Sleep problems can be a pain in the rear—especially if you don’t get enough sleep, when your body and particularly your mind are unable to function properly. This can have a significant negative impact on your general health.
Let’s begin by looking at the different types of insomnia and how cannabis might help with each one. We’ll go through some of the most common causes of sleeplessness before we get into how cannabis may assist with insomnia.
Cannabis Helps Insomnia and Other Sleep Problems
The cannabis plant has been used for millennia as a sleep aid. People have known and experienced the relaxing and sedative effects of cannabis since ancient times, according to contemporary scientific research. Cannabis aids in the process of falling asleep by making it easier to do so. Cannabis shortened the length of time it took people with sleep problems and those who had no difficulty sleeping, according to one recent research. Cannabis use among people with active difficulties sleeping caused an average of 30 minutes less time to fall asleep, according to the research. A separate group of strong sleepers was also included in the study. Cannabis aided these strong sleepers in falling asleep even faster, by 15 minutes, according to the research.
According to a research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, cannabis use reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and improves deep, slow wave sleep. It’s possible that cannabis decreases the amount of time spent in REM sleep as a result of one of its most active components, THC (more on this important component of cannabis in a minute).
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia (otherwise known as sleeplessness) is a sleep difficulty characterized by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Daytime drowsiness, depressed mood, irritation, low energy levels, and a generally dejected and terrible frame of mind are all typical symptoms.
Insomnia has the potential to cause a variety of problems, from learning and attention difficulties to decreased motor skills that can result in serious accidents.
Insomnia is a condition in which a person has difficulty sleeping, and it’s linked to stress, chronic pain, heart disease, menopause, and caffeine or nicotine overuse.
The greatest approach to cure insomnia without taking prescription medicine (which can be addictive and have dangerous side effects), is to follow good sleep hygiene habits, which include a regular daily exercise regimen, regular sunshine exposure, and a set bedtime and wakeup time.
The condition of your bedroom is also crucial; it should be tidy and airy, quiet and dark.
Insomnia is more common in the elderly than it is in young people, but increasingly younger people are being afflicted. According to studies, women are more likely to suffer from insomnia as a result of their sleep cycle running earlier than men’s.
There are several different types of insomnia.
Sleep-onset insomnia is defined as being unable to fall asleep at the start of a night’s sleep, which is linked to anxiety-related problems.
The inability to sleep is known as maintenance insomnia. People who have this condition usually don’t have trouble falling asleep, but once they do, they wake up swiftly and have a hard time going back to sleep.
Acute insomnia is a condition of sleeplessness that lasts for only a few days and is generally caused by a significant occurrence, either good or bad. Acute insomnia is typically self-limiting since it normally goes away on its own.
However, chronic insomnia is a long-term problem that is sometimes classified as having problems sleeping at least three nights each week for at least three months.
Finally, co-morbid sleeplessness occurs when your sleeplessness is associated with another illness, such as depression or anxiety, both of which are known to disrupt sleep. Chronic pain sufferers are frequently unable to totally relax and fall asleep because of the discomfort they’re feeling.
Does cannabis help with sleep?
Cannabis is recognized to cause a state of relaxation and drowsiness, which might aid in the induction of sleep.
Cannabis has been studied for its sleep impact dating back to the 1970s, however due to the drug’s legal status, high-quality research is limited.
The further shifts in cannabis legality are being driven by a change in perception and a greater understanding of the plant’s medical capabilities.
Cannabis contains a variety of components. The two most frequently researched substances are:
Cannabis contains many different natural chemicals that affect sleep
Cannabis has hundreds of natural chemical components that affect sleep and sleep cycles. Today, we’ll focus on cannabinoids and terpenes, which are two major factors in cannabis.
More than 100 cannabinoids have been discovered in the cannabis plant, according to researchers. Many are being researched for their health benefits, including sleep and other illness conditions such as anxiety and depression, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders, various cancer types, and chronic pain.
Cannabinoids three of the most well-known have a role in sleep.
THC During Sleep
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid present in cannabis plants’ resins. THC, on the other hand, is a potent cannabinoid that has psychoactive properties. Users may experience increased REM sleep deprivation as a result of THC. This is one of the factors why many cannabis users report having few or no dreams (and night terrors).
Our unconscious mind, according to Freud, represents our dreams and nightmares for the average person. They assist us unconsciously by providing hope or warning based on our underlying sentiments. Dreams and nightmares are usually beneficial and necessary for most of us to stay balanced.
This can help with severe anxiety, panic disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s quite successful in reducing or eliminating flashbacks/memories and subsequent nightmares among individuals who have experienced trauma. THC might be used to treat the unconscious minds of persons suffering from trauma.
The main psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the component that gives users a high from consuming cannabis. THC may help with pain relief and nausea control. It appears that THC has sedative effects and makes it easier to fall asleep. There’s also promising data suggesting that THC can aid breathing during sleep, making it a potential treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
Under the influence of THC, subjects were found to spend less time in stages of sleep. THC has been discovered to reduce REM sleep duration and increase slow-wave sleep duration.
THC decreases dreaming because of the decreased amount of time spent in REM. This might aid those who have difficulties such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and frequent, distressing dreams and nightmares. When people use cannabis on a regular basis, they may have fewer dreams. After stopping, people frequently experience an increase in dream activity. That’s known as REM rebound—a resurgence of REM after it has been reduced.
When considering whether to use cannabis, consider the influence of sleep cycles on your results. Every sleep cycle is essential for optimal rest and function. Changes in our nightly sleep architecture, especially over time, might result in us missing out on the complete restorative advantages of a night’s sleep.
CBD During Sleep
Cannabidiol, often known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that promotes relaxation.
We spoke about the most recent scientific evidence demonstrating many of CBD’s advantages, including for sleep. (I’ve written about CBD before: you can read about it here and here.) CBD has no psychotropic effects; this means there is no “high” associated with it. Scientists believe that CBD works to regulate or counteract the high produced by another cannabinoid, THC.
CBD, a chemical compound found in cannabis, has been generating a lot of buzz for its potential to relieve anxiety, pain, enhance mental clarity, and promote sleep. CBD also shows the ability to minimize daytime drowsiness and increase alertness. CBD studies reveal that it reduces anxiety while having no impact on sleep-wake cycles.
CBN During Sleep
CBN, or cannabigerol, is a lesser-known cannabinoid than CBD. It has sedative properties that may be amplified when combined with THC. CBN also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. CBN seems to stimulate hunger, according to studies. When THC converts naturally over time into CBN, it appears in old cannabis (when compared to fresh cannabis).
The beneficial effects of CBN on sleep and pain have been thoroughly researched in recent years.
Cannabinoids have received a lot of interest for their supposed sleep-enhancing, mood-elevating, and pain-reducing capabilities as well as other health concerns. Terpenes, on the other hand, seem to play an important part in cannabis’ effects, including its capacity to alter sleep. We’re still discovering about how terpenes affect the body and mind. However, scientists believe they may enhance the effects of various cannabinoids as well as having bodily impacts in a variety of ways.
Terpenes are a kind of chemical found in cannabis that give it its fragrance and flavor. Terpenes exist in many different plants, fruits, and flowers. There are more than 150 distinct terpenes currently identified. Different mixtures of terpenes create unique tastes and scents in different cannabis strains. When we consume marijuana containing these combinations, they also influence the effects produced by each strain.
Terpenes have been shown in scientific research to influence energy, mood, drowsiness and attentiveness.
Before you sleep, keep this in mind
Some sleep aids, however, are not created equal. Marijuana is no exception. “Cannabis should not be used by persons who have had a recent heart attack or poor cardiovascular health since it has been linked to an increased risk of myocardial infarction,” Roman cautions.
While cannabis is commonly used to treat anxiety, some individuals report that high-THC strains make them more anxious or paranoid.
If you’re one of these individuals, try out different strains or let your dispensary know when you’re picking your strains. You might discover that a different strain can induce sleep while keeping your anxiety in check.
More study on marijuana is now available, and although it is lawful in certain jurisdictions and still unlawful in others, this plant has several therapeutic benefits that may work as well as other drugs while having less negative side effects.
While there is research on the connection between alcohol and sleep disorders, there is a need for greater knowledge of the effects of cannabis use on sleep and health.
It’s true that smoking marijuana to help you sleep is a short-term solution. To sleep well, maintain good sleeping habits and incorporate other activities that support a healthy sleep routine are all essential.
A lack of sleep may have a far wider impact on your life than just making you irritable and peevish. Did you know that fatigue is linked to over 100,000 automobile accidents and over 1,500 death each year in the United States alone?
Sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality raise the likelihood of workplace accidents and also have a negative impact on all aspects of performance.
Sleep deprivation may lead to a number of major health issues, including stroke, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cardiac arrest. It’s been estimated that 90% of people who have insomnia also have another physical issue! Sleep deprivation lowers your sex drive, slows down your cognitive function, ages your skin and raises the risk of depression.
As a result, if you have difficulties sleeping, you must do all possible to correct the problem. If you’ve attempted to change your sleep schedule, limit your use of electronic gadgets before bedtime, and establish a healthy bedtime routine but still can’t fall asleep, marijuana may be the answer.
The root is popular among many users for its supposed ability to help them sleep better. According to some research, valerian might help people sleep better and longer. However, the herb’s effectiveness as a sleep aid is widely disputed. If you decide to give it a try, do so with care and start with a tiny quantity to see how you feel afterwards.