A lot of people are interested in using cannabis as a sleep aid. But is it a good idea? Let’s explore this topic and see what the science says.
The cannabis plant is a powerful natural medicine with uses ranging from pain relief to nausea reduction to appetite stimulation. It also relieves stress, helps with anxiety and provides a sense of euphoria. So you can see why people are using it for sleep too.Sleeping. It’s so important for health and wellness, but many of us struggle with it. Getting a good night’s sleep is not as easy as it sounds, at least for a large portion of the population. If you are between the ages of 18 and 64, you need 7 to 9 hours of good sleep per night. Yet 35.2% of American adults sleep less than 7 hours a night, and 10-30% of adults report chronic insomnia. A good night’s sleep will help you feel good the next day and prevent many health problems in the future. It is essential to repair the body, prevent disease, support the immune system, prevent weight gain…. and the list goes on. Because many people feel that good sleep is unattainable, there is a growing number of over-the-counter medications that improve sleep. However, many of these remedies do not work and make people extremely lethargic the next day. And that’s where cannabis comes in.
Why cannabis works so well as a sleep aid
Cannabis has been known for centuries as a sedative due to its relaxing properties. Numerous studies confirm this fact. Moreover, a 2019 survey of 1,000 people found that three-quarters of them use cannabis as a sleep aid and say it helps them. But for those who are new to cannabis, and for those who desperately want it to help them sleep, read on to better navigate through dispensaries in search of the right product. LINK: 5 quick tips for finding a good pharmacy. The cannabis plant contains hundreds of natural chemicals that affect sleep. The two main components are cannabinoids and terpenes. There are three main cannabinoids: THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive substance in the plant that gets you high. It is known for its analgesic and anti-nausea properties, but it also has a strong sedative effect and can help you fall asleep faster. THC has also been found to reduce REM sleep, which simply means you dream less. This is especially helpful if you often have nightmares that wake you up in the middle of the night and prevent you from falling asleep. photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels CBI: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a therapeutic compound that does not get you high. Its relaxing properties are well known and it is already widely used to treat anxiety, pain and depression. Studies have shown that it is also helpful in increasing alertness and reducing daytime sleepiness. CBN: Cannabinol (CBN) is a lesser-known substance, but it has powerful sedative properties that appear to be enhanced when taken together with THC. CBN also has valuable medicinal properties, such as the ability to fight pain and inflammation and stimulate appetite. In addition, there are terpenes. Terpenes have received increasing attention recently, as new research has shown that they can impart medicinal properties to cannabis. These invisible molecules are also found in other plants and it is these molecules that give cannabis varieties their unique smell and taste. More importantly, terpenes also have medicinal properties, and some terpenes are useful as sleep aids:
Tips for using cannabis as a sleep aid
There are some ways to use cannabis for a good night’s sleep: Timeline: When using cannabis to sleep, the timing of intake is very important. This is especially true if you use incense blends. Medications take a while to work, but they are stronger and can help you sleep longer. However, it may take half an hour to two hours for the effects to become apparent, but once they do, they can last for 8 to 12 hours. To be safe, take your medicine at least one hour before bedtime. APPROPRIATE: Does using cannabis to sleep cause crazy dreams? Tribes: In terms of the plant’s calming and relaxing properties, indica strains are more likely to be bought than sativa. However, studies have shown that the differences between the two strains are minute, and that the same strain can cause drowsiness in one person and restlessness in another. So instead of buying cannabis based on whether it’s indica or sativa, look for lab-tested products to get an idea of its chemical makeup. Many pharmacies now sell products with detailed information about the effects of the strain, so focus on that rather than the name. Experiment: Different cannabis products affect people in different ways. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; while CBD is widely recognized as a sedative that works well for many people, some believe that a low or high dose of THC is best for sleep. You can also buy cannabis supplements specifically for sleeping. It doesn’t hurt to experiment and see what works for you. Shopify Photos via Burst Of course, it’s also a good idea to follow other well-known habits that improve sleep. Don’t rely on cannabis as the only solution. Here are some tried and true tips for sharing cannabis:
- Limit exposure to bright light before bedtime (including limiting time spent with tablets, smartphones and TV).
- Limit your caffeine intake at the end of the day. Try to drink your last cup at lunch; better yet, replace coffee with green tea.
- Not sleeping during the day
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Don’t drink too much alcohol before going to bed
Last but not least: If you are taking any medications, especially prescription drugs, always consult your doctor before using cannabis. This article was originally published on Cannabis.net and is reprinted with permission.
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