Marijuana can make users feel relaxed, at peace, and eased of any mental and physical tensions, so it’s no surprise that this herb is commonly used as a sleep aid. More than 40 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder, and marijuana could perhaps be the answer to their problems. The relationship between sleep and cannabis is complicated; there are incredible benefits, but some drawbacks as well.
Cannabis is beloved as a natural sleep aid that actually works. There’s no need to jeopardize your health with sleepless nights or sleeping pills when marijuana offers all the benefits that you need. Despite any negative stigmas surrounding the herb, for many people, marijuana truly is medicine.
Cannabis is a wonderful solution to insomnia, since it reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and increases the overall duration of sleep. You may know that smoking weed, especially an indica strain, can make you feel drowsy — but do you know why?
Natural compounds called cannabinoids induce sleep when they bind to the brain’s CB1 receptors. These cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and the lesser known CBN) all work together to make falling asleep a much smoother process. Additionally, marijuana is full of terpenes, another compound that promotes relaxation and sleep. This aromatic compound is also found in lavender and chamomile, so incorporating oils or tea into your nighttime routine could also help.
Studies from 2002 and 2013 both suggest that cannabinoids could be beneficial to stabilizing respiratory function during sleep. For this reason, many researchers are hopeful that medical marijuana could be a helpful treatment to patients with sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by frequent lapses in breathing during sleep.
Sleep apnea affects over 22 million Americans, leading to sleep deprivation and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. If cannabinoids truly are able to suppress this sleep-disordered breathing, then consuming medical marijuana could be a viable therapy option. For the time being, however, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises against this, stating that “[f]urther research is needed to understand the functionality of medical cannabis extracts before recommending them as a treatment.” Experts are hopeful that continued research will confirm their initial findings linking cannabinoids to stabilized breathing and restful sleep.
Nightmares & Dream Disorders
Nightmares, night terrors, sleep paralysis — no one wants to be filled with dread while they should be peacefully resting. Marijuana is a great treatment option for people suffering from dream disorders since it completely disrupts the way your brain dreams.
If you’ve ever smoked before bed, you may have noticed that you didn’t have many vivid dreams that night. This is because cannabis reduces the amount of time spent in the REM cycle of sleep — when dreaming occurs. For this reason, marijuana is a popular sleep aide for people with PTSD and reoccurring nightmares.
Nothing is perfect, and even miracle drugs like marijuana have their drawbacks. Cannabis may help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but is the quality of your rest suffering as a result?
Disrupted Sleep Cycle
It can be a blessing to have your REM cycle disrupted if you suffer from nightmares; but, for everyone else, having your natural sleep patterns altered is unhealthy. Research suggests that dreaming has health benefits and affects our memory, emotions, and cognition.
Chronic cannabis users often have no dreams at all, which means the quality of their sleep is suffering. Luckily, stopping the use of cannabis reverses this effect and causes vivid dreams to return in full force.
Dependency & Withdrawals
Using marijuana every night as a sleep aid can lead to you becoming dependent on the substance to fall asleep at all. While some sleep disorders require consistent, longterm use, it’s advised to consult with a doctor and consume responsibly.
Have you ever woken up with a marijuana hangover? Maybe you had some edibles the night before, and now you’re feeling foggy headed, tired, and nauseated. Why does this happen? This phenomenon, while fairly common, is not very well researched — largely due to federal cannabis laws.
In one study from 1985, researchers noted “that marijuana smoking can produce residual (hangover) effects the day after smoking.” Some experts speculate that these symptoms are caused by dehydration, while others believe that the hangover is brought on by lingering THC in the brain.
If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, consuming some cannabis before bed could quickly and effectively solve your problems. With marijuana becoming legalized in more places across the globe, it’s becoming increasingly easy to give this miracle sleep aid a try. Remember, there are drawbacks to using cannabis before bed, so consume responsible and sleep tight.