Why you should replace sleeping pills with cannabis
If you have chronic insomnia, sleep apnea or of the sleep disorders affecting millions of Americans, it’s time to consider cannabis as a treatment option.
Cannabis for sleep is making waves in and outside of legal states. Why? Because it works and trouble sleeping is one of the most common afflictions of our modern age. In fact, according to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. What’s more, about 10 percent of adults in the U.S. have chronic insomnia. So, how can cannabis for sleep help cure your insomnia?
Why Cannabis For Sleep Works
For starters, many of the active components in cannabis are relaxants, like the cannabinoids THC and CBN, and many terpenes, including mycrene. Relaxants ease muscle tension and relax the body, priming it for a good night’s sleep.
Cannabis for sleep also works by relieving many symptoms that keep people awake at night, including stress, anxiety, and pain. Plus, these symptoms are exacerbated by the lack of sleep, creating a negative feedback loop of sleeplessness. But that’s where cannabis for sleep comes in, it both reduces symptoms and makes users tired – breaking the cycle and allowing you to catch some quality Zzz’s.
What the Studies Say About Cannabis For Sleep
A 2008 study found cannabis to help those with PTSD sleep. PTSD can cause horrifying nightmares that keep patients awake or make them want to avoid sleep altogether. Because cannabis rich in THC reduces the amount of REM sleep you get, it also reduces the number of dreams you have. That’s because dreams occur during REM sleep. Although reducing your amount of REM sleep can have long-term health effects, it increases the amount of “deep sleep” you get.
Cannabis for sleep may also help those with sleep apnea, according to a 2018 study. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep and could prevent the brain and body from getting enough oxygen. There are currently no pharmaceutical drugs for sleep apnea, and sufferers have to sleep with a gadget on their face called a Continuous Positive Airway Device. But, this 2018 study found a synthetic cannabinoid reduced sleep apnea by 32 percent, showing great promise in the use of cannabis for sleep disorders.
How to Use Cannabis for Sleep
There are so many different cannabis strains and products, how do you know which one is the best cannabis for sleep? First of all, you’re going to want to start with an indica strain of cannabis as opposed to a sativa. That’s because indicas are known to relax the body and mind, while sativas induce the opposite effect, making people uplifted and energized.
As far as THC, CBD, and cannabinoids go, we’d suggest picking a strain with 20 percent or less of THC to help you relax. Strains with more than 20 percent THC could end up energizing you or causing anxiety. Plus, many report feeling a little groggy the next morning after using super-high THC strains at night. Also, look out for the cannabinoid CBN when buying cannabis for sleep for its anti-insomnia effects.
When it comes to CBD, you want some CBD in your strain, but only consuming CBD before bed could actually stimulate you rather than put you to sleep. This evidence is anecdotal, but some people report CBD-only products to be energizing rather than sleep-inducing. Unless you prefer to avoid THC altogether, we’d suggest a strain with THC as well as CBD for your nighttime routine.
There are also some relaxing and sleep-inducing terpenes to look for when buying cannabis for sleep. Check out a strain high in Myrcene for its sedating effects. Also look for Terpinolene, which relaxes the body so much you won’t want to move at all. Another great terpene for sleep is Phytol, which will make you drowsy and has pain killing effects. Plus, terpenes interact with cannabinoids to produce certain effects, so you can always ask your local budtender for some recommendations.
Keep an eye out for these strains of cannabis for sleep:
Smoke, Vape, or Edibles?
Smoking and vaping cannabis for sleep will provide the most immediate effect, but if that’s not your style, there are plenty of other options. Many people are turning to cannabis oils and tinctures before bed, as well as edibles and topicals.
Cannabis edibles can help you stay asleep and sleep for longer, but they will also take longer to kick in. Try taking edible cannabis for sleep two to three hours before your desired bedtime. Check out Herb’s list of the 10 best edibles for sleep for some dank suggestions.
Cannabis teas and other drinkables are also great for before bed because they kick in faster than traditional edibles. There are also some topical cannabis products meant to relax your whole body that are great for unwinding before hitting the sack, like cannabis bath bombs. Check out our list of the 10 best cannabis bath bombs for serious relaxation.
When it comes to cannabis for sleep, there are tons of options. Don’t be shy and ask your local budtender for some recommendations.
The Problems with Traditional Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills, like Ambien and Lunesta, are some of the most common prescriptions drugs in the U.S. In fact, between 2005 and 2010, 8.6 million Americans had an Ambien prescription for sleep – even though cannabis is safer and increasingly proving effective. In fact, one in six Americans are prescribed a psychiatric drug, and Ambien is in the top five, after Zoloft, Celexa, and Xanax.
Ambien has tons of weird and potentially dangerous side effects, like amnesia, sleepwalking, daytime drowsiness, headaches, and allergic reactions. It will make you feel like crap the next morning and can even be potentially lethal if you take too much or mix with alcohol or other drugs. Plus, if you take Ambien for a long period, you will experience some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try and discontinue use.
But that’s why cannabis for sleep is the best sleeping pill – it’s natural, there are virtually no side effects, and if you happen to take too much, you won’t overdose, you’ll probably just fall asleep. Although more research needs to be done on cannabis for sleep, tons of people are already making the switch from prescription pulls to the natural herb.
The 2017 Eaze State of Cannabis Report looked at this trend in California and found 57 percent of survey participants use or have used sleeping pills. Of that 57 percent, 95 percent are using cannabis for sleep to reduce their sleeping pill consumption. What’s more, of that 95 percent, 45 percent have completely made the switch and have stopped taking sleeping pills entirely and use cannabis for sleep instead.
Cannabis for sleep is safer and more natural than prescription drugs for sleep, making the plant the best sleeping pill.
How do you use cannabis for sleep?