If you have trouble sleeping at least you’re not awake alone. In 2019, Statistics Canada reported that 1 in 2 Canadian adults had trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic, which made sleep even more difficult for many.
So it’s not surprising that cannabis - long known for its sedating properties - is a popular sleep aid. Weed’s analgesic properties can provide relief for chronic pain, while its anti-anxiety effects can ease a stressed-out mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
One recent study found that, among people with active difficulty falling asleep, cannabis use resulted in 30 minutes less time to fall asleep, on average. The study also included people without sleep problems; cannabis helped them fall asleep even faster, by 15 minutes.
Selecting and Using a Weed Strain for Sleep
When considering cannabis for sleep, you’ll want a blend of THC (the stuff that gets you high) and CBD (the non-party chemicals).
THC has been proven to cause sleep. However, high THC levels could reduce REM (dream) sleep, which is important for healthy cognitive and immune functioning. Higher concentrations of THC can make you feel sluggish the next day.
CBD also promotes sleep. A Feb. 2021 review of CBD research concluded that data support "CBD's therapeutic value in improving sleep (increased sleep duration/quality and reduction in nightmares) and depression, which are often comorbid with anxiety" and that "these features of CBD make it an attractive novel therapeutic option in COVID-related" post-traumatic stress symptoms.
While everyone’s physiology is different, it’s generally best to ingest cannabis at least an hour before bedtime. The effects will last for about three to four hours, helping you to unwind and fall asleep.
Consider adding some complimentary natural sleep aids to your bedtime sesh. Terpenes found in cannabis that promote sleep are also found in chamomile and lavender. So think about pairing your evening weed with a cup of chamomile tea or a lavender bubble bath.
The infographic below shows which common terpenes have sleep inducing properties: