects at all, only a mild relaxing effect both mentally and physically.
Personally, I would compare this feeling to being ready for bed or getting out of a hot bath. Though not psychoactive a high dose of CBD can be a very pleasurable experience.
Are There Any Side Effects To Using CBD?
Unfortunately, CBD isn’t the perfect cure-all and does have a few side effects, although these do vary heavily from user to user. In some people, CBD can cause anxiety, nausea and vomiting, but that is very uncommon.
Most people experience almost no side effects when using CBD, though having said that there are a few things most CBD users will have experienced at some point. These are a dry mouth, diarrhoea, changes in appetite and drowsiness. Though having said this, most of these symptoms can be avoided if you use CBD responsibly and drowsiness is to be expected when you take any muscle relaxant no matter how mild.