You should never underestimate the power of sleep.
Getting a solid seven or eight hours of quality sleep will give you the power you need to get through the day and keep you in a good mood while you’re at it. A good night’s sleep can even keep your appetite in check.
But if you’re getting in enough of it, you may not realize all the benefits of good sleep. You will, however, quickly notice how you feel when you’re not able to catch those all-important Z’s.
Even one night of poor sleep can ruin the next day, and chronic insomnia can even wreak havoc on your overall health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to all sorts of issues, including weight gain, memory loss, lower immunity, and even risk of heart disease.
Many people who suffer from lack of adequate sleep are so desperate for a solution that they often opt for pharmaceutical sleep aids. While pharmaceuticals may help you fall asleep, they can often come with a number of side effects, including addiction.
Instead, there is a more natural substance that may be used to alleviate the effects of sleep disorders that can both supplement traditional treatments or as a standalone treatment: cannabis.
Using marijuana as a sleep aid is becoming increasingly prevalent, with more and more sleep-deprived people finding solace with cannabis.
Cannabinoids Play a Role in Better Sleep
Cannabis contains several amazing components that can improve many aspects of our health and well-being, including sleep. The cannabinoids in marijuana can impact sleep in a number of different ways. Let’s take a look at the main cannabinoids, and how they contribute to a good night’s rest.
CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant and has a number of positive effects on the mind and body without getting the user high.
Studies have shown that CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system and can also have indirect effects on promoting good sleep, such as helping alleviate anxiety, chronic pain, and seizures.
THC is the cannabinoid in marijuana that gets users high because of its psychoactive properties. These properties also mean THC is heavily sedating and can make it easier to fall asleep. It can also help induce sleep by alleviating certain issues that can get in the way of a good night’s rest, such as pain and nausea.
CBN is a slightly psychoactive cannabinoid that is only found in very small amounts in the cannabis plant. Despite its trace amounts, it may still be powerful enough to help induce sleep. It has been shown to have sedative properties and may also be effective at relieving chronic pain, inflammation, and seizures.
While cannabinoids like THC and CBD may get much of the attention when it comes to the effects of cannabis, terpenes deserve their own time in the spotlight. Terpenes are the oils in marijuana that give the plant its potent aromas and flavors. The unique blend of terpenes in certain strains are what make them excellent for treating sleep disorders.
For instance, terpinolene has sedating effects and has also been shown to serve as a potential antioxidant. Myrcene, another terpene in cannabis, also has calming effects and is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
What Cannabis Strains Are Best For Sleep?
While the components of cannabis can have helpful effects on sleep, some strains may help you more than others.
For instance, indica strains may be best to combat sleep issues, because they have the strongest sedative properties. Indica strains induce more mental and physical relaxation and are ideal for nighttime use because of their tranquil effects.
Sativa on the other hand, is more associated with increased mental focus and creativity and is better suited for day time use. Indica-dominant hybrids are also a potential option for treating sleep disorders, though pure indica strains will likely work better for you.
When it comes to trying to fall and stay asleep, you want something that is more mentally relaxing than stimulating, which is why knowing your cannabis strains is important.
Common Sleep Disorders Cannabis Can Help Alleviate
Lack of quality sleep can come in different forms. There are currently various sleep disorders that are frequently diagnosed, each with their own unique traits that can impede on restful sleep, including the following.
Perhaps the best-known sleep disorder is insomnia, which is defined as the inability to fall or stay asleep. If disrupted sleep occurs a minimum of three nights a week and lasts at least three months in a row, it is classified as chronic insomnia. People who suffer from insomnia usually spend their days very tired, moody, and unable to perform at their best at work or school.
CBD, in particular, may have therapeutic effects on insomnia and may help reduce nightmares associated with REM sleep behavior disorder as well as daytime drowsiness.
Sleep apnea is a common condition among adults and occurs when the upper respiratory airways are continuously blocked during sleep. During these episodes, airflow can be severely reduced or even completely stopped. Not only can this disrupt sleep, but it can also be a dangerous situation.
How can cannabis help? Some studies suggest that dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC, may be effective at improving respiratory function and play a role in treating sleep apnea. Dronabinol been found to be a safe and effective treatment for those suffering from sleep apnea, which suggests cannabis-derived THC may have similar benefits. That said, further studies are warranted to verify such findings.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes the irresistible need to constantly move the legs. Unfortunately, episodes of RLS tend to happen more often when at rest, including during sleep.
As one would imagine, the continual movement of the legs at night would certainly interrupt sleep, making it nearly impossible to sustain long periods of deep sleep without being woken up by these uncontrollable movements.
Cannabis may help to alleviate the symptoms of restless leg syndrome and therefore help promote better sleep. Some studies have linked the use of medical marijuana with the relief of RLS symptoms, with some patients claiming to be completely alleviated of the uncontrollable movements thanks to the use of cannabis.
Narcolepsy is another neurological disorder that impacts a person’s ability to control their sleep and wakefulness. It is characterized by excessive drowsiness, episodes of sleep paralysis, and even sudden loss of muscle control.
CBD has been associated with increased wakefulness, which may suggest that the cannabinoid could be a potential treatment for narcolepsy and other versions of excessive daytime drowsiness.
Failure to get a good night’s sleep can not only have a negative effect on your energy levels, but it can even be harmful to your overall health. Sleep disturbance can quickly become a lot more than a nuisance; it can be life-altering, which is why people who suffer from sleep disorders actively seek a solution.
Plenty of research has shown that cannabis can be highly effective at improving sleep, whether by directly helping to promote a more restful state or by indirectly affecting sleep by reducing anxiety, pain, seizures, or any other symptoms that may get in the way of a good night’s sleep.