I’ve heard cannabis can help me sleep more soundly, but I am a bit intimidated as I haven't dabbled with herbal relief before. What are some useful tips for blending cannabis into my nighttime routine?
Herbal nightcaps have definitely been known to help people with even the most stubborn insomnia. In fact, according to Van der Pop’s survey stats, 52% of female users say cannabis helps them get a better night sleep. However, much like you, lots of these consumers may not know that, since the mid 2000s, there has been lots of research that demonstrates how the type of cannabinoids (THC, CBD), ratio of cannabinoids, dosage, timing of consumption, and method of consumption all play a critical role in how cannabis will affect your sleep-wake cycle. Understanding this information will only enhance your self-care routine by helping you get your much-needed z’s!
My first bit of advice – like any new experimentation with cannabis – start low and go slow. This means to consider starting off by consuming small amounts throughout longer periods of time. There is no average dose of cannabis, it affects everyone’s body and minds differently, so it is up to you to find what works best for you and your sleeping patterns.
So, keeping the above in mind, here are some tips and info for getting the ball rolling.
Cannabinoids that have the greatest effects on your sleep:
By now you probably know the effects you experience after consuming cannabis are greatly dependent on what cannabinoids you consume. The two most well-known cannabinoids THC – best known for its psychoactive effects – and CBD – best known for its non-intoxicating effects – have both been proven to assist with sleep patterns.
There are some facts you may want to keep in mind. Results from a study that examined the effects of THC on nocturnal sleep showed that THC increases the sleepiness of consumers at night, allowing them to have deeper, more restful (and dreamless) sleeps. However, the results also showed that consumers felt sleepier the day after consuming. The same study found that participants who consumed strains with a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD experienced the most restful nights of sleep while also feeling an increase in their wakefulness the following day.
However, if you do not want the psychoactive effects of THC, CBD alone has also been known to induce fatigue. In a study performed by the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, it was found that the administration of CBD has different effects on sleep based on dose. Low-dose CBD was found to have more stimulating effects, but the higher dosage was linked to sedating effects and helped individuals with insomnia increase their total sleep time.
Strains to stick to:
If you are looking for sedating effects, indica dominant varietals are most effective when it comes to sleep aids. Compared to sativa varietals which are known to have uplifting, cerebral and even sometimes energizing effects, indicas can be deeply tranquillizing, making the consumer feel sleepy calm and serene, and allowing your mind to clear and fall into a deep slumber.
When to consume:
The way you consume is completely up to you and what works best for your nighttime ritual. However, it is important to remember that different consumption methods have varying onset times. If discretion is something you worry about, oils and edibles might be right for you as there is no smell and they can be used inconspicuously. However, the onset time for ingesting either edibles or cannabis oil takes longer – from approximately 30 – 90 minutes – so if you are looking for quicker effects, inhaling may be right for you. Although it doesn’t lend for much discretion, effects can be felt 10-20 minutes after inhalation, which also provides a more direct experience of the flower's flavours and aromatic profiles.
Overall? If you incorporate cannabis into your bedtime routine, ingest at least an hour before you plan to hit the hay, so that your body can slowly settle into a relaxed slumber.
Good luck, and sweet dreams!
Van der Pop does not endorse or condone the illegal consumption of cannabis. This article is not meant as medical advice. Prior to using cannabis for medical purposes, please consult your physician.