People desperately seeking sleep often find it with the aid of cannabis. But it’s not as cut and dried as you may think. If you’re considering a little bedtime cannabis to help you catch some much-needed zzz’s, here’s what to know about how cannabis impacts sleep.
Surprise! THC and CBD, the two most well-known cannabinoids, affect sleep differently. Unfortunately, as with many things cannabis, research into how and why is fairly limited. We can’t say for sure which cannabinoid is better for sleep, whether they work best together thanks to the entourage effect, or if it’s all thanks to terpenes. At this time, studies about the effects of CBD in particular are a little contradictory. Some animal model studies have found that CBD can create alertness. In one small survey, two-thirds of adults reported improved sleep with CBD, while another one-fourth found their symptoms got worse. Anecdotally, CBD can be a good place to start, but a low dose of THC for its sedative effects may be better.
If you regularly toss and turn and unsuccessfully try to turn off your brain, cannabis may help you fall asleep faster than usual. By promoting physical relaxation and calming anxiety, not to mention relieving symptoms of pain that can make it hard to unwind, cannabis often makes it much easier to slip into sleep.
Terpenes, such as myrcene, play a big role in the effects of cannabis on the individual, and pairing cannabis with herbal remedies rich in these sleep-inducing aromatic compounds can create effective sedation. Think chamomile and lavender — key players in classic bedtime rituals like a warm cup of herbal tea or a soothing bath.
If you’re regularly turning to cannabis for a better night’s sleep, fair warning — your dreams may dwindle. Dreaming takes place during REM sleep, the final stage of the sleep cycle. Using cannabis before bed has been shown to reduce REM sleep, which can mean fewer or less vivid dreams. If you’re a long-time cannabis user and you stop indulging, REM rebound may occur. It’s a phenomenon in which you have more frequent and more lucid dreams.
If sleep is the goal, a bit of trial and error is the best way to dial in the right products and dosage for the job. The budtenders here at Mynt can point you in the right direction with recommendations and suggestions — just ask.