How Does Cannabis Affect Sleep?

Using Cannabis as a Sleep Aid

As medical and recreational marijuana become more common across the United States, more and more people are using both to help them sleep and deal with other health issues. Sleep was the fifth highest reason that people requested, and received, prescriptions for marijuana.

Approximately 65 percent of medical marijuana users reported that they use marijuana to help them sleep. Many others reported using it to help them deal with chronic pain.

Cannabinoids naturally occur in your central nervous system and help you to regulate homeostasis. Some of those cannabinoids are Cannabidiol (or CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC). While there are conflicting studies as to whether CBD and THC actually help or harm sleep patterns, many users sing their praises. Here’s why.

 

CBD: Cannabidiol

CBD is extracted from cannabis, which is also known as hemp and works with the body to replenish your body’s naturally occurring and endocannabinoids. CBD has a non-psychotropic effect that can reduce anxiety and convulsions and works as a mild sedative.

You will usually find CBD in an oil form. CBD oils are the most common form of cannabis products on the fully-legal market since they usually have little to no THC in them.

 

THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol

THC is what gives you the high that most people come to expect from cannabis products. THC is a shortened version of Delta 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol. This chemical psychoactive so it can result in hallucinations, anxiety and heart palpitations.

The larger a dose of THC, the greater the effects. Because of these effects, it tends to create a wakeful effect on many people. However, in very low doses, it actually helps to calm anxiety for many others. Some strains have a similar sedative effect to CBD, but you have to search more carefully for the right strain if that’s what you’re looking for.

High levels of THC in any product are still illegal in many jurisdictions, so make sure that before you buy something with a high THC percentage that you can legally use it. You will usually find THC combined with other elements, whether in a fate or in an oil like the CBD oils. You can also find them combined in a one-to-one ratio in products like Sativex.

 

How Does Cannabis Help?

Chronic pain and anxiety are the most commonly reported reasons that people struggle to sleep. Because of the sedative properties and anti-anxiety effects, cannabis products can help many people get to sleep and stay asleep longer.

Those that wish to try cannabis products should make sure that the kind that they wish to take will not interact with other medications negatively, particularly anything that is broken down in the liver. Talk to your doctor before adding it to your medication regimen.

If you wish to for THC oils to help them sleep, try taking it about two (2) hours before bedtime to ensure that the wakefulness effect that sometimes happens does not compromise your sleep schedule on accident.

Let us know what you think.

[Editorial Note: Tuck is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NBC News, NPR, Lifehacker, and Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.]