Most CBD oil brands, when they promote their products, use captions and punchlines that include “better sleep for people suffering from insomnia.” CBD is a compound found in cannabis. Does cannabis really aid in sleep? Does it make consumers overly droopy? Or is the claim that cannabis induces sleep is an exaggerated one?
Read on as we’ll attempt to find answers to these questions in this article.
In order to find answers, we first need to understand sleep. Sleep is a resting activity that rejuvenates the body. Sleep deprivation can cause loss of memory, confusion, lack of attention, mood swings and a whole host of problems. The body relaxes during sleep. Relaxation removes soreness and achiness from muscles and tissues.
Sleep, therefore, is a very important function of the body.
Cannabis and sleep
Cannabis contains several compounds that help the body relax. These compounds don’t necessarily make someone sleepy. What they do is let muscles relax and worries vanish so that sleep comes easily. In this sense, yes, cannabis is indeed a sleep inducer.
Cannabis overdose is possible. You can read more about it here. Unlike crystal meth or cocaine, cannabis overdose is not harmful to the body. But it makes one’s mind hazy and disrupts rational thinking. Cannabis overdose is not conducive for sleep.
The mind will either be restless, preventing one from sleep or a constant drowsiness will them fall in sleep and then wake up again shortly afterward. An overdose can make one feel sleepy during the daytime, making it hard for them to put their focus on work.
Cannabis quality affects sleep. Quality, in this context, means the age and the ratio between CBD and THC. The general rule is the older the cannabis, the sleepier it’ll make you feel. The reason behind this is THC gradually turns into a compound called Cannabinol or CBN. The compound is highly slept inducing.
The CBD THC ratio influences sleep. If the ratio is skewed to THC, in other words, if the cannabis product was made of high Indica strain, intoxication will accompany sleep. Consumers can fall into sleep suddenly and sometimes during a high. If THC’s effect is strong, they may also have a vivid dream during sleeping.
CBD heavy strains, on the other hand, provide sound sleep. CBD makes people more alert about their surrounding environment. Hence, cannabis products made of CBD dominant strains trigger people to differentiate between illuminated and non-illuminated environment. When the lights are on for a long period, people wake up.
Falling on sleep faster
Insomnia patients have benefited from cannabis. They reported that cannabis helps them drift into sleep more quickly than OTC or prescription medicines. How long it takes for sleep to come depends on the method of consumption.
People who consume cannabis for medical reasons prefer edibles and balms. On the other hand, people who are into recreational marijuana smoke or vape cannabis. When cannabis is smoked, the sleep-inducing effects trigger quickly. Recreational cannabis is inhaled and it comes from high Indica strains, hence has a higher percentage of THC in them.
Cannabis and sleep quality
Cannabis affects sleep quality as well. Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes people to snore. During sleep, breathing is often obstructed and every single episode of sleep obstruction can last up to few minutes.
Cannabis is effective in the treatment of sleep apnea. A study was conducted in 2013 to examine the effect of cannabis on sleep apnea patients. They a cannabinoid called dronabinol that resembles THC and improves sleep apnea. A separate study observed THC can repair damaged respiratory abilities. It does so by improving the signaling of serotonin. Anecdotal evidence confirms the findings of these studies.
REM sleep and cannabis
REM is an acronym for rapid eye movement. During the REM period, we dream. Studies show that long-term cannabis use can minimize the duration of the REM period. As a result, we see fewer dreams and sleep for long hours. However, the strains that reduce the REM period duration are mostly CBD-heavy.
There’s another way cannabis affects REM sleep. During the REM period, the body is supposed to be paralyzed, so that it doesn’t react to the stimuli in the dream. But people affected by REM disorder involuntarily react to dreams they have and therefore put themselves in danger of getting hurt. But cannabis improves REM disorder and keep the body paralyzed during the dream phase.
Growing interest in cannabis
Data from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicate more than 30% of adults suffer from insomnia. A sizable number of them are can’t sleep at night due to chronic pain or similar ailments. Almost 10% of US adults have chronic insomnia.
The state figures above are the reason there’s a renewed interest in cannabis and we can safely say that it will continue to grow in the future.