How Cannabis Can Help You Sleep
Of all the therapeutic benefits of cannabis sativa, help with sleep is one of the most essential. The ability of cannabis to safely assist with insomnia, sleep issues, and nightmares is of vital importance. Ambien and other pharmaceutical sleep-aids often come with harmful side effects, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms. Using cannabis to sleep is a safe, potent alternative with several protocols for every user's comfort level.
Sleep Hygiene And Cannabis
Without good habits, cannabis can only be a short-term solution to a chronic, long-term problem. When using cannabis to sleep, ensure you are mindfully combining it with best practices for sleep hygiene. For example, the American Sleep Association recommends you avoid napping, screens, and caffeine before bed. These, along with other helpful tips and methods, can deepen your sleep and improve your health overall.
Sleep Better With THC and CBD Together
The varying details of cannabis legalization in your state will impact the way you use cannabis for sleep. The most effective protocols call for marijuana, which contains all 144 cannabinoids found in cannabis sativa, including THC, as well as CBD. However, in some states, only hemp is legal. THC (delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) is psychoactive, responsible for the euphoric ‘high’ cannabis is renowned for. When ingested, the liver converts it to 11-hydroxy-THC, which is a powerful natural sedative, highly effective at inducing sleep.
While hemp does not contain THC, it does contain high concentrations of CBD. CBD will not get you high and can still help with all of our recommended cannabis-assisted sleep protocols. The effects will be subtle for some and highly effective for others.
Indica vs Sativa Cannabis Strains to Sleep
Indica strains of cannabis are recommended for sleep. Their predominant phenotypes, or characteristics, are couch lock, full-body relaxation, and sleepiness. Sativa cannabis strains, on the other hand, tend to be quite stimulating.
Sleep Protocol: Vaping Indica Cannabis Strains
Selecting a high-quality portable vape like the Arizer ArGo Vaporizer can make vaping before bed handy. You can easily sip at the vapor from the comfort of your bed or couch. Vaping takes effect within five minutes. If you are easily affected by cannabis, get ready to wind down quickly. Otherwise, more experienced users should start vaping their selected indica cannabis at least an hour or more before bedtime.
There are desktop vaporizers like the Volcanothat greatly assist in your wind-down routine by providing a standalone accessorylike the balloon. Beforehand you can fill a bag with your favorite Indica-dominant cannabis strain.
As you’re winding down you might consider using your Volcano as an oil diffuser. The Gold Edition is a beautiful limited-edition release of the Classic Volcano plated in 24-carat gold. Users who use this Storz & Bickel classic as both a vaporizer and a diffuser treat it like a piece of functional art.
Using the steel drip pad, add a few drops of lavender essential oil combined with water for a slow-burning evening blend. If you have troubles breathing, eucalyptus or peppermint essential oils can help open the airways while you sleep.
Sleep Protocol: Cannabis Tinctures
Using cannabis tinctures to sleep falls somewhere between vaping and edibles for efficacy. While some of the cannabinoids will naturally be ingested and enter the digestive tract, tinctures are designed to be absorbed sublingually. When tinctures are placed under the tongue like this or in the cheek and allowed to absorb into the tissue, cannabinoids enter the bloodstream directly. They travel to CB1 and CB2 receptors, parts of our natural endocannabinoid system, and begin restoring balance. If you’re tired, part of this balancing act is to make you feel sleepy.
RSO Oil, or Rick Simpson Oil, was originally formulated as a topical formula with a high THC content. There are, however, concentrated CBD versions of RSO, too. We recommend using it as a tincture for sleep, ingested sublingually.
How to Use Cannabis Tinctures and RSO Oil to Sleep
Tinctures can take up to 30 minutes or more to take effect. They are also most effective when used with regularity. For this reason, it can be helpful to put your tincture of choice in your bathroom cabinet and get into the habit of dosing before you brush your teeth before bed. If you take longer to wind down before bed, take it sooner. We highly recommend BLOOM FARMS Full-Spectrum CBD Tincture, which comes in three different concentrations.
Sleep Protocol: Cannabis Edibles
As THC products gain traction through legalization here in the US, they will be included in full-spectrum edibles. This is notable because the byproduct, 11-hydroxy-THC, is an extremely powerful sedative that works wonders on insomnia.
When ingesting a THC-containing edible, be mindful of the dose. Always start low and go slow when beginning with THC edibles. CBD edibles are an excellent non-psychotropic alternative that doesn’t warrant the same level of caution. For this reason, they can be a good place to start. However, without THC, there will be no 11-hydroxy-THC. If you are suffering from severe insomnia, you will want to select a THC-containing edible.
Make Cannabis Edibles
If you vape weed, you should be saving your Already Vaped Buds (AVBs). When you have about a cup, you have enough to make a strong butter or oil to make your own edibles. For a quick recipe for your AVBs, check out our article ‘What to Do With Already Vaped Buds (AVBs)’.
How to Use Cannabis Edibles to Sleep
The protocol will vary depending on whether you can legally access a THC containing edible. If this is the case, you will be making use of the effects of 11-hydroxy-THC, which can be extremely potent. Even a small amount of ingested THC will have a far stronger effect than inhaled THC.
Edibles take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to begin taking effect. In general, the effect intensifies over several hours as the cannabinoids make their way through the digestive tract. Incorporating a cannabutter or oil into your dinner can initiate the wind-down protocol. Dosing accurately in this way can take some practice. The general rule of thumb is “Start low and go slow”. Edible candies or CBD capsules can be taken in the same time frame, with less preparation involved.
- ASA (2021) “Sleep Hygiene Tips,” American Sleep Association, [online] Available from: https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-hygiene-tips/ (Accessed 14 March 2021).
- CDC (2016) “Tips for Better Sleep,” CDC: Sleep and Sleep Disorders, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health, [online] Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html (Accessed 14 March 2021).
- RxList (2020) “Ambien(Zolpidem Tartrate) side effects drug center,” RxList, [online] Available from: https://www.rxlist.com/ambien-side-effects-drug-center.htm (Accessed 14 March 2021).
- Walker, PhD, M. (2017) Why We Sleep: Science of Sleep & Dreams | Matthew Walker | Talks at Google, Talks at Google, [online] Available from: https://youtu.be/aXflBZXAucQ (Accessed 12 March 2021).