Are you considering cannabis as a solution to cure your sleep issues?
Cannabis is now legalized broadly in 30 states in the country and the majority of these laws only allow for medical use. (1)
Some physicians choose to prescribe cannabis as a sleep aid for patients struggling with a consistent sleep schedule. 80% of CBD and cannabis users found products to be extremely effective in curing their ailments. (2)
As this substance gets prescribed more often, the question remains – can cannabis help you sleep better?
Can Cannabis Help with Sleep?
Using cannabis for sleep is common among people with issues like PTSD, insomnia, and chronic pain. (3) If you suffer from sleep issues – you know it gets frustrating to toss and turn at night.
Historically, cannabis has been recognized for its uses medicinally by cultures around the world. Only in 1942 was cannabis made illegal in the United States.
Using it as a medical therapy has gained much more attention in the past several years as marijuana has been legalized for medical use in many states.
With legalization comes research and commercial opportunities, so doctors and companies are investing in medical marijuana research. This could be good for your personal sleep routine.
How Does Cannabis Produce Its Effects?
There are a few ways that cannabis effects your body. Cannabis has effects that are both sedating and anti-anxiety.
The chemicals responsible for this sedation are cannabinoids. The ones you’ve probably heard of are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). CBD is known specifically for its anti-anxiety effects.
How Do People Use Cannabis for Sleep?
People use cannabis for sleep via several methods of intake. The three most common types are smoking, vaporization, and ingestion. The choices include everything from gummies to vape pens.
When THC is taken in by a person, effects of sedation, relaxation, and decreased anxiety are commonly reported. It has slightly analgesic properties and may also reduce chronic pain during sleep (and wakefulness). (4)
Different methods of intake for medical use are legal in some states and not in others. Because of this, the way a patient chooses to use cannabis varies based on legality and personal preference.
Should You Take Cannabis for Sleep?
Because cannabis was only recently made legal in some states, funding for research on the substance was halted until recent legalization has made it medically relevant again.
For some patients, cannabis does help induce sleep for a temporary period of time. (5) Yet, research shows that using cannabis may help sleep patterns but the body may develop a tolerance over time.
According to a report by the University of Pennsylvania (5), “within the context of early clinical research, chronic administration of THC has been shown to result in the development of tolerance to sleep effects.”
Scientific research conducted on the effects of cannabis, specifically THC and CBD for sleep, is scarce. There's still a lot to learn. Consuming cannabis may not always be great for you.
Rather than relying on cannabis for sleep, there are better solutions to solving sleep issues. There's potential for using cannabis in temporary situations, but only after more research is conducted.
What Are Other Alternatives to Sleeping Better?
There're a few alternatives to help you sleep better. Some of the alternatives worth trying include:
Keeping your electronics out of your bedroom at night
Sticking to a regular routine at night
Following good eating habits
Not ingesting caffeine before bed
Establishing a nightly routine that shows your brain and body it's time to relax for the evening trains your mind to sleep a set time.
Moving your cell phone out of arm’s reach helps you relax, especially since that device is a common distractor for many.
Everything from lighting to the noise in your environment can impact how you sleep. Pay attention to what distracts your mind. For example, if light impacts the way you sleep then a sleep mask can keep every trace of light from reaching your eyes.
Time to Go to Bed
Cannabis is becoming more popular to use for sleep among Americans, especially as it becomes legalized in more states.
This solution might work for some but not all. Seemingly minor lifestyle changes can make all of the difference in helping you sleep better.
(1) Garner, Kathrin. “Marijuana: Sleep Aid or Sleep Stealer? | Science.” Sleep Junkies, 31 May 2018, www.sleepjunkies.com/science/marijuana-sleep-aid-efects/
(2) Bornchardt, Debra. “Survey: Nearly Half of People Who Use Cannabidiol Products Stop Taking Traditional Medicines.” Forbes, www.forbes.com/sites/debraborchardt/2017/08/02/people-who-use-cannabis-cbd-products-stop-taking-traditional-medicines/#527c07ae2817. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.
(3) Kandola, Aaron. “Can You Use Cannabis for Sleeping?” Medical News Today, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322945.php. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.
(4) Ferguson, Sian. " Can You Use Cannabis to Restore Your Natural Sleep Cycle?" Healthline, 20 Feb. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/medical-marijuana/cannabis-for-sleeping#takeaway
(5) Babson KA et al. "Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: A Review of the Literature." PubMed, 19 Apr. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28349316
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