Does Weed Make You Tired?
Different people smoke weed for different reasons. Some do it for fun, others do it to relieve pain, and there are those who participate for the sake of better sleep. But is marijuana an effective sleep aid? What kind of sleep quality can cannabis introduce? Do different strains produce different effects? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more. We're doing a deep dive into marijuana, and its effects on sleep.
Is It Weird to Use Weed as a Sleep Aid?
Before we dive here, let's take a look at what smoking weed actually entails. Weed, or more formally, marijuana, is a plant with psychoactive properties. When the harvested flowers are dried and smoked or ingested some other way (in gummies or other edible forms), it has the capacity to get you "high." However, it also has a variety of pro-health properties which is why so many people are rallying to have it legalized.
One of the benefits of marijuana use revolves around its effect on sleep. Cannabis contains over 400 chemical components, more than 70 of which are aptly called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids interact with the cell-signaling nerves in your body and have different effects depending on the concentration of compounds in the products. Some have sedative effects, others have anti-inflammatory effects. while others still are anticonvulsant. Certain cannabinoids are also said to help with anxiety and chronic pain.
THC is responsible for marijuana's psychoactive effects, meaning that this compound, in particular, is the one that gets you "high" when you smoke or ingest weed. But THC is also one of the compounds that contain sedative effects that allow you to fall asleep faster after a smoking session.
So, is it weird to use weed as a sleep aid? Not really. It's actually a pretty common occurrence. One study found that 70% of young smokers use marijuana to help them fall asleep.
How Can THC Help You Fall Asleep
Sure, the effects of cannabis can differ from person to person. But certain strains like Indica are known for helping improve sleep quality. Keep reading to learn more about how marijuana can help us achieve deep, natural sleep.
1 It interacts with your body's endocannabinoid system.
The human body has a complex cell-signaling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system plays a role in regulating functions such as sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and reproduction. Research is still limited, but we know for sure that they produce molecules called endogenous cannabinoids that help keep internal functions in gear.
These endogenous cannabinoids are similar to the cannabinoids cannabis contains; so similar, in fact, that the body recognizes them and allows them to interact with the ECS. This way, cannabis is able to impact your body, your mind, and influence your sleep cycle.
2 It reduces REM sleep.
Another way THC affects sleep is in helping to reduce the amount of REM sleep you get. REM sleep or rapid eye movement is the stage of sleep where your eye moves rapidly in various directions. This is also the stage where you experience dreams. Reduced REM sleep could mean fewer nightmares and fewer sleep interruptions.
3 It reduces sleep latency.
It's common for people with insomnia to take hours upon hours tossing and turning in bed without getting a minute of sleep. THC can help you with this because studies suggest that THC reduces sleep latency or the amount of time it takes you to get from fully awake to asleep.
Are Terpenes as Important as Cannabinoids?
When you smoke cannabis, it's really hard to determine what kind of effects you will get unless you get it from a dispensary that tells you specifically how much the concentrations of each compound there are. Aside from cannabinoids, cannabis contains over 400 terpenes or aromatic compounds that have varying effects on the human brain.
Terpenes play an important role in the aroma and flavor of a cannabis strain, the different combination of terpenes for each cannabis strain explains why they each have different scents and effects. Terpenes potentially work in synergy with cannabinoids and other cannabis plant compounds to produce psychoactive effects.
While terpenes won't get you high in a traditional sense, some are still considered psychoactive because they affect your brain. There's also a theory that terpenes help enhance the effects of cannabinoids in a so-called entourage effect. Individually, there are many terpenes that have advantageous effects as well, so in terms of importance, they're not that far behind cannabinoids.
How to Avoid Getting Sleepy After Smoking Weed
Smoking weed can definitely make you sleepy, especially if you pick ones with a high concentration of THC. However, there are many kinds of weed that can provide the benefits you need without the downside.
You just have to learn which one to get, and what to do once you get them. Check out these tips on how to avoid getting sleepy after smoking weed.
Pick the Right Strain
Not all cannabis is created equal. Remember, marijuana is an umbrella term, and there are many different kinds of cannabis available. As it turns out, they're not all great for keeping you awake, and alert.
Cannabis comes in many varieties and subspecies. The three main subspecies are Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis, although some would argue only the first two are the real main ones. There's an entire debate going on around this, but the bottom line is they all derive from the Cannabaceae family of plants.
Cannabis strains have similar characteristics to each other but may contain differing amounts of cannabinoids or terpenes based on how they're cultivated.
Indica strains are typically the ones you want to stick to when it comes to sleep. Sativa strains, meanwhile, are more associated with the so-called “mind high” which produces an energizing, anxiety-reducing effect. Using Sativa-dominant strains may help you feel productive and creative, as opposed to relaxed and lethargic. That said, there are hundreds of these available, so you really want to research the cannabinoid and terpene content of each one.
Keeping yourself physically active is one of the best ways to keep your energy level up. Exercising boosts oxygen circulation in your body which not only supports your cells' energy production but also allows your body to function better and to use its energy more efficiently. Exercise also gives you a huge hormone boost in the form of endorphins.
Only Smoke a Small Amount
Sometimes, less is more. When it comes to marijuana, high doses usually lead to drowsiness, so if you want to stay awake and alert after smoking or eating a few brownies or gummies, the best way is to stick to small doses or batches.
According to research, the THC concentrations in marijuana increased from3.4% in 1993 to 8.8% in 2008 meaning many available strains right now have high THC content. This means you really only need a small amount to produce the kind of effects you're after.
Switch to CBD Instead
If you're constantly feeling fatigued or getting too sleepy after using cannabis, it could be because you're using strains with high THC content. To prevent this from happening, think about switching to using CBD instead.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a particularly well-known cannabinoid which is more prevalent in hemp than marijuana. Plenty of products have hemp-derived CBD in their formulation. CBD is a non-mind-altering cannabinoid that promotes relaxation and, unlike THC, can be legally sold across the United States when extracted from hemp, a variety of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC.
CBD is also an essential component of medical marijuana; a specific form of CBD (Epidiolex) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use against seizures.
Like THC, CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) except CBD acts as an antagonist, meaning it blocks the receptors in the brain and causes feelings of relaxation among other things. CBD has been shown to reduce REM sleep.
Studies show that CBD has a calming effect and reduces anxiety without affecting sleep-wake cycles. Reportedly, it can also reduce daytime sleepiness and promote alertness. It also has no reported side effects, so it's theoretically safer to take than THC.
Weed is becoming increasingly popular among medical professors, largely due to the number of chemicals it contains able to impact the human body. While research remains limited, one of the most investigated uses pertains to the ways in which marijuana can help remedy insomnia and other sleep conditions.
That said, it can be hard to settle on the right strain and dosage. While smoking does present its advantages, it's often easier to use edibles or tablets to control what effect you want to achieve.
Sandland Sleep uses only the highest quality hemp-derived products to power their sleep supplements and enhances their sleep-inducing effects with a dash of melatonin to create a blend of chemicals meant to gently nudge your brain to sleep. That way you get to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, without any of the nasty intoxicating effects.
Each batch of sleep supplements produced has been formulated with the help of sleep professionals, so you know you're only getting the sleep you deserve without headaches or hangovers. Wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
It is possible for marijuana to make you sleepy or tired, especially for strains with high concentrations of THC. There have been studies that high doses of THC at night can lead to unwanted side effects the following day including impaired memory and sleepiness. Marijuana can also produce sleep-related side effects like strange dreams, difficulty falling asleep, and sleep loss.
Marijuana is a controlled substance so there hasn't been much research regarding its safety and efficacy compared to, say, melatonin or chamomile, or lavender. There have only been a few synthetic drugs that mimic THC and one naturally-derived CBD product that has been approved by the FDA but none of these has been prescribed for sleep. The fact that people react very differently to marijuana and other sleep aids on a case to case basis also makes it hard to determine the best one by far, but if you're in the market for one do be sure to listen to what your body and your doctor tells you before you commit to one long-term.
Smoking of any kind is a health risk, and marijuana is no exception. Even if you use edibles, tinctures, or some other form of use, there are still risks in using marijuana more particularly if you're getting low-quality strains or strains not particularly good for sleep. Heavy marijuana use for an extended period is also more likely to produce unwanted side effects such as less sleep overall, less time spent in deep sleep, longer sleep latency, and frequent sleep interruptions.