It’s been proven that weed can definitely help with insomnia but is there another side to the story?
Insomnia is one of those things people from all walks of life deal with. Multiple factors can contribute to not being able to fall asleep. Usually it’s an overactive brain that can’t stop wondering this or wondering that. It could be something simple like what did Alanis Morrisette see in Dave Coulier or more serious like how am I going to pay for rent next month?
One thing is for sure, a good nights rest helps the brain fire on all cylinders. Sleeping for 6-8 hours a night isn’t going to solve all your problems but it might help you think of how to solve your problems. People who suffer from insomnia can have the following symptoms:
Lack of focus
Loss of appetite
Not talking about Fight Club
Thankfully there are a lot of options out there to treat insomnia but not every treatment works for everybody. There are safe remedies that never work for me like Sleepy Time Tea, warm milk and melatonin. Every time I complain about insomnia I am always suggested these common remedies only for me to snap back at my coworkers and inform them for the three thousandth time that they don’t work! That’s not me talking it’s the lack of sleep.
There are also more serious treatments like sleeping pills that can have negative side effects such as dependence or never waking up ever again. Which brings us to our favourite medicinal remedy for most ailments, cannabis!
Any time marijuana is used to treat anything all side effects should be considered. It is a good plant but not a perfect plant. THC is the psychoactive ingredient that delivers the intoxicating effects of marijuana. It is the THC that’s responsible for inducing drowsiness or relaxation sometimes after the peak “high” has worn off.
I’ll use myself as an example because scientific studies are for nerds. In a previous post How Vaping Changed My Life I explained how during that time in my life I suffered from Insomnia. My job at the time had a rotating schedule. That meant I regularly changed from night shifts to day shifts. Imagine working very late Wednesday night until 12:30am. You get Thursday off and then it’s back to work Friday morning at 5am. My colleagues and I would dub this Friday “insomnia Friday”.
It was a challenge to force myself to wake up early on my day off when I went to bed so late. If I overslept (which I always did) insomnia was a guarantee. Vaping marijuana at dinner time allowed me to gain an appetite and eat at a decent hour then I was able to catch a few hours of sleep when the high wire off. I wouldn’t get a full 7 or 8 hours but some sleep is better than no sleep at all.
After a few (very fun) experiments I was able to determine the right strain for me. I use a sativa strain that has a low THC percentage of 12%. This has allowed me to enjoy my high and relax without freaking out. Sativa is a strain known for its energetic qualities but after the effect has worn off it can lead to a relaxed state. Here are some strains that can act as sleep aids:
- Blue Dream
- Green Crack
- Sour Diseal
- Tangerine Dream
- Northern Light
- Medical Mass
- Tahoe OG Kush
- White Widow
- God’s Gift
There are studies that suggest that using THC can eliminate rem sleep but I personally did not find that to be the case. I’m a vivid dreamer and haven’t noticed a difference when using THC. Have my dreams been weirder? I don’t know dreams are supposed to be weird.
To run my mouth (or keyboard) and try to sell the notion that marijuana is great for sleep and end it there would be irresponsible. While using marijuana recreationally should be legal everywhere it should also be used responsibly. It can be easy to slide into the habit of always needing it to sleep and that’s when you can get a dependence on the drug.
I know there’s a ton of arguments out there regarding the addicting qualities of marijuana. We’ve covered this in a previous blog Is Marijuana Addictive? In some cases if THC does reduce the amount of rem sleep you get you run the risk of losing cognitive functions which can hamper your memory or ability to learn. If you rely on high doses of marijuana the THC can help you get to sleep but it might not be a healthy sleep. If this is a concern for you, you can try CBD strains such as Medical Mass which have low THC % and a higher CBD %.
If you use marijuana to treat insomnia, at some point you’re going to have to ask yourself if you’re using it as a crutch. While toking with the sandman can give you the relief you need- stopping suddenly can lead to more sleepless nights. This is attributed to heavy users but it’s still something you should be aware of even if you are an occasional or recreational user. If you find yourself having to be completely blitzed just to fall asleep on a nightly basis you may have to make some changes to your habit. Quitting cold turkey is an option but this may lead you right back to insomnia. Trying more CBD strains instead of THC would probably be the best way to wean yourself off self medicating just to get to sleep. To be clear: I am not a doctor and medical advice from a professional is your best bet to ensure you use weed properly to treat (not cure) your insomnia.
Its a wonderful time to be alive. We can openly discuss marijuana without the man cramping our style. Now that it is legal in the true, north, strong and free it is much less controversial. That can lead to more research that can show us how marijuana can be a positive for common ailments like insomnia and it can show us the negative side effects as well.
If you are a noob to the wonderful world of the devil’s lettuce and you are curious you should choose strains with a THC % of under 15. Anything more than that can give you a bad trip and it might exacerbate your anxiety if you suffer from that. Everyone is different though but if you’re new you might as well play it safe.
So in conclusion marijuana can absolutely help insomnia but if you aren’t careful it can turn into a crutch instead of an enjoyable session.