According to the National Sleep Foundation, between 30%-50% of the adult population struggle with chronic insomnia. If you do not know what insomnia is, it is a problem that inhibits the ability to fall asleep quickly or to maintain a healthy, undisturbed sleep through the night. Many people have found that using cannabis to help them sleep is a natural and effective way to crush insomnia. Insomnia sufferers know the constant struggle of trying out different sleeping pills with the hope that they will get a good-night’s sleep. Using sleeping pills and other pharmaceutical medications can have negative side effects on mental development and one’s sleep cycle.
How does cannabis help your sleep?
Many insomnia sufferers, of the adult population, have found relief by introducing marijuana use into their evening routine to help them settle for a good night of sleep. The science behind how cannabis can help you sleep is very in-depth and boring. So we will try to sum it up as best as possible. Basically, the human body has a system called the endocannabinoid system, which is a system of endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters) that bind to cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid proteins which are found along the vertebrate central nervous system (including the brain) . No big surprise that cannabinoids are actively found in cannabis — specifically THC.
Research has been conducted to understand the relationship between cannabis and insomnia. Cannabis contains active constituents called phytocannabinoids which have been known to have several different medicinal benefits. One of these benefits is sedation and noted improvements in sleep. This study stated that a survey conducted in 2017 concluded that nearly two thirds of all participants with disturbed sleep habits completed stopped using pharmaceutical sleep aids after switching to medical cannabis use. It is important to note that the topic of cannabis and sleep is still being researched, and left with many unanswered questions. There is conflicting research about withdrawal symptoms, and whether THC or CBD are more beneficial actives in cannabis for sedation.
THC & CBD
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main actives found in cannabis. These two actives are what bind to the receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. Both THC and CBD are psychoactive components, however, they react very differently in the body. THC is what causes the high sensation in the body, while CBD is known for helping with depression and anxiety. When research began about the relationship between cannabis and sedation began, researchers believed the THC was the main activity that induced sedation in the body. As research continues, CBD has been studied to provide the same relaxation effects which could lead to better sleep as well. People who tend to have high anxiety may choose a CBD product instead of a THC heavy products because of the possibility that the THC could increase anxiety and paranoid feelings. As of recently, CBD oils can be purchased that can provide similar effects but do not require smoking marijuana. CBD oils will not get y0u high.
Best Cannabis Strains For Sleep
Listed below are some recommendations for marijuana strains you can use when finding which one will work best for you. While some of these may work for other people, they could not be right for you and your body, so make sure you take these recommendations as a learning opportunity. You will have to try a few of them out before you find one that works well for you. People often choose Indica strains for sleep as they possess more of a body-high sensation and induce heaviness and laziness. Sativa strains can also be beneficial for sleep since your body typically crashes harder after the head high slows down. Finding the type of strain that is right for you will take some experimenting, so enjoy the process.
Purple Kush is a pure Indica strain that has 16% THC. This strain originated from Oakland, California and has been known to ease racing thoughts, calm the body, and help with falling asleep fast. People have also noted that Purple Kush can help ease chronic pain in the body.
Northern Lights is another pure Indica strain that has high THC levels. Matching the THC content that we discussed previously, Northern Lights has with 16%, this strain is fast acting and will help your body achieve healthy rem sleep cycles throughout the night. The Northern Lights strain induces a high that has been known to ease sleep problems, pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. If you are suffering with any of these, consider smoking this strain before bed.
Cannabis users love the God’s Gift strain. God’s Gift is another pure Indica Strain that has 17% THC. This strain helps keep the mind at ease and calm racing thoughts. The location this strain became popular was California. This strain has to be on the list for best strains for sleep since it’s a combination of Granddaddy Purple and OG Kush, two cult favorites by cannabis users. The high THC content in this strain will be sure to relax you right to sleep.
Grandaddy Purple is a classic high THC, Indica strain that is a cult favorite for insomniacs. One of its main terpenes is myrcene. Granddaddy Purple has been known to taste like grapes and produces an intense cerebral high that also maintains sedative effects to help you sleep better.
Tahoe OG Kush
Tahoe OG Kush is a hybrid strain with THC content of 18%. Cannabis users love this strain because of its range of affects. Since the OG Kush strain is a hybrid of Indica and Sativa, it can energize you, provide a mood lift, and also relax the body. Keep in mind, with strains that have high levels of THC, you may be more prone to feeling anxious. So if you struggle with anxiety, we recommend steering clear of this one. OG Kush is one of the best strains because it can accompany anything you want to do that day or night.
Hindu Kush is another one of the high THC strains that contains a whopping 18% THC. Hindu Kush is an Indica dominant strain that has been known to make users feel relaxed, sleepy, and happy. That sounds like a great combination of feelings for treating insomnia. This insomnia crusher makes our list of best strains for sleep because it induces a strong feeling of calmness in the body and mind.
Things to Note
The first thing to note is that research suggests that with consistent use of cannabis products as a sleep aid, one’s tolerance will increase, leading to a higher dose needed to maintain the same sleep effects. That being said it is important to use cannabis only when necessary for sleep and not to rely on it as a permanent solution. Another important side effect that research has suggested is that while marijuana can be an effective sleep aid, withdrawal symptoms may be present after the use of cannabis has been discontinued, leading to worse insomnia than was present before. Becoming dependent on the use of cannabis to help you sleep may project side effects in the future. Keep in mind that all cannabis strains will affect people in different ways, and that it is important to find the right strain for you and your needs. Make sure to research health information and guidelines before using cannabis products to treat chronic insomnia, depression, or anxiety.