Cannabis has been used for centuries as a natural sleep aid, and in recent years, more people are now turning to cannabis as a natural way to improve their sleep. While the research on cannabis and sleep is still in its early stages, many patients report significant improvements in their sleep quality and duration. In this article, we’ll explore how cannabis helps with sleep and what the research says.
How Does Cannabis Help With Sleep?
Cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex network of receptors and chemicals that helps regulate many physiological processes, including sleep. The two primary cannabinoids found in cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, and it is responsible for the “high” that users experience. THC can make it easier to fall asleep by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and increasing the amount of deep, restful sleep.
CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound that does not produce a high. CBD can improve sleep by reducing anxiety and stress, which are common causes of sleep disturbances. Together, THC and CBD work synergistically to produce a wide range of therapeutic effects, including improved sleep.
However, a more recently discovered “minor” cannabinoid – CBN – has helped many users elevate their overall quality of sleep. CBN forms when THC degrades due to exposure to heat, air and/or light. It generally doesn’t cause the intoxicating psychoactive effects associated with THC (and if so, only mildly). The biggest reported benefit is the user remains asleep though the night without waking up frequently – feeling more restful upon wakening.
What Does The Research Say About Cannabis And Sleep?
While the research on cannabis and sleep is still in its early stages, there is a growing body of scientific evidence to support the use of cannabis as a sleep aid. Studies have shown that cannabis can be effective for improving sleep quality, reducing sleep disturbances, and increasing total sleep time.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2019 found that cannabis use was associated with improved sleep quality and reduced symptoms of insomnia in patients with PTSD. The study also found that cannabis use was well-tolerated and did not cause significant side effects.
Another study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2018, found that cannabis use was associated with improvements in sleep quality and reductions in sleep disturbances in patients with chronic pain.
Research has also shown that CBD can be effective for improving sleep quality. A study published in the Permanente Journal in 2019 found that CBD improved sleep in patients with anxiety and sleep disturbances. The study also found that CBD was well-tolerated and did not cause significant side effects.
How Is Cannabis Used For Sleep?
It is important to note that while cannabis can be effective for improving sleep, it is not a cure-all for sleep problems. Patients should work with their healthcare providers to identify and address the underlying causes of their sleep disturbances, such as stress, anxiety, or sleep apnea.
Cannabis can be consumed in a variety of forms, including smoking, vaping, edibles, tinctures, and topicals. Each method of consumption has its own advantages and disadvantages, and patients should work with their healthcare providers to determine the best method for their individual needs.
Smoking and vaping are the most common methods of consuming cannabis for sleep. These methods allow for rapid onset of effects and precise dosing. However, smoking and vaping can irritate the lungs and may not be appropriate for patients with respiratory conditions.
Edibles and tinctures are another popular way to consume cannabis for sleep. These products are ingested orally and can provide longer-lasting effects than smoking or vaping. However, it can be difficult to accurately dose edibles, and the effects can take longer to onset.
Topical cannabis products, such as creams and balms, are not typically used for sleep, as they do not produce psychoactive effects and are not effective for systemic absorption. They may help with pain relief that prevents a good night’s sleep.
Chewable gummies have become the most common form of cannabis sleep products with two brands being the most dominant: Camino Midnight Blueberry Gummies THC:CBN and Wyld Elderberry Gummies THC:CBN. A new favorite treat has emerged with Emerald Sky Peanut Butter Cups THC:CBN.
A number of “under-the-tongue” remedies have also been reported as successful sleep aids by cannabis consumers such as Level Tablingual Sleep CBN, Care By Design Tincture 1:1 THC:CBD, and Papa and Barkley Tincture 1:1 THC:CBD. All these products are available at KOLAS stores.