If you’re still new to cannabis and your knowledge doesn’t extend far beyond how to smoke weed, but you’re interested in all the ways cannabis use can ultimately benefit your mental and physical well-being, you’ve come to the right place. Today we explore how cannabis can help with sleep, so read on and take notes for your next weekly weed delivery.
According to a 2018 Health Report from Statistics Canada on the Prevalence of Insomnia for Canadians aged 6 to 79, about 25% of Canadian adults are dissatisfied with their sleep. According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million Americans experience symptoms of a sleep disorder.
If you’re one of the millions of people who need help getting some shut eye, cannabis can be the perfect herbal nightcap to get you there. Here are a few things to consider.
CBD or THC – What’s Better for Sleep?
We know that CBD and THC are each responsible for different physical and psychoactive effects. Head over to our Cannabinoids 101 blog post for a full breakdown, but typically, thanks to THC’s sedating effects, strains with high levels of THC can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. It’s important to note that THC doesn’t actually put you to sleep, rather it’s a sedative and has properties that encourage sleep.
In the healthline.com article Can you Use Cannabis to Restore your Natural Sleep Cycle, Harvard-trained physician and cannabis therapeutics specialist, Dr. Jordan Tishler recommends a strain with less than 20 percent THC – however since cannabis tolerance varies from person to person, this is more of a guide rather than a strict range. THC levels and dosing are important to the overall experience because you might be asking yourself, how long does weed stay in your system? Higher levels of THC could make it challenging to dose and can last longer in your system – potentially causing grogginess the next morning. If you’re starting out, make sure to go with THC levels and dosages that feel right for you, no harm in starting low and going slow.
According to Marco Medic in his piece for the National Post, Seven Cannabis Strains that Can Help Treat Insomnia There are four main stages of sleep:
- The half-awake stage: first 10 minutes of sleep
- The light sleep stage: heart rate slows down, body temperature drops
- The deep sleep stage: 35-45 minutes after falling asleep. The most important stage in the sleep cycle, where real rest and regeneration takes place
- The REM (rapid eye movement) stage usually happens after 90 minutes of deep sleep
THC’s ability to help us fall asleep faster allows us to spend more time in the third phase of sleep, which increases regeneration and contributes to higher energy levels the following day.
If you happen to be sensitive to THC and suffer from unpleasant effects such as nausea or anxiety, trying a strain with higher levels of CBD might be the next best thing.
You may wonder, if CBD doesn’t affect consciousness like THC, does it work as a sleep aid? According to Dr. Dustin Sulak, founder of Healer.com and Integr8 Health (a Maine medical practice that uses medical cannabis as a treatment for a variety of ailments) “CBD may actually just be reducing symptoms like anxiety, which allows the person to relax so that their natural sleep mechanism can take over.”
How to Optimize Your Sleep
According to Dr. Tishler, consuming marijuana an hour before your usual bedtime is prime time to set you up for a solid night of sleep since the high will last for about three to four hours. Physiology varies from individual to individual of course, so best to experiment with what timing is optimal for you.
These physiological variances are also why the edible route may be a bit more challenging when it comes to timing. When you inhale cannabis, the effects are experienced faster. Since edibles are processed in the gastrointestinal system and then metabolized by the liver, it takes longer for them to kick in. The timeframe for when an edible kicks in could be anywhere from one to three hours and the effects last longer, which means you may feel some grogginess in the morning – you may even experience slight hangover symptoms.
Which Weed is Best for Sleep?
Again, since everyone’s physiology varies, there will be some experimentation necessary to determine the best strain, tincture or edible that works best for your sleep journey. In your experimentation process, take notes of the strains that have successfully induced sleep – were those strains higher in THC or CBD, did you wake up refreshed or groggy etc.
If you’re looking for a little help in the sleep department, we’ve got a few suggestions! In the flower category, we recommend Pink Kush.
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