Insomnia, which is the persistent inability to fall or stay asleep, affects millions of Americans across the country. Many different factors affect your ability to sleep, such as stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and more. Insomnia doesn’t just leave you tired. It impacts your overall health and mental wellbeing. In many cases, physicians prescribe medication to help. There are many people that swear by cannabis. The question is, can cannabis help with your insomnia?
What Does the Research Say?
There have been a few studies investigating the effectiveness of cannabis for insomnia. One study in 2018 found that it helped to improve sleep, noting different levels of effectiveness based on the plant’s characteristics. An earlier study in 2008 found that cannabis consumption (smoked and orally administered) helped people fall asleep faster and increased the amount of time people spent in the deepest stage of sleep.
Can Cannabis Negatively Impact Sleep?
Some research shows that cannabis may disrupt sleep. From the 2008 study, researchers noted that too little REM sleep (which they found cannabis shortened) could contribute to mood and memory problems. A study in 2019 also found that people taking cannabis for pain, who also had symptoms of insomnia, could develop a tolerance to the sleep-promoting effects of the plant.
An Alternative to Conventional Medicine
For those who experience an improvement in insomnia symptoms, cannabis provides a beneficial alternative to prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids. These conventional medications often come with undesirable side effects, such as daytime sleepiness, dizziness, difficulty keeping balance, and confusion.
Cannabis products don’t have these same side effects. For those who might be afraid to take a prescription or OTC medication, the plant can provide greater peace of mind. You can smoke a joint, drop a tincture under your tongue, or eat an edible, all without fear of unwanted side effects.
Best Strains for Promoting Sleep
There are seemingly endless strains of cannabis on the market. They all have varying levels of THC and CBD, as well as differing terpene profiles. Some strains are better than others for helping you to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Some strains to consider include:
- Tahoe OG Kush
- God’s Gift
- Purple Kush
- Northern Lights
- 9 Pound Hammer
Tips for Success
The strain that you choose for your insomnia is just one part of the equation. Here are a few additional tips for success:
- Time your dose: smoking and tinctures take effect quickly, while edibles can take upwards of 90 minutes
- Make yourself comfortable: dim the lights, grab your blanket, and get cozy
- Establish a bedtime routine: take a bath, read a book, shut off the television and other electronics, meditate
- Avoid anything that could stimulate you: avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking several hours before you go to bed
By timing your dose just right, taking steps to unwind and relax, and avoiding anything that could negatively impact your ability to sleep, you’re much more likely to achieve your desired results.
If you’re dealing with insomnia, cannabis may be able to help. When you’re finally able to get some much-needed sleep, you’ll feel better, function better, and improve your overall wellbeing.