Insomnia is a health epidemic in our society. This causes short term problems with memory, stress, anxiety and anger management, and long term serious physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease.
Physical pain and irritation like restless leg syndrome, soreness from exercise or physical injury can make getting to and staying asleep difficult. Cannabis handles these issues by dulling the physical discomfort and distracting your brain with calming positive thoughts.
Culture of Pills
Prescription and over-the-counter medications have a poor record as a long term solution for treating insomnia. They cause hallucinations, sleepwalking, sleep eating, loss of REM sleep, psychotic behavior, overdose and death. Cannabis however, does not affect areas of the brain that control breathing and heart function so the potential for a deadly overdose is eliminated. Weaning yourself off of conventional sleep medications can make it hard to sleep even with the help of cannabis. Be prepared to have initial difficulty sleeping, but after a few days the cannabis will take full effect. As with all uses of cannabis experimentation is necessary to determine the dosage for you.
Methods and Dosage
Dosage and methods of cannabis consumption have some general guidelines when it comes to sleep. Smoking, vaping and sublingual methods of consumption tend to sedate you in the short term and should be taken one to two hours before bedtime. Edibles and tinctures can help you stay asleep if you tend to wake up during the night. Low doses of cannabis are recommended because too much cannabis can activate the mind, adding to the difficulty of getting to sleep. Experimentation is necessary because everyone reacts differently to cannabis.
Cannabis compounds like THC and CBD are important to notice when finding a sleep aid. For most people a small amount of CBD can cause increased alertness while large doses of CBD tend to provide the sedating effect desirable for sleep. If you are taking CBD for other medical reasons, note the dosage and time of day because you could be keeping yourself awake.
Other compounds like terpenes, which give the plant its smell, can also prove helpful. The terpenes Linalool and Myrcene are typically the best for improving sleep. Ask your dispensary if they test for terpene profiles so you can make a more informed decision about which strains provide the best sleep medicine.
Dreaming and REM sleep are important to getting the full benefits to sleep. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people who use cannabis for sleep tend to have fewer dreams while people who take a break from cannabis report vibrant dreams. The effects on REM sleep are not known due to the lack of cannabis research.
The tide is turning. A majority of Americans think cannabis should be legal and our laws, state by state, are starting to accomplish this. But millions are still denied access, or languish in prisons, due to antiquated laws that hurt rather than help us.
Do your part to help these fellow citizens and show the world how cannabis should be managed, with education, understanding and compassion:
- Support reform legislation efforts by the Senate
- Ask your Congressional Representative to join the Cannabis Caucus
- Support Veterans’ access to Medical Marijuana