Insomnia can be maddening — cannabis can help
Besides easing insomnia, marijuana seems to have a wide range of effects on sleep.
This is because chemicals in marijuana, known as cannabinoids, actually mimic the activity of chemicals found naturally in the brain. It’s cannabinol (CBN) that makes you sleepy.
It’s common for people to use marijuana before bed time. Now, research on marijuana and sleep helps explain why.
When we look at the construction of cannabis, we find that it has over 80 cannabinoids. Until recently, tetrahydrocannbinol (THC) was the only cannabinoid anyone seemed to care about. It’s cannabinol (CBN) that makes you sleepy.
What Are The Benefits Of Cannabinol (CBN)?
Cannabis is widely used as a sleep-aid for those who suffer from insomnia and cannabinol is the reason why. By all accounts, CBN is the cannabinoid responsible for the sedative effects of cannabis.
Another use for cannabinol as an anti-bacterial. According to a Italian study from 2008, cannabinol “showed potent activity against MRSA” when applied as a topical. Topical uses also have shown promise in treating burns and psoriasis.
How Marijuana Affects Your Sleep
- Easier Falling Asleep: Some of the earliest research on marijuana and sleep shows that marijuana’s main ingredient, THC, can significantly reduce the time it takes for both insomniacs and healthy people to fall asleep.In a small study published in 1973, THC reduced the time it took for 9 subjects with insomnia to fall asleep by over an hour on average. However, the researchers noted that too high of a dose could counteract the effect.THC was also found to ease falling asleep in a 2013 study involving healthy subjects.
- Longer Sleep: Early studies also revealed that taking either THC or CBD before bed could lead to an increase in overall sleep. In one study, increasing the dose of THC also increased the amount of time spent sleeping.However, higher doses of THC also caused a “hang over” feeling in some subjects when they woke up, while the feeling was not present at lower doses.
- More Deep: Sleep:Some of the more interesting effects of marijuana on sleep involve its impact on the sleep cycle. Studies show that THC can increase the amount of slow-wave sleep, also known as deep sleep, that an user experiences during their slumber.This is likely a good thing, since deep sleep is believed to play a major role in the restoration process that occurs during sleep.What’s more, experts believe that the most damaging effects of sleep deprivation result from a lack of slow-wave sleep. For example, research has shown that reduced slow-wave sleep can be a strong predictor of high blood pressure in older men.
Best Cannabis Strains for Sleep and Insomnia
Here is a list of particularly sedating strains to give you an idea of what to look out for. But first, some tips to keep in mind:
- Indicas tend to treat insomnia most effectively. Sativa strains can have an “upper” effect on some, making it more difficult to sleep. Some theories say this is due to differences in chemical makeup.
- Edibles can help you stay asleep longer. Though inhaling cannabis yields faster effects, edibles last a lot longer.
Aged cannabis can have sleepier effects than fresh flower. It may not sound as appetizing, but older cannabis is shown to contain higher levels of a sedating chemical called cannabinol (CBN).
- Go easy on the high-THC strains if it’s anxiety keeping you up. A light dose of these strains can float you to sleep, but larger doses can worsen anxiety in some. You may also want to try a strain with some CBD in it if you’re sensitive to THC, as it often eases its anxious side effects.
Keep in mind that no strain or product affects everyone the same, and finding the solution for you may require a little trial and error. Here are a few strains that were selected based on user-submitted reviews and data, but everyone’s experience is different.
This is a potent hybrid strain that delivers heavy-handed euphoria and relaxation, leaving you feeling “glued” to the couch. Its chunky, resin-covered buds fill the room with pungent earthy and sour aromas inherited from its parent strains.
Purple Kush is a pure indica strain that emerged from the Oakland area of California as the result of a Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani cross. Its aroma is subtle and earthy with sweet overtones typical of Kush varieties. Blissful, long-lasting euphoria blankets the mind while physical relaxation rids the body of pain, sleeplessness, and stress.
Romulan, named after the alien Star Trek race, is a powerful indica revered for its potent therapeutic qualities. Though mostly indica, Romulan growers insist sativa genetics have crept in over time, lending it intense cerebral effects. These squat, pine-scented plants produce dense frosty buds that have found their following among connoisseurs in B.C. and the Pacific Northwest. A deep, sedating relaxation makes Romulan a favorite strain for patients treating muscle spasms and nerve damage. Many hybridized variations of Romulan exist, but nearly all can promise a full body calm with heavily intoxicating properties.
Master Kush is a popular indica cross created out of two landrace strains from different parts of the Hindu Kush region. Master Kush is bred by the Dutch White Label Seed Company, located in Amsterdam. During maturation the plant produces a subtle earthy, citrus smell with a hint of incense, which is often described as a vintage flavor. The taste of Master Kush is reminiscent of the famous hard-rubbed charas hash. This strain holds a superb balance of full-body relaxation without the mind-numbing effect that many indica strains produce.
The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only.