The Top Terpenes and Minor Cannabinoids for a Good Night’s Sleep

by | Aug 17, 2023 | Florida, Terpenes

The Top Terpenes and Minor Cannabinoids for a Good Night's Sleep

Now that medical cannabis is legalized in almost every state in America, there are more opportunities to explore new ways to help with symptom management. While many people use medical cannabis for chronic pain or to relieve stress, did you know that it may also be used as a natural sleep aid?

Certain types of cannabis can act as a natural sedative, but many people believe it is caused by high-potency THC. When in fact, higher concentrations of THC can cause anxiety and racing thoughts and may act as a stimulant that can make it harder to fall asleep.

So why do certain strains of cannabis work well for people who suffer from sleep problems? Lesser known minor cannabinoids and terpenes can provide deep calm, and promote sleep, among other beneficial properties. And the trick is to pick the right strains that have terpenes for sleep.

How Many People Struggle With Sleep Disorders?

The Sleep Foundation curates data that tracks how well Americans are sleeping. And how many people living in the United States have chronic sleep disorders? According to the latest updates from the Sleep Foundation, the majority of American adults are not sleeping well, and it correlates to other mental health and chronic disease risks.

Did you know that a normal adult cycles through 4-6 phases of sleep? There are three stages of sleep where physical changes occur. And you can move through each cycle repeatedly until you wake up the next morning.

Stage One Sleep

Tossing and turning? Trying to find a comfortable position and moving your pillow a lot? During stage one sleep, your muscles begin to relax, and your eye movements slow down. As you get ready to enter deeper sleep stages, your heart rate and breathing also start to slow down.

Brain activity in stage one of sleep shows both alpha (wakefulness) and theta (drowsiness) waves. You may experience random muscle spasms that are not painful, called hypnic jerks. Medical science isn’t sure why these movements happen.

Stage 1 sleep does not produce dreams (that happens in stages two and three) because you are not yet in a deep sleep mode. During stage one sleep, you can be easily awakened by sounds, smells, and other external stimuli. You can also wake yourself up with your own thoughts.

Stage Two Sleep

Did you know that you spend almost 50% of your sleep time in Stage 2? That is a good thing, too, because, in Stage 2 of the sleep cycle, your body and brain rejuvenate, recharge cognitive functions, and process information, learning, and memories to support emotional well-being.

In Stage 2 sleep, the EEG patterns show that the brain cycles from the light sleep in Stage 1 to deeper and slow-wave sleep. There are interesting bursts of brain activity called sleep singles and K-complexes. They are responsible for numbing your body and brain to external stimuli, such as noise or light, and internal stimuli, such as muscle pains or aches. That helps you achieve the deeper, uninterrupted sleep that your body needs.

During Stage 2 sleep, both heart rate and body temperature decrease. Muscle tone and eye movements relax to help you get a restful sleep. But now you know why you may be slightly chilly when you wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

Stage Three Sleep

You’ve probably heard of REM (rapid eye movement) activity when you are asleep. The REM period is also responsible for the vivid dreams you may have. During Stage 3, your body dips into repair, rebuild and rejuvenate mode. And it is the deepest and most important sleep you will get every night.

Slow and high-amplitude delta waves are present on an EEG because while you are in shutdown mode, your brain is actually running a diagnostic and repair throughout your body. In Stage 3 sleep, the brain releases growth hormones, identifies damaged tissues (and repairs them), and sends some extra energy to the immune system.

Do you know how some dreams can be a slideshow of different things you saw or experienced? That is your brain at work in Stage 3, where it consolidates memories, organizes them, and processes the data into learning. A healthy metabolism also relies on Stage 3 sleep, and the central nervous system communicates to every part of the body while you are in Stage 3 sleep.

People who are “light sleepers” who struggle to get into Stage 3 (or stay there for sufficient periods each night) may have higher risks of developing chronic diseases, including:

  • Obesity.
  • Cardiovascular diseases.
  • Cognitive and memory impairments.
  • Diabetes.

Sleep disorders are usually diagnosed with a sleep study that identifies insufficient Stage 2 and Stage 3 rest. Stress and clinical anxiety, certain types of prescription medications, and noisy or light-polluted sleep environments can disrupt healthy sleep cycles.

Terpenes and Minor Cannabinoids

Common Treatments for Insomnia and Poor Sleep Quality

Identifying the cause of sleep disruption is the first step. For some people, it may simply be lifestyle choices. Overconsumption of caffeine or alcohol before bed, for example. Some may be behavioral issues, such as untreated anxiety, or lifestyle issues, like watching television in bed (or smartphone use), lack of exercise, or an uncomfortable bed and rest environment.

Behavioral treatments are often effective for people who have problems achieving REM sleep and staying asleep for the duration of the night. Sleep deprivation can become a vicious cycle because being overtired from symptoms of insomnia can actually cause cortisol levels to rise. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and it can make it hard to get a good night’s rest.

Lifestyle changes play an important role to induce sleep and lengthen sleep duration. Relaxation techniques like stretching, yoga, deep breathing, and meditation can be helpful. Reducing food and beverage intake before bed may also help. Daily exercise has also been found to be one of the best types of sleep medicine. Even thirty (30) minutes per day of moderate exercise may help.

Some medical interventions may also help if chronic pain is one of the causes of sleep disruption. Medical cannabis can also provide pain-relieving properties. Some of the best cannabis strains for insomnia may be Indica dominant, which is recognized to provide pain relief. These strains may also have valuable natural terpenes for sleep.

What Are Minor Cannabinoids?

When you think of cannabinoids, two of them may come to mind. And the two rock-star cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But while they are impressive major cannabinoids, there are more than 200 different types that originate from the cannabis plant.

Don’t worry; we aren’t going to list all two hundred minor cannabinoids. But here are the types you may see in strains commonly sold at medical cannabis dispensaries:

Cannabigerol (CBG)

This is called the “mother cannabinoid” because it is the precursor to other important cannabinoids, THC and CBD. Some clinical studies suggest CBG may have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits and reduce pain.

Cannabinol (CBN)

When cannabis is aged, cannabinol (CBN) is formed as THC breaks down due to light and oxygen exposure. Mild psychoactive and sedative effects are possible with CBN, and it may be one of the most valuable minor cannabinoids to help with sleep problems.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

Some strains have this minor cannabinoid, and some do not. But CBC is valued for its anti-inflammatory potential, and it may help relieve pain or moderate pain levels to improve comfort and relaxation. Some studies also suggest that CBC may help amplify benefits from other major and minor cannabinoids.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

This minor cannabinoid is believed to help suppress appetite and may play an important role in regulating healthy body weight. Some people share that THCV can make them feel more energetic and clear-headed, improving focus and concentration.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

This is one of the minor cannabinoids that researchers suspect may help with convulsions, muscle spasms, and certain types of epilepsy. Cannabidivarin may also help reduce nausea and inflammation.

Research into minor cannabinoids is ongoing, and we still have so much to learn about the potential wellness benefits that medicinal cannabis can provide. Understanding the function of minor cannabinoids can help patients pick strains that may provide better results.

Terpenes Good Night's Sleep

Why Are Terpenes So Important?

When patients visit a medical cannabis dispensary, they have a lot of information available about different strains. And some of the information includes terpene content to allow patients to choose strains that may offer promising results for symptom management.

Not only do minor cannabinoids work together (entourage effect), but the types and quantities of terpenes in your medical cannabis products also matter. That is because many terpenes can offer anti-inflammatory benefits, antioxidant properties, and also anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) benefits.

Some of the other ways that terpenes may provide sleep-promoting properties include:

  • Mood enhancement and aromatherapy. Some terpenes can help you unwind and relax, and that may support the sedative effect of medical cannabis.
  • Pain relief to reduce sleep disruptions from muscle pain, aches, or neuropathy.
  • Neuroprotective effects that can support brain health. The brain’s GABA system is responsible for moderating healthy sleep cycles.
  • It may provide antifungal and antimicrobial properties to help the immune system fight viral, fungal, or bacterial infections. This, in turn, can reduce inflammation and may reduce pain symptoms, gastrointestinal upset, and other side effects.

Look for strains of medical cannabis that have good terpene content, but choose the best terpenes for sleep. If you have been taking a sleep medicine, but you are experiencing unpleasant side effects, medical marijuana with calming terpenes may help.

Terpenes Help With Insomnia

What Terpenes May Help With Insomnia or Disrupted Sleep?

Choosing the right cannabis strains means learning about minor cannabinoid content and terpene rations in your medical marijuana. Think of terpenes as essential oils that can help you get restful sleep and may help you restore healthy sleep cycles.

Some of the best terpenes for sleep include:

  • Caryophyllene (strains include Death Star, Candyland, Master Kush, and Girl Scout Cookies).
  • Nerolidol (found in Blue Dream, Chem Dawg, Skywalker OG, and Bubba Kush strains).
  • Myrcene (Purple Kush, Grape Ape, Tangie, And OG Kush have good Myrcene content).
  • Linalool (found in OG Shark, Scooby Snacks, Amnesia Haze, and Purple Kush strains).
  • Pinene or Beta Pinene (strains include UW, God’s Gift, Big Smooth, Bubba Kush, and Harlequin cannabis strains).
  • Terpinolene (contained in strains like Sensi Star, Clementine, Ace of Spades, and Super Lemon Haze).

The most abundant terpene in most strains of medical marijuana is Myrcene, followed by alpha-pinene. Remember that the human endocannabinoid system interacts with all cannabinoids. So, if falling asleep is a big problem, and you are not getting enough sleep, talk to your local dispensary about strains that may provide sedative properties. It may help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

Food Terpenes Can Boost the Cannabis Entourage Effect

Did you know that you can also use dietary foods to boost your intake of terpenes for sleep? Terpenes are the essential oils found in every plant on Earth. You have been consuming terpenes in one form or another for your entire life, and they are also responsible for flavors and aromatic scents we all enjoy.

When you are consuming medical cannabis, you can choose a snack or food that is high in sedative terpenes. While terpenes alone are not enough to make you feel impaired, if your goal is improving sleep quality, you may want to explore dietary terpenes when you consume cannabis.

These terpenes promote relaxation and can help you improve sleep:

  • Lavender (tea, baked goods, or lavender topical oil) contains Linalool.
  • Hops-rich foods, herbal teas, and hop-infused beverages contain Myrcene.
  • Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit, contain Limonene.
  • Cloves and black pepper contain Beta-caryophyllene.
  • Chamomile contains the terpene Bisabolol.

If you want to try terpenes for sleep, talk to your doctor first. While dietary terpenes provide essential oils that can help you get to sleep, the calming effects may not be strong enough to help with a chronic sleep disorder.

For patients with underlying health issues, adding any natural compound or cannabinoid may conflict with your prescription medications. That’s why it is important to discuss the therapeutic benefits of terpenes with your physician









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