Cannabis for Better Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 50 to 70 million U.S. adults experience sleep disorder symptoms that can adversely impact their health, alertness and safety. One of the many acclaimed benefits of cannabis is better, more restful sleep. In fact, some people use cannabis to sleep without experiencing the psychoactive effects at all. Many products are low in THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, but high in other cannabinoids known to promote restfulness. Aside from smoking, cannabis can be consumed in edibles, drinks, capsules, and tincture form. In this article, we’ll look at the pharmacological properties of cannabis that promote restful, high-quality sleep, and how to find them at the dispensary.
What to Consider When Choosing a Product
Terpenes and cannabinoids are the most important constituents to consider when choosing a product. Terpenes are aromatic compounds naturally present in cannabis and other plants. Numerous terpenes are found in cannabis, ranging from linalool with a relaxing, calming lavender scent, to limonene with a bright, invigorating lemony scent. Cannabinoids are compounds unique to the cannabis plant that interact with the Endocannabinoid System. THC and CBD are examples of cannabinoids. The powerful psychoactive properties of THC are exemplary of the immense effect cannabinoids can have on your body. That’s why choosing a cannabis product with a blend of the right cannabinoids and terpenes is crucial for getting the result you want.
The Effects of Cannabinoids on Sleep
Some people find the “high” from THC helpful for going to sleep, and others don’t. Limited research suggests that THC can interfere with REM-sleep, which may hinder sleep quality. THC is also associated with a reduction in dreaming, which can be helpful for those who experience nightmares. In my experience, to promote restful sleep, THC is most effective when combined with cannabidiol (CBD) and/or other cannabinoids.
According to a Consumer Reports survey, a majority of Americans who reported using CBD for sleep said it worked.
There is more supportive research around CBD and its ability to promote restfulness. According to a Consumer Reports survey, a majority of Americans who reported using CBD for sleep said it worked. Preliminary research into cannabis and insomnia suggests that CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.
CBN is another cannabinoid that’s notoriously sleepy and drowsy when combined with THC, although this cannabinoid is lacking the same scientific research that THC and CBD enjoy. CBN is more prominent in aged cannabis since THC degrades into CBN over time.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Terpenes
Selecting cannabis with the right terpenes is almost as important as choosing the right cannabinoids. Relaxing and calming terpenes to look for include linalool, myrcene, and caryophyllene. Linalool is found abundantly in the lavender plant. The notoriously calming and soothing effects of lavender aromatherapy combine nicely with cannabinoids like CBN, creating the perfect cocktail for restfulness. Strains with “lavender” in the name are most likely to have the highest levels of linalool. LA Confidential, a very popular strain, often contains higher levels of linalool that most other strains, as well as another important terpene, myrcene.
Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene in cannabis, providing a notoriously calm and sedating effect, which is convenient if you want to promote restfulness. Myrcene is most abundant in indica strains, which is perhaps why indica strains are regarded as being heavy and sometimes lethargic. Various strains of kush are high in myrcene. For instance, 9-Pound Hammer is an excellent strain option for a sleepy indica with a high myrcene concentration.
Terpenes can also be purchased and used as supplements, combined with beverages, or diffused in an oil diffuser before bed. To conclude, there are several cannabis products formulated to promote sleep, like tinctures and capsules.
If the selection of the right cannabis product for sleep still seems daunting, ask one of our medically certified budtenders for a recommendation!