The exhaustion felt by people constantly combating insomnia can become debilitating. It’s an uphill battle that can have unhealthy consequences without the right knowledge. However, using cannabis for insomnia can be an extremely effective treatment that minimizes the risks that other sleep aids are associated with. So how can cannabis be used to help you not only fall asleep easier but also rest more steadily through the night?
Using cannabis for insomnia requires some know-how to maximize its effectiveness. Some strains tend to be more effective than others. Strains high in Cannabidiol (CBD) work as more helpful sleep aids than those high in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is a cannabis constituent that doesn’t contain the psychoactive elements that most people link to cannabis use, unlike THC. Studies indicate that high CBD strains can effectively treat inflammation, pain, nausea, epilepsy and much more. Indica strains are often cited as some of the best strains of cannabis for insomnia, and while more research needs to be done, it’s thought to be due to their higher levels of CBD and terpene content. Sativa strains are typically used for the daytime to promote energy and focus, so this type of cannabis isn’t recommended as a sleep aid.
There is more than one way to consume cannabis. You can vape it, smoke it from a bong, use tinctures, and eat marijuana-infused foods among others. But how you use cannabis affects its potency and the length of time until effects are felt. For the use of a sleep aid, edibles can be a wise choice due to their potency. Unlike inhaling, where the effects become apparent almost immediately, edibles have to be digested and absorbed in the stomach. This is a slow-release method that takes longer to kick in, but the effects tend to last much longer since most edibles are made from highly concentrated cannabis. Although everyone has varying experiences with edibles, the best results can be obtained by eating an edible one hour before bedtime to give your stomach time to digest it. The benefits of many edibles can be felt for up to 6-8 hours, meaning it won’t just help you get to sleep, but also help you stay asleep.
A common opinion among avid cannabis users is that once cannabis is past it’s freshest point, it begins to lose more and more potency. Is this true?… yes and no. The loss of potency felt in aged cannabis is really just a lack of THC. Aged strains high in THC may act more like strains high in CBD than a fresh batch of the same strain. Why? As THC ages, it breaks down into CBD. And as previously states, CBD can make you sleepier and more relaxed than strains high in THC.
Aside from putting your phone down and turning off the lights, there are other ways you can maximize your sleeping efforts. For instance, terpenoids in Indica strains are synergistic with other herbals. Consider mixing CBD with Melatonin, Chamomile or others herbals.
Be careful with your bedtime consumption, though. Much like alcohol, using cannabis before bed could cause a mild hangover for some users. Fortunately, it’s not nearly as severe as alcohol-induced hangovers. And there are ways to prevent or minimize this. Stay hydrated, eat healthily and only consume clean strains of cannabis. Resin, which is the black tar left over from burnt cannabis, should not be smoked at all. Even though it contains traces of cannabinoids, it is harsher on the lungs and can create heavy coughing fits; which can lead to headaches and the aforementioned hangover feeling.
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is the last stage in the sleep cycle, and it also happens to be when dreams occur. One study shows that the use of cannabis actually reduces the amount of time spent in REM, which means less time to dream. This may seem like a negative to those who enjoy a lovely jaunt in a field of dandelions while they sleep, but for others who suffer from night terrors, this effect can be a blessing in disguise.
From insomnia to chronic pain to psychological disorders, medical marijuana continues to prove that the sky is the limit for treating a multitude of medical conditions. Interested to know what other wondrous things that marijuana is capable of? Be sure to sign up for the MedWell Health & Wellness Centers mailing list for the latest news and innovations in the medical marijuana industry.