There are a lot of cliches and stereotypes surrounding cannabis use. These are spread by both anti and pro herb groups. With the anti side using them to show how degenerate and wasted cannabis users are, while the pro side propagate these tropes because they’re funny.
I guess, Seth Rogen built an entire career off the back of pointing out that weed exists. One of the most famous cliches isn’t so much a cliche as it is a reality of certain strains of herb: It makes you sleepy.
We’ve all experienced it; fighting the onslaught of Morpheus at a party so we don’t miss out on the fun, or on the couch so we can find out who wins a 2015 rerun of The Voice. Cannabis makes you sleepy. However, is the sleep you get from herb actually decent, restful sleep? Or is it like alcohol, a false sleep that simply helps pass the time until you feel dreadful in the morning.
Sweet Dreams are Made of Green?
The sleep-promoting effects are one of the main selling points of medicinal cannabis. With somewhere in the realm of 70 million American citizens suffering from a sleep disorder, it shouldn’t be surprising that marketing them a solution could be very profitable. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence claiming that consuming cannabis is good for sleep, but as far as it goes for peer reviewed studies, the jury is still out.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, a lot of progress on cannabis research was stymied by the global prohibition on cannabis. This illegality made it difficult to research the effects and uses of cannabis.
Of course with the wave of legalization sweeping the world research can finally take place. The studies show that CBN, a cannabinoid related closely to THC, has a powerful sedative effect. CBN is formed as THC degrades. If you allow cannabis to age over a long period it will gradually become enriched with CBN, and thus contain a more powerful sedative effect.
CBN can work with THC and CBD to promote restful sleep according to some evidence.
Straining for Sleep
So we know that strains higher in certain cannabinoids are more effective at promoting sleep. These strains can generally be found in the Indicia family of strains. Some of the best strains purported to help with sleep include Hell’s Fire, a hybrid strain that provides a body high; Larry OG, another hybrid with a more mellow high that won’t knock you on your ass; and Bubba Kush, a pure Indicia with a mild THC content.
Are There Any Benefits to Sleeping On Cannabis?
A study in the American Journal on Addictions found that smoking a little cannabis before bed leads to you falling to sleep much more quickly. This can be fantastic for those who suffer from anxiety or insomnia. Another effect of cannabis that could help promote better sleep is the fact that cannabis can help treat chronic pain, which can impact sleep severely.
Cannabis may Inhibit REM
No, I don’t mean Michael Stipe’s band, you could probably figure that out from the context of this entire piece. If you’ve ever smoked cannabis before trying to sleep you might notice that you don’t seem to dream as much. This is because cannabis may have certain properties that suppress REM sleep.
Rapid eye movement, is the phase of sleep that we associate with dreaming, and many studies suggest that this may be the part of your sleep cycle that has the restful, rejuvenating properties we need to live. It is also the time of sleep in which we dream.
However the evidence that cannabis suppresses REM is still inconclusive, and more study is needed. On top of this, sleep experts don’t even have a consensus that REM is essential to feeling rested and healthy.
An interesting fact is that if an individual uses cannabis to help them sleep for a long period of time, when they stop smoking before bed they can find that their dreams are especially vivid. This is because suppressing REM for a long time causes it to overcompensate and become more intense.
Edibles v. Smoking v. Vaping
Smoking and vaping cannabis are the most common methods of consuming cannabis before bed, but have you considered edibles?
Smoking is associated with an immediate effect, but if you want to sleep for a longer period of time then maybe edibles are for you. Edibles are slow release, so if you eat one an hour or two before you go to bed then you can be sure that you’ll sleep through the night without a hitch.
However, if you want a smooth, gentler experience before bed we recommend that you invest in a vaporizer that prioritizes a smooth vaping experience. The smell of smoke and the harsh feeling in your throat aren’t conducive to a good night’s sleep.
A vaporizer like the DaVinci IQ has a cubic zirconia airpath that offers great cooling and a smooth taste. Even the most inexperienced herb fan won’t find themselves lapsing into a coughing fit after a hit from an IQ. Other vapes like the Storz & Bickel Volcano, offer vapor that is up to 90% purer than the standard vape, this will go down a treat before bedtime and have a nearly immediate effect.