Cannabis has been known to have a profound effect on sleep, both in terms of the amount and quality of sleep and dreaming experienced. Although the question of how cannabis affects sleep, dreaming, and your overall REM cycle sounds simple, there is no straight answer to how it affects these things. This is due to the fact there are several factors that can influence this including the dosage you take, the method by which you consume cannabis, and the strain of cannabis being consumed.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know, but be mindful that research is limited on this and you should always consult with your doctor first before implementing something new into your wellness routine.
Can Cannabis Help You Sleep?
Yes, it can. Using cannabis can help people fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, can bind to receptors in our brain and body to produce a sedative effect that helps you relax and feel drowsy.
Cannabis also seems to help reduce nighttime awakenings. Cannabis consumption before sleep decreases the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and can help reduce the number of times someone wakes up at night.
This leads to feeling more rested in the morning and getting better quality sleep overall.
Cannabinoids & Sleeping
Cannabinoids have been studied and used for potential benefits in sleep and other health conditions such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, cancer, and many other ailments. Some of the most studied cannabinoids that have shown to effect sleep are CBD, THC, and CBN.
CBD has no psychoactive effect, so you won’t get “high” while using CBD. Studies show CBD can reduce anxiety, pain, and increase focus and mental clarity. CBD is safe and is recommended for use before bedtime if you’re looking for relaxation without the feeling of the psychoactive “high.”
THC, which is the main psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, is what gives the “high” associated with cannabis use. THC can be therapeutic for pain and has sedative effects. New studies show that THC can improve breathing during sleep which may be a potentially effective treatment for sleep apnea. THC has been studied to most actively alter sleep cycles and reduces REM sleep, while increasing deep sleep and non-REM sleep.
Cannabinol, or CBN, is less widely talked about but also has powerful sedative effects especially when combined with THC.
Finally, terpenes effect sleep as well. Terpenes are aromatic molecules in cannabis that are responsible for its smell and taste. Terpenes are found in most natural plants, fruits, and flowers. Cannabis contains tons of special terpenes known for their impact on mood, cognition, sleep, and even appetite. Not all terpenes are the same, some can stimulate you while some can make you sleepy.
Best Cannabis For Sleep?
It is important to remember that not all types of cannabis have the same effect on sleep and dreaming. Indica strains, for example, are typically more sedating than Sativa strains, so they may be better suited for those looking to get a good night’s sleep. There are also hybrid strains that combine both indica and sativa for a mixture of both.
However, just looking at whether a cannabis product is sativa or indica won’t be enough to determine its quality for sleep. The strain you consume as well as the terpene and cannabinoid composition is responsible for its effects. High-CBD cannabis, low THC products may be more beneficial for those looking to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Additionally, its best to pick a strain with relaxing terpenes in it.
Overall, it is important to experiment with different types and strains of cannabis in order to find the one that works best for improving sleep and dreaming. The ideal strain for you might be different than the ideal strain for somebody else.
Strains for Sleep
Remember, all bodies are different and something ideal for you may be different than for someone else. However, some popular marijuana strains though to be good for sleep problems, according to consumer reviews are Hindu Kush, Grandaddy Purple, Bubba Kush, Northern Lights, and Girl Scout just to name a few. All of these are indica dominant, and have both THC and CBD. The combination of both THC and CBD are known to be a sleep aid.
Cannabis and REM Sleep
Many people use cannabis to fall asleep earlier, but how does that affect your sleeping cycles? A full sleep cycle usually consists of 4-5 cycles, typically over a 7-8 hour sleep. There are non-REM sleep and REM sleep. In non-REM sleep, you will move in four sleep stages from light sleep to deep sleep. REM sleep is a stage from the four stages of non-REM sleep.
Studies have shown that your non-REM sleep stage gets lengthened due to the activation of the endocannabinoid system. Cannabis helps you fall asleep more quickly, and can lengthen the first steps of your non-REM sleep.
Cannabis also has effects on your deep sleep stages by increasing your deep, non-REM sleep. During deep sleep, your body performs its most powerful restorative work. This includes repairing tissues, strengthening immune function, and memory processing. However, this is new research and more must be studied for clearer answers including how long these effects last.
Cannabis and Dreaming
While research into this area is still relatively limited, cannabis can influence dreaming. THC-rich strains are likely to reduce levels of REM sleep, which is when we actively dream. This means that you are less likely to have vivid dreams if you use cannabis before smoking. This can help patients with PTSD, insomnia, or REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Yes, there can be.
While cannabis may help improve sleep in some cases, it may also cause fatigue and drowsiness the following day.
The good news is that side effects are minimal or nonexistent in most cases.
It is important to remember that everyone is different and will react differently to cannabis use, so it is important to be mindful of how your body responds.
If you notice any detrimental effects, you should get in touch with a medical professional. They will help you determine the best course of action in your situation.
Can You Use Cannabis to Treat Sleep-Related Conditions?
Yes, but remember to consult with your doctor first to decide the best treatment plan. Recent studies have shown cannabis may be an effective treatment for sleep-related conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
However, each person will react differently to cannabis use, and it is important to consult with your doctor before trying it. You should also keep in mind that cannabis use might not resolve your issue. However, it could be a great addition to a treatment plan.
How Can I Obtain My Medical Cannabis Card?
If you are suffering from a medical condition that cannabis can help treat, it is important to consult your doctor first. If your doctor agrees that cannabis may be an effective treatment, they may decide to recommend a medical cannabis card for you.
Medical cannabis cards allow individuals in certain states and countries to purchase and use marijuana products legally, save money in taxes at the dispensary, and also get access to quality cannabis products.
In order to obtain a medical cannabis card, you can schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.
You Shouldn’t Overlook the Impact on Sleep and Dreaming
Cannabis can have a notable influence on sleep and dreaming. Consider the above info so that you can make the decision that is best for you.
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