Cannabis, popularly known as marijuana, is widely used as a sleep aid, both hard drugs, and medicinally. Around 70% of young individuals who use cannabis recreationally say it helps them sleep. Approximately half of the long-term cannabis users (those who have been using it for 10 years or more) use cannabis to improve their sleep. As many as 85% of those who use cannabis for medicinal purposes, such as pain management, think it enhances their sleep.
Cannabis is still being studied as a sleep aid. When taken in moderation, cannabis may help treat insomnia; however, studies are unconvinced if long-term usage is ultimately helpful or damaging to sleep quality.
Does Cannabis Aid Sleep?
In certain circumstances, cannabis appears to help sleep. Cannabis may assist patients with specific conditions such as chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and multiple sclerosis falls asleep faster, waking up less during the night, and have improved overall sleep quality. A recent study also discovered that cannabis significantly alleviates symptoms in persons suffering from restless legs syndrome (RLS).
Many individuals use cannabis to treat themselves sleeplessness, anxiety, and pain. The effectiveness of cannabis for sleep is more ambiguous among these users, while research on persons with insomnia indicated that many participants experienced an improvement in their symptoms after taking cannabis.
Some studies have discovered a difference in how cannabis affects sleep between daily users and less frequent, non-daily users. Those who use cannabis regularly are more likely to have sleep issues than occasional users or those who do not use cannabis at all. Non-daily users have fewer sleep problems than both daily and non-users.
How Does Cannabis Help You Sleep?
Cannabinoids’ sleep-promoting effects are thought to be due to interactions with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. When cannabinoids connect to these receptors, they transmit instructions to the brain that boost levels of sleep-promoting camp while suppressing the alert system. These effects may make cannabis users feel tired or sleepy when combined.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol are two active chemicals found in cannabis (CBD). While THC is normally a sedative, it can have a stimulating impact on certain people, particularly those who are new to cannabis or are taking greater amounts. In some circumstances, taking cannabis before bed may cause difficulty falling asleep. CBD appears to improve alertness at low dosages while promoting sleepiness at large levels. The combined effects of the two substances may vary depending on the dose and time.
Both CBD and THC may be beneficial for chronic illnesses that disrupt sleep.
Synthetic versions of THC, for example, have shown promise in treating obstructive sleep apnea, lowering PTSD-related nightmares, and increasing sleep for patients suffering from chronic pain. CBD, on the other hand, has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime drowsiness.
For example; The effects of cannabis as a sleep aid may vary depending on the kind of cannabis used. Cannabis has greater levels of THC, the principal psychotropic component. CBD levels are greater in hemp plants.
How Does Cannabis Affect Your Sleep?
Cannabis, in addition to helping you to fall asleep faster, may modify your sleep architecture, a phrase that indicates how long you spend in each sleep stage. Short-term cannabis usage appears to improve the amount of time you spend in deep sleep, which allows you to wake up feeling rejuvenated. THC, on the other hand, reduces the amount of time you spend in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, during which you spend more time dreaming, processing emotions, and consolidating new memories.
Because nightmares are a common and distressing symptom of PTSD, lowering REM sleep may have some advantages. A study of PTSD women revealed that those with more severe symptoms and poor sleep were more likely to use cannabis to cope. One study discovered that synthetic cannabis greatly reduced or eliminated nightmares in persons suffering from PTSD. Some trial participants also reported improved overall sleep quality and fewer daytime flashbacks.
What Makes Cannabis Unique Among Natural Sleep Aids?
Because cannabis is a restricted substance, there has been little research comparing the safety and efficacy of cannabis sleep aids to other sleep aids. The FDA has authorized just a few synthetic medications that imitate THC, as well as one naturally produced CBD product. These are used to treat nausea and other illnesses, but not to sleep.
As with other natural sleep aids, some patients may resort to medicinal cannabis to order to avoid more powerful drugs, such as opioids. Although many prescription and over-the-counter sleep drugs can be quite helpful in the short term, they are related to a risk of misuse, tolerance, or dependence. Some natural sleep aids, such as oral melatonin, appear to alleviate insomnia without causing significant negative effects, although other homeopathic possibilities, such as valerian, require more investigation.
Which Cannabis Strain Is Best for Sleep?
There are several strains of cannabis, each with its own set of effects. Indica and Sativa strains are the most common:
Indica is regarded to be more relaxing and may aid in the production of sensations of relaxation and tiredness. Indica appears to be preferred for pain relief, relaxation, and sleep.
Sativa is said to be more stimulating, and it can cause feelings of euphoria in certain people. Sativa is commonly used to increase energy.
Indica may be the best cannabis strain for sleep due to its soothing qualities. Individuals that use cannabis to avoid nightmares, on the other hand, may favor sativa. Mixture strains with a combination of Indica and Sativa may cause varied effects depending on the cannabinoid and terpene composition.
The Dangers and Side Effects of Cannabis Use for Sleep
Cannabis may help you fall asleep faster when used on a short-term basis. Long-term use of sleep aids, including cannabis, is typically discouraged by health professionals due to its propensity to impair sleep quality and produce other unwanted effects.
According to research, persons who use cannabis as a long-term sleep aid acquire a tolerance to its sedative effects and may require more to achieve the same outcomes. Heavy cannabis use, especially long-term usage, may have sleep consequences, including:
- Less time spent sleeping deeply
- Overall, less sleep
- recurring awakenings
- Increased time to fall asleep
According to a research, excessive amounts of THC at night might cause undesired side effects the next day, such as poor memory and tiredness. Cannabis withdrawal can also cause sleep disturbances such as unusual nightmares, difficulties falling asleep, and reduced time spent in deep sleep.
Long-term cannabis usage may potentially have negative health consequences. According to research, the drug may lower the amount of grey matter in your brain and raise your risk of chronic bronchitis when smoked. Health professionals also advise against consuming cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Another important factor to consider is if cannabis is legal in your area. If not, see your doctor about other sleep-improvement options, such as better sleep hygiene or other sleep aids.