Marijuana: an effective sleep aid
Some marijuana users turn to cannabis for relaxation and help getting to sleep, and marijuana is often used to relieve stress and symptoms of depression. Although the study of marijuana and sleep is limited, science tends to support the idea that marijuana can be used to improve sleep.
What We Know About Marijuana and Sleep:
There are significant obstacles to the study of marijuana and sleep, including federal laws, poor supply and sample quality, and variations in dosage and effects. However, there have been studies that, overall, indicate marijuana can be an effective sleep aid for some users and a part of healthy sleep habits.
Marijuana has been found to induce sleep. Marijuana can have a relaxing effect, and a number of studies have found that marijuana use offers positive effects for sleep. However, some studies note that marijuana can reduce sleep quality. Strains high in CBD tend to be a better choice than those high in THC, as THC can be too rousing for some, and may cause difficulty for those who are prone to anxiety.
Marijuana can help anxiety, stress, and depression. There’s no denying that anxiety, stress, and depression can keep you up at night, making it difficult to rest and drift off to sleep. THC has been found to be calming at low doses, potentially relieving anxiety. However, at higher doses, it can induce anxiety. A study confirms that compounds from cannabis may be beneficial in stabilizing moods and easing symptoms of depression. It can also curb startle responses, insomnia, and nightmares stemming from PTSD as well or better than Zoloft.
How Marijuana Can Be Used to Improve Sleep:
Be careful not to use marijuana as a crutch for poor sleep habits. If you’re not taking care of your sleep health, marijuana is not likely to be a miraculous cure that rights all of your wrongs. Rather, marijuana can help support healthy sleep habits. Practice good sleep hygiene, which includes creating a comfortable sleep environment, following a regular bedtime routine, and avoiding sleep killers including late night caffeine and screen time.
Consider marijuana to relieve pain, anxiety, stress, and depression that may interfere with sleep. Marijuana’s effectiveness as a sleep aid is in part due to its ability to relieve the symptoms of conditions that make it difficult to sleep. Marijuana may help you get past what’s keeping you awake at night.
Don’t overdo it. Although THC can have a calming effect, it can induce anxiety at high doses, especially in beginners.
Use marijuana before bed, but not right before bed. Use marijuana as a sleep aid a few hours before bedtime, not right before you want to go to sleep. This helps balance the effect of the drug, as CBD can effectively induce sleepiness, but early on, it may induce wakefulness and decrease slow wave and REM sleep phases.
Sara Westgreen is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She sleeps on a king size bed in Texas, where she defends her territory against cats all night. A mother of three, she enjoys beer, board games, and getting as much sleep as she can get her hands on.