The medicinal use of cannabis dates back to the times of the greatest ancient civilizations. People have been using weed for thousands of years to alleviate ailments like inflammation, skin conditions, nausea, epilepsy, glaucoma, and sleep disorders.
Sleep is an essential element of our well-being. Even one night without the recommended 8 hours of shut eye can negatively affect your health. Today’s fast-paced times put too much weight on our shoulders, often making it extremely difficult to get proper rest.
Sleep deprivation can trigger a whole range of health conditions, from impaired metabolism to attention deficit and heart disease.
In this article, we’ll shed light on how cannabis improves one’s sleep and how to use it for the best results.
Cannabis for Sleep: How Does Weed Improve Your Sleep Cycle?
Cannabis can help with sleep on a few levels, all of which are linked to the interaction between cannabinoids and the human endocannabinoid system. It’s mostly THC and CBD that regulate our sleep patterns, hence their potential to relieve sleeping disorders.
Here’s how your body and brain can use the herbal nightcap:
- THC reduces the time it takes to fall asleep by one hour on average, so you will fall asleep faster. However, keep in mind that a little goes a long way with THC, and too much of this psychoactive compound can actually counteract the effect, especially if you’re a new user.
- Combining THC with CBD before going to bed ensures longer duration of the deep sleep stage.
- Cannabis affects the REM sleep stage, during which people dream. If you smoke regularly before bed, chances are you’re not experiencing any dreams at all. But when you take a break from cannabis, the first few nights can be full of weird and vivid dreams.
- Cannabis regulates breathing, which can be particularly useful for people suffering from asthma or sleep apnea.
Indica or Sativa? Choosing the Best Cannabis Strain for Sleep
Most people prefer indica or indica-dominant hybrid strains for sleep. Indica flowers are known to produce a more body-focused high accompanied by relief from mental stress and physical tension. The combination of these effects makes indica-dominant strains more suitable for evening and nighttime use.
Sativa flowers, on the other hand, provide more of a cerebral high that stimulates the mind, increases focus, and stirs creativity, something which isn’t necessarily desired before falling asleep. After all, you want to prevent racing thoughts from occurring, not increase their likelihood.
Indica strains produce more sedating effects because of two things: first, their THC/CBD ratios; second, their terpene profiles. Terpenes are the aromatic molecules that give plants their unique fragrances and flavors. If you want to boost the sedating properties of cannabis, opt for strains with a high Myrcene and Linalool content. These two terpenes are known for their relaxing properties that also have the ability to extend the duration of your strain’s effects.
Aged Cannabis = Better Sleep Aid?
Aged weed, or the one exposed to air and oxygen for a decent period, can enhance your sleep more efficiently than fresh buds. That’s because THC degrades over time and loses part of its psychoactive properties. But on the other hand, as the THC breaks down, it converts into CBN (cannabinol), a cannabinoid with powerful sedative effects.
Best Cannabis Strains to Consume Before Sleep
Here are our top 5 weed varieties to consume before bedtime:
1. OG Kush
OG Kush is a legendary strain for many reasons, specifically for its remarkable euphoria and tantalizing, earthy pine fragrances accented by hints of lemon and damp wood. The strain is appreciated both by recreational and medical consumers, mostly thanks to its sedative and body-melting effects. People also use it to cope with chronic stress, attention deficits, anxiety, chronic pain, and migraines.
Afghani is one of the original cannabis strains. Coming from the mountain regions of Afghanistan, this indica bud produces a deep, hypnotic high with noticeable sensations of euphoria and giggliness — the main reason why people use it as a relaxant and sleep aid.
3. Northern Lights
This is hands down one of the best indica strains to consume at the end of the day. Northern Lights grows notoriously resinous nugs and is a great source of relief from stress and anxiety. Once inhaled, it fills your nose and palate with spicy aromas while washing away all worries and troubles within minutes.
Blueberry is an award-winning flower created by crossbreeding a variety of exotic landrace strains. Medical marijuana patients use it to combat pain and inflammation, while growers and recreational users are heads over heels with this strain due to its high THC content.
5. Bubba kush
A cross between Bubble Gum and Kush, this near pure indica strain might not be as potent as other kush varieties out there, but it’s hands down one of the best cannabis strains to use for sleep. The high offered by Bubba Kush is deeply relaxing — some people describe it as “on the verge of body-melting.”
How to Maximize the Efficacy of Using Cannabis for Sleep
If you want to boost your nighttime session, we recommend mixing your weed with some chamomile tea. And by mixing we mean drinking the tea as you smoke, not tossing those herbs to a joint. If you want to pair other herbs with cannabis, check their terpene profiles to see if they can either complement or boost the sleep-inducing effects of your strain.
Should I Use Cannabis Flowers or Concentrates for Sleep?
That depends on your tolerance to THC. Concentrates are the most potent forms of cannabis, so using them for sleep requires some prior history of consumption with less potent products. If you’re not a heavy consumer, we recommend sticking to flowers, unless your symptoms are too severe to benefit from smoking or vaping a bud.
Does using cannabis help you sleep better? What are your favorite weed strains to consume before bed? Let us know in the comments below!