Can Cannabis Help Fight Insomnia?
Published on 3/12/21
It's a new year, but that doesn't mean we've left the troubles of 2020 behind us. The world is still a confusing place, and it makes sense why people are having a hard time sleeping at night. Alternative medicines have been the answer for many, and a lot of people have found marijuana and sleep a beneficial combination. Let's take a look at insomnia, marijuana as a medicinal alternative and why so many people continue to use weed for sleep.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder that causes extreme lack of sleep. According to Science Daily, roughly 25% of Americans experience insomnia each year, with 75% of those individuals recovering before it becomes chronic. Insomnia results in a lack of quality sleep due to the inability to fall and stay asleep for extended periods. People experience insomnia at various levels of intensity, but there are two broad classifications: acute insomnia and chronic insomnia.
Acute insomnia is usually brought on by stress and lasts anywhere from a few days to several weeks. It is likely what people are experiencing with COVID-19, isolation, and the social and political tensions of 2020.
Chronic insomnia is more persistent, causing sleep deprivation for months or years at a time. In chronic conditions, insomnia may be the result of other medical conditions or elongated stress.
Each form of insomnia can result in similar symptoms:
- Feeling tired throughout the day
- Heightened emotions
- Lack of focus or memory
- Waking up early or not being able to fall to sleep at night
In addition to symptoms, each form of insomnia can have similar causes:
- Irregular sleeping habits
- Poor nutritional health
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, or depression
- Prescription drugs
- Medical conditions such as cancer, asthma, or diabetes
- Overuse of caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol
Insomnia can have a serious impact on your mental and physical health. If you think you are suffering from insomnia, it's best to seek the advice of a medical professional, who you should ask about cannabis as an alternative treatment.
How Does Cannabis Affect the Body?
There are hundreds of cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana, two variations of the cannabis plant. The two most common cannabinoids are THC and CBD, which share many similarities and notable differences. Both interact with the body's endocannabinoid system in alternate ways. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) binds primarily to CB1 receptors, which is what causes the intoxicating effects it's known for; however, it also binds to CB2 receptors, which are located on cells' immune systems and explains why medical marijuana continues to be proven an effective alternative treatment for many conditions. When consumed, THC can cause feelings of euphoria, relaxations, mood changes, increased appetite, heightened senses, and a few other psychoactive effects.
CBD (cannabidiol), on the other hand, only binds to CB2 receptors and therefore does not cause the same psychoactive effects as THC. When consumed, CBD has far less obvious side effects and more subtly induces relaxation and other positive medicinal benefits. Currently classified as a supplement, CBD has a variety of medical applications and is used to combat epilepsy, anxiety and depression, addiction, acne, PTSD, and insomnia. Let's take a look at the differences in THC vs CBD for sleep because the best cannabis for insomnia will likely vary between individuals.
Does Weed Help With Sleep?
We are not medical professionals and are not providing this information as a medical suggestion. Like many people, however, we do believe that cannabis has the potential to combat the effects of insomnia. If you've been dealing with related symptoms, we suggest asking a medical professional about using weed for insomnia, and here's why. THC's psychoactive properties are frequently used to combat anxiety and depression by lowering stress and inducing a state of relaxation and sedation. Studies have found that marijuana induces a state that invites sleep much quicker for individuals suffering from anxiety and insomnia.
There are many different ways to consume cannabis, which is part of why it's an ideal sleeping aid. If you prefer edibles, ask a budtender at a local medical dispensary what the best edible for sleep is. If you prefer to smoke, vape, or dab, ask what they've found the best strain for sleep to be. Talk to professionals when making these decisions for the best results. It is important to note that studies have shown heavy users experience worse sleep than average. If you smoke weed to sleep better, remember that dosage and control are important - too much can result in increased sleep issues.
Does CBD Help With Sleep?
If marijuana isn't your thing, or if you live in a state where marijuana hasn't been legalized, CBD is also an alternative sleep aid option. It might be worth your while to ask your doctor about using CBD for sleep, and here's why. Like THC, CBD helps your body relax. At lower levels (and an optimal dose of 25 milligrams), researchers found that patients struggling with anxiety reported an increase in sleep and fewer symptoms of anxiety. Studies show there may be other reasons behind CBD's effectiveness as a sleep aid. When used in comparison to a placebo, one study found that doses up to 160 milligrams of CBD oil increased sleep duration. At higher levels of 300 to 600 milligrams of CBD oil, the same study found that cortisol levels significantly decreased in the subjects and a mental sedative effect. Additionally, we think that one of the best edibles for sleep comes from CBD Infusionz. Their CBD + CBN gummies are 100% vegan and made with 150 mg of naturally occurring Cannabinol (CBN), 450 mg of CBD and come in watermelon, strawberry and lemon flavors!
These initial studies are promising in underlining CBD's potential as an alternative treatment for anxiety and insomnia, and more research is being conducted now that CBD is federally legal and easily accessible. Check back in for more updates on scientific findings of CBD and marijuana for sleep and other medical conditions.
Let us know what type of cannabis helps you sleep. What are your favorite strains and what type of consumption method works best? Comment below!