Cannabis and Sleep : Making the Most of Your Herbal Nightcap
17 Sep 2019
How do cannabis and sleep relate to each other? Well, there are some things we know. For instance, people have been smoking weed for centuries, and they have been doing it for several reasons. Pain management, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, skin care, nausea relief, sleep deprivation – you name it. The very fact that cannabis pollen was found on the mummy of Ramses II must have something to do with health benefits of using weed. That famous pharaoh made it to 96 years of age while average Egyptians usually died in their thirties or forties.
But if someone is suffering from of sleep deprivation, cannabis can improve the quality of sleep. If you enjoy a toke or two before bed, you may find it much easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
But how exactly does cannabis affect your sleep? And more importantly, how to get the most out of your herbal nightcap?
Cannabis and Sleep: How Does Weed Improve Your Sleep?
Cannabis can improve your sleep on several levels, all of which are associated with the interaction between phytocannabinoids and the human endocannabinoid system. It’s mostly THC and CBD that show great promise in improving the quality of sleep. These substances are also what help treat different disorders related to sleep deprivation.
Here’s how your body and brain benefit from the nighttime use of weed:
- You may fall asleep faster, as THC reduces the time it takes to fall asleep by an hour on average. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that the less is more when it comes to THC. Too much of the cannabinoid may counteract the effect.
- The use of THC or CBD before bed ensures a longer period of undisturbed sleep.
- THC helps you experience deeper sleep. This stage is particularly important for our health because it plays a major role in the revitalization of the body.
- Cannabis affects the REM sleep stage, the one responsible for dreaming. If you smoke before bed on a regular basis, chances are you’re not dreaming at all, which, of course could prevent nightmares, too. However, when you take a break from weed, the first few nights will be accompanied by intensely vivid dreaming.
- Weed improves breathing, which is invaluable for people suffering from apnea or asthma.
You’re probably wondering what to smoke before bed: indica or sativa? The answer is simple.
Indicas Are Best for Smoking Before Sleep
It’s Indica, hands down. I wouldn’t recommend smoking a sativa strain before bed because they tend to produce an energetic and uplifting high. Moreover, THC-rich strains may trigger anxiety, which is not helpful in getting a good night’s rest. Try a strain like Shishkaberry.
Indica strains, on the other hand, are perfect for a herbal nightcap. Although THC and CBD don’t change based on the strain, they contribute to the effects of weed with different amounts and CBD/THC ratios.
But what gives Indicas their sedating effects is their terpene profile. Terpenes are the plant compounds that create the aromatic scent and taste in your buds. And just like herbs and infused candles are a classic way to get sleepy, the scent of a pungent Indica may help you unwind after a long, stressful day.
Old Is Gold
Source: Scientific American
If you have a habit of stashing your weed for darker hours (not literally darker), you can make use of it in the evening. As it turns out, older, aged weed will enhance your sleep way more efficiently than fresh nugs.
That’s because THC breaks down over time and it loses the ability to make you high. But on the other hand, when THC breaks down, it converts into a chemical known as cannabinol. Even the smallest amounts of CBN make your weed more sedative than THC does.
Best Weed Strains to Smoke Before Sleep
Now, it’s high time I introduced you to some legendary strains that people love to toke before bed.
Blueberry is an award-winning strain that won the High Times’ Cannabis Cup 2000 for Best Indica. Originated in the late 1970, this cannabis variety is a mix of exotic landrace strains. Medical marijuana patients appreciate Blueberry for its pain and stress-relieving properties, while growers and recreational users are crazy over its gorgeous hues and high THC content. Try Blue Venom as a substitute.
2. Bubba OG
Bubba OG is a cross between Pre -98 Bubba Kush with Ghost OG and breeders describe it as a near pure indica strain. Although not as potent as some of the other Kush strains in the industry, this cannabis variety is a perfect choice for those who have problems with sleep. The high provided by Bubba OG is a relaxing and soothing one, which often finds its end in the so-called couch-lock if you overindulge.
3. Hash Plant
Afghani hash has gained its name from its geographic origin. It’s a well-known fact for all cannabis connoisseurs that the earliest varieties of cannabis originated in Afghanistan. Afghani produces a deep, sedating high with a generous touch of euphoria, which is why patients turn to this strong indica to deal with chronic pain, stress, and insomnia.
4. Northern Lights
This is my favorite indica strain to smoke at the end of the day. Not only does it have beautifully resinous buds, but it also relieves stress and anxiety like nothing else does. As soon as you inhale this indica-dominant hybrid and feel its sweet, spicy aromas, all troubles will get washed away within seconds. I strongly encourage you to try it by the seaside; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
5. Zombie OG
People love Zombie OG for plenty of reasons, specifically for its heavy euphoria and seducing, earthy pine and flowery scent with woody undertones. The strain is cherished by recreational users for its sedative and couch-locking effects. Patients also commonly report improvements in stress management, ADD/ADHD, migraines, and anxiety.
How To Boost Your Weed Nightcap?
Source: Organic Facts
If you’re looking for a way to get the most of your nighttime toking, it’s best to mix your weed with other herbs that promote better sleep. And by mixing I don’t mean adding those herbs to your blunt. You may very well drink some chamomile tea to go with your joint so that you stay highdrated (I’m kind of proud of my pun!) while also enjoying the soothing effects from the gentle chamomile plant.
Here’s a smart tip: if you don’t know what herbs to pair your cannabis with, check their terpene profiles on the Internet. If both your strain and a friendly herb share common terpenes, chances are they will produce synergy and bolster your sleep.
Cannabis and Sleep: Flowers vs. Concentrates
I would say flowers. Concentrates are the most potent form of cannabis, and thus, it may be difficult to measure out the right dose, especially if you’re not accustomed to them. Flowers, on the other hand, are easier to microdose cannabis. Even if you hit some strong stuff, they will not get you as high as weed extracts. Always remember that in terms of THC and sleep, less is usually more.
Does weed improve your sleep? What are your top strains for smoking before bed?