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Can Cannabis Treat Insomnia?

Oct 3, 2017 | Health

Deep dreamless sleep is where we rejuvenate ourselves.

Our overworked, hyperstimulated, and stressed-out systems finally get a break from the constant input of daily life.

It’s during this process that your body rests, cleans itself, detoxifies organs, heals and rebuilds itself. It’s when your brain processes all the information from the day, consolidating it into memories and updates your neural networks to respond more adeptly to your environment.

And if you don’t get enough sleep?

When do the minutes stretch into hour after hour of buzzing mental activity that just won’t stop?

ALL of these processes are compromised. Your metabolism is thrown off. Your thinking becomes slow and muddy. Your immune system is weakened.

Interestingly, every single one of these processes (deep sleep, metabolism, immunity, and cognition) are modulated by your endocannabinoid system.

Cannabis as a Sleep Aid

One of the overall functions of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis, to create balance in the body.

If you suffer from insomnia, cannabis can be a sleep aid which can help get your sleep cycle back on track. And not only deep sleep, but all the other balancing and anti-inflammatory effects that come along with marijuana.

Multiple-Dimensional Approach

Cannabis is a very multi-dimensional plant and affects our physiology in many different ways. How it relates to insomnia is no different. 

Insomnia often has its roots in nervous tension or anxiety. CBD, in particular, has become the focus of considerable scientific research for its anti-anxiety actions, working on the root source of insomnia. Reduce the anxiety and your sleep can return to normal. This effect, however, is specific to CBD. THC can actually create anxiety and make the problem worse.

Beyond anxiety and tension, the sleep process itself is powerfully modulated by the endocannabinoid system – something scientists are just beginning to understand.

In particular, cannabis increases the amount of deep delta sleep, the deep dreamless sleep that resets your body. While this is great news for the insomniac, it is worth mentioning that cannabis also decreases the amount of REM sleep, or dreaming sleep, which may impact memory formation.

Indicas Indicate Sleepy Time

As noted earlier, cannabis sleep aids can either increase or decrease anxiety, depending on the cannabinoid profile of the strain. The same applies for sleep.

The general rule of thumb is that Sativa strains have higher THC content and will be more stimulating, “uppy,” and potentially anxiety-driving. Indicas, on the other hand, tend to have a more diverse cannabinoid profile and are more relaxing and sedative.

Go for heavy Indicas or a good hybrid like Skywalker known for its sleep-inducing properties. You can also check out Leafly’s strain explorer for more ideas.

Aged For Better Sleep

One of the most important factors in a sleep-promoting strain is its age. With age, comes oxidation. When THC gets oxidized, it loses the “tetrahydro-” part of the name and becomes just “cannabinol” or CBN for short. CBN is a much stronger sleep-inducing cannabinoid than THC.

So if what you have isn’t strong enough to put you to sleep? Just leave it out for a while and let a little time do its work to intensify and strengthen your medicine.

Find What Works for You

One of the most remarkable qualities of cannabis as a sleep aid is the diversity of effect between strains. The wide variety allows for shades of experience to match your particular needs. If one particular variety doesn’t work for you, come on in and talk to one of our budtenders to help find a good fit for you.