The Impact of Cannabis on Sleep

By Rolling Up

For some, cannabis is used as a nighttime ritual to relax before bed and sleep aid. After all, sleep is essential for maintaining mental, physical, and emotional health. About 40 million Americans report a form of sleep disorder. Yes, that’s a lot of people suffering at night! A 1973 study suggests that THC reduces the amount of time it takes those with insomnia to fall asleep. People have reported that it takes them less time to fall asleep after smoking. 

Cannabis can be prescribed to treat the following sleep disorders:

  • Insomnia - Chronic ability to stay and fall asleep
  • Sleep Apnea - Disruption of breathing during sleep
  • Restless Leg Syndrome - Tingling or burning sensation in the legs
  • Narcolepsy - Excessive daytime sleepiness 
  • Parasomnia  - Abnormal and bodily movements during sleep, which include teeth grinding, sleep talking, and night terrors

Note: Currently doctors do not recommend using THC to treat narcolepsy because it can worsen the symptoms rather than form alertness. 

Cannabis and Dreams

There’s a direct correlation between cannabis and dreams. You will probably not remember your dreams when you wake up. As you smoke more and develop a tolerance for it, you will end up having fewer dreams at night. Here’s how Dutch neurologist, Dr. Hans Hamburger, explains it in an interview with VICE

“Every night you go through...a series of sleep cycles. Each cycle takes about ninety minutes, during which you go through different phases. There’s superficial sleep, deep sleep, and finally REM sleep. During that REM period, you have most of your dreams. You don’t usually remember your dreams if you continue sleeping. The last REM period just before you wake up takes the longest - and you’ll only remember the dreams you had in that time if you wake up during it. If you don’t wake up during the REM period you won’t remember a thing.” 

Cannabis interferes with the REM cycle, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can help with negative emotions or nightmares from sneaking into consciousness. 

REM Rebound

If you find yourself taking a tolerance break from weed, you might find that your dreams will take new shape and you’ll have crazy dreams. While REM rebound provides the mind to catch up on dream sleep, it can be a bit terrifying.

Helpful Notes

Here are some things to keep in mind before you purchase:

  • THC strains are best for sleep. If THC agrees with your body and doesn’t induce anxiety then this is the most reliable source when it comes to sedating.
  • Try a strain higher in CBD if you’re sensitive to THC.
  • Edibles help you stay asleep longer.

If you’re going to use cannabis to treat your sleep issues be mindful of how your body reacts to the changes. Notify your doctor that you are using cannabis as a sleep aid and pay close attention to how it affects your mind and body. Sleep well!

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