Does cannabis can help with insomnia and improve sleep?
Best Marijuana Strains for an Awesome Night’s Sleep
It’s no secret that cannabis has the ability to relax muscles and dissolve pain, making it an effective sleep aid. If you experience nightmares and frequent bad dreams, cannabis reduces your time spent in REM where you dream the most. This is great news for those of us who struggle with insomnia or even just inconsistent sleep due to stress, which can lead to a poor quality of life. A good night’s sleep is priceless to those who understand its value.
Rather than suffer with a sleep disorder, some opt for using cannabis to relax and fall into a deep sleep. But the world of cannabis has expanded since many states legalized medical and recreational cannabis, introducing a wide range of strains and products. Entering the cannabis scene at this stage can be overwhelming, and choosing the wrong strain could result in anxiety, paranoia, or even a sense of alertness that keeps you awake rather than rocking you to sleep. So how do you choose the right cannabis strain for bedtime?
Factors to Consider: Compounds & Terpenes
There are many compounds present in the cannabis plant, but the most well known are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidinol). While popular opinion states that THC heavy Indica strains are the way to go, this might not necessarily be true for every individual. Finding the right one for you can take a certain amount of trial and error. By paying attention to the chemical composition of strains that help you sleep, you can catch on to your personalized strains and turn them into reliable favorites, and even choose new strains with confidence.
Using a strain high in THC can lead to grogginess the next day. Not only can it help to consider strains that are more balanced in THC and CBD, but paying attention to the terpene profile of a strain can also help you find a good sleep aid. Do you like the way it smells? This can indicate your body appreciates the terpene profile, or the aromatic molecules that give cannabis its scent. They say a nose knows!
Did You Know
Cannabinol, a lesser known cannabis compound also known as CBN, is present in older, drier strains. CBN is recognized as a weaker, milder version of THC, and is shown to have sedative properties as well. This means even if you’ve had your cannabis for a little longer than you intended, it could still be useful for helping you fall asleep!
The Terpenes of Sleep
Terpenes are found not only in the cannabis plant, but in other plants, fruits and flowers, too! These terpenes give things scent and flavor, and even offer certain health benefits. Some of the best terpenes for sleep to look out for are:
the most common terpene found in cannabis, myrcene is described as “earthy, musky, and fruity,” and is best known for inducing “couch lock”. Myrcene is also found in mangoes.
also found in lavender, linalool is a sweet, floral terpene with calming, sedative properties.
with tones of pepper, wood, and spice, caryophyllene is found in cloves and black pepper, and contains anti-inflammatory as well as anti-anxiety properties.
Not sure where to start? Try these cannabis strains to help with insomnia and get a better night’s sleep.
- Tahoe OG Kush – One of the strongest members of the Kush family, Tahoe is a hybrid strain with high THC content, meaning it may not be best for beginners. But if you’ve had a bad day and are having trouble relaxing, Tahoe OG should wrap you in a warm, soothing blanket and lift your mood.
- Purple Kush – Aches and pains keeping you up at night? Try Purple Kush, known for its sweet taste and relatively high THC content. While its sedative properties are sought after, this strain’s ability to ease pain stands out, making it perfect for those who suffer from chronic pain.
- God’s Gift – If you’re desperate for a coma-like sleep, try God’s gift. Not for the faint of heart, this heavy strain should be used as close to bedtime as possible. Even if you’re an experienced cannabis user, it shouldn’t take long for God’s gift to pull you under.
- Granddaddy Purple – Need your anxious mind to settle down before bed? Try Grandaddy Purple, a popular sleepy strain known for providing relaxation. When grown right, this sweet strain can relieve pain as well as anxiety, preparing you for solid, long lasting sleep.
- GG4 – Also known as Gorilla Glue 4, this spicy strain is popular and highly rated among seasoned cannabis users. Its complex terpene profile and high THC levels make this a great strain for pain and stress relief.
- Wedding Cake – An Indica leaning hybrid, Wedding Cake offers a terpene profile similar to GG4. If you struggle with chronic pain and anxiety on top of your insomnia, Wedding Cake is engineered to give you quality sleep.
- Northern Lights – If you’re old school, consider this classic sleepy strain that’s been a popular sleep aid since the mid 1980’s. Northern Lights is well known for relieving pain and inducing a heavy, dreamy sleep the average stay at home mom would envy.
If you can’t find these cannabis strains available near you, look for strains with similar names and terpene profiles, or odors. When shopping at a licensed cannabis dispensary, all Indica strains are universally labeled with the color purple, but sometimes all you need is a nicely balanced hybrid to ease yourself into bed. Calling a dispensary you plan on visiting ahead of time for information can help narrow down your search. Most dispensaries will allow you to place an order over the phone for quick and convenient pick up.
How Much Should I Smoke?
When it comes to your dosage, always start low and slow. A little goes a long way, and unless you know your tolerance level, trial and error will likely be your guides. There are several ways to intake cannabis, and benefits to different applications. For example, taking an edible an hour before your bedtime can ensure longer lasting effects, but smoking cannabis flower can be more convenient if you need faster results. Wait several minutes in between tokes of cannabis flower, and up to an hour after eating a cannabis infused edible to experience the effects.
The research on cannabis is inconsistent, but the potential of cannabis as a sleep aid in general can’t be denied. Pairing minimal cannabis use with natural remedies such as calming tea, melatonin, or lavender bubble baths can help curb your dependence. Use of cannabis as a sleep aid can lead to dependence in the long term. Discontinuing long term use can often result in further sleep issues, and cannabis use at a young age may impact development. Consult a medical professional to determine if cannabis is the right sleep aid for you.
Learn more about Cannabis as a sleep aid here.