Cannabis and sleep have a long-shared history, and many consumers know that sleepiness is not an uncommon experience when partaking. By personal accounts, indica strains for me are the first choice when it comes to relaxation and sleep.
So, what is it about cannabis — or even a particular strain — that can make someone feel sleepy? Medical research offers mixed results, but it may be helpful to explore two active ingredients in cannabis: cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabis holds a range of compounds with medicinal effects. More than 100 cannabinoids have been discovered within the plant, but two stand out from the rest - THC and CBD. While THC is responsible for producing an intoxicating effect, its non-psychoactive counterpart (CBD) possesses potential medicinal properties without any psychoactivity.
Different impacts on sleeping patterns.
THC and CBD can have different impacts on sleep patterns. THC's relaxing effects may induce drowsiness while its binding properties to the brain's cannabinoid receptors could contribute towards adjusting moods and behaviors, potentially impacting how well you snooze.
THC and CBD could also hold the key to managing pain, inflammation and other health issues. Emerging research points towards THC helping reduce discomfort while CBD is thought to promote relaxation by reducing anxiety in addition to aiding better rest. Further investigation is needed into their potential therapeutic uses as well as any possible side effects.
While further understanding is needed, CBD might influence restful slumber through its interaction with our body's natural endocannabinoid system which plays an important role in regulating numerous physiological processes including circadian rhythms (our 24-hour biological clock).
Cannabis is unique for not only the cannabinoids that it contains, but also aromatic terpenes. Terpenes give cannabis its signature smell and flavor. Moreover, some of these fragrant oils are thought to contain sedative properties like linalool and myrcene which may be responsible for certain strains promoting relaxation while making sleep more attainable.
Mixing and dosing THC and CBD for sleep.
Research on the combination of CBD and THC is still in its early stages, but what has been discovered so far shows positive results. For example, a small human trial involving young adults demonstrated that this combo could shorten deep sleep duration, yet also creates feelings of drowsiness after waking up. Additionally, another clinical study showed promise towards using the same blend to treat long-term insomnia among 23 participants from Australia.
And when it comes to dosing, one systematic review of the human trials done thus far suggests that lower doses of both CBD and THC may be better for sleep outcomes, but more research is needed before coming to any conclusions. This same review found that the existing data best supports the use of cannabis for sleep in patients with pain-related conditions, as opposed to those living with mental health symptoms or sleep disorders.
Terpenes and sleep
Terpenes are the flavor and aroma compounds found in cannabis and everywhere in nature, from the floral scent of lilac to the spicy notes you pick up in basil. They have benefits of their own, and research is underway to discover more about the potential therapeutic uses for these compounds. Most of the evidence we have now comes from animal research, but increasing evidence points to several terpenes as having the potential to help us relax and get better sleep.
Are indica dominant strains better for sleep?
The indica versus sativa debate is often grounded in effects: sativas are thought to be energizing and uplifting, while indicas are considered chill and relaxing. When visiting a dispensary, "indica" and "sativa" are what most budtenders will use to help guide strain choices.
So, If you're looking for a peaceful night's rest, cannabis could be the answer. Through personal accounts and its long-standing history with meaningful sleep benefits, indica strains have been recommended as the go-to choice to induce comforting relaxation before bedtime. Try it out - sweet dreams may soon follow.
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