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Understanding The Benefits and Risks of Marijuana For Sleep

cannabis for sleep

Cannabis is an effective treatment for insomnia and chronic stress. The dried herb can help you get the right amount of sleep you need to stay healthy throughout the day.

How does cannabis aid you in sleeping? Can you expect every marijuana strain to treat your insomnia? We will answer that question by taking a close look at the cannabinoid responsible for relaxing your nerves and muscles.

Cannabinoids Responsible for Sleep

It is important to note that marijuana does not just contain one chemical component that affects your body. A weed strain contains more than 100 cannabinoids. Scientists and researchers have yet to completely discover all of the cannabinoids. However, three out of the many components of weed are responsible for inducing sleep.


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is arguably the most popular cannabinoid that many non-marijuana users recognize. THC is the psychoactive component of weed that makes you high and incredibly happy. The chemical binds with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain, which triggers certain reactions in your body such as the production of dopamine.

In terms of sleeping, THC has a sedative trait that makes you drowsy. The effect is both mental and physical wherein most of the tension on your muscles loosen up after taking several puffs of weed. Your mind also drifts into a dreaming state and far from consciousness.

Another way that THCassist you in your sleep is its ability to bring down the hours of REM sleep and increase your slow-wave sleep hours. REM sleep is where you experience dreams. While the notion of a dreamless night may seem alarming or uninteresting, it helps lessen any kind of disturbance to your sleep.

However, you still get some hours of dreams throughout the night while under the influence of THC. In addition, being under slow-wave sleep can help your body to heal itself.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is another popular component of marijuana that focuses on pain relief. This cannabinoid interacts with the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V (TRPV1) within your body. In doing so, the receptor mediates your body’s reaction to pain. It is also responsible for controlling inflammation and your body temperature.

Unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive cannabinoid that alters your brain. It even prevents THC from interacting with the receptors within your brain to lessen the high that you experience from a specific strain. While CBD does not have the same sedative trait as THC, it still helps promote sleep by making you comfortable and free from pain as well as most forms of discomfort.

Another form of discomfort is anxiety. Many people suffering from insomnia may find it hard to settle their nerves down due to different concerns. CBD fixes your anxiety problems by activating your serotonin receptor. This creates an anti-anxiety effect that calms your nerves.


Cannabinol (CBN) is essentially the result of aging the buds to naturally turn the THC to this cannabinoid. CBN is another psychoactive component of weed that interacts with the receptors in your brain. The effect of this cannabinoid is nearly the same as THC since CBN interacts with parts of your brain that regulate certain body functions. This includes pain perception, mood, and motivational drive.

Unlike THC, CBN primarily acts as a sedative. The cannabinoid soothes you both mentally and physically. CBN will barely alter your mind in the same way as THC. As a matter of fact, CBN has nearly the same relaxant trait as other sleep medications.

Types of marijuana

When buying weed from a seed bank, you will find three different kinds of marijuana. These are indica, sativa, and hybrids. Every form of cannabis fit into this three main category. While many are beneficial to your body, not all kinds of marijuana will help you sleep.


Indica strains are your go-to marijuana when you need a strong sedative for the night. Indicas are the kind of marijuana that puts you in a couch-lock high where your muscles are in a relaxed goo-like state. The high affects your body more than your mind like sativa strains. This is why indica strains are great in the evening or late in the afternoon.

It is important to note that not all indica strains have the same sedative potency. Certain indicas target mostly your body to make you feel relaxed, but not to the point of drowsiness. While this type of indicas may aid you with your sleep, others can melt your consciousness into a drowsy state of mind.


Sativa strains are the opposite of indica in terms of effect. Smoking or consuming this type of marijuana will make you feel alert and full of energy apart from being happy. You also get a boost in your creativity levels and be free from distractions when taking this strain. These traits make sativa good morning marijuana instead of indicas.


As the name suggests, hybrids are a mix of both indica and sativa strains. Many hybrids usually fall into the indica or sativa dominant to indicate that weed has more characteristics of a specific strain. Others may also be indica or sativa leaning as well. Certain hybrids have a balanced mix of both indica and sativa traits than other kinds of marijuana.

As you can expect from a mix of both types of marijuana, certain hybrids are great for sleeping while others are better for keeping you alert. A good hybrid gives you the best of both worlds. Smoking this type of marijuana will give you an energy boost and improve your mood for a certain period after the first few puffs.

After several hours, the indica trait of the weed kicks in as the high dissipates. This effect can leave you locked onto the couch or chair you are sitting on for a long time.

Picking The Right Marijuana for Sleeping

As we mentioned earlier, not all indicas are efficient at helping you fall asleep. Many marijuana users tend to pick indicas because of how cannabis info sites frame these weed. In the real world, you will not find black or white, or even gray areas of weed that easily falls into three different categories as well as sub-categories.

All marijuana strains contain more than just THC, CBD, or CBN cannabinoids. Weed actually have more than 100 cannabinoids with different or similar properties from one another. Researchers state that there are hundreds more that we have yet to discover. This is why an indica weed that has the same THC or CBD content may have different effects on your body.

Marcel Bonn-Miller, a psychologist from the University of Pennsylvania said: “People are more likely to buy indicas to help them sleep. but that doesn’t necessarily mean indicas are better than sativas for sleep; there is no indication there is any difference in effect between the two strains. Bonn-Miller believes people are just buying indicas because other people tell them”

Another factor that determines how efficient any marijuana strain can be in treating your insomnia is the factor that keeps you up at night. Sleep deprivation has many causes that are physical and mental. Some might be going through a harsh event in their life and could not keep their mind from going into dark places. Others could have uncontrollable muscle cramps that regularly happen during the middle of the night.

Let us say that the person going through some issues in their life happens to smoke or take some ACDC strain. This marijuana is incredibly high on CBD and low on THC. As you can expect, this person will have a pain free night while their muscles are incredibly relaxed.

However, their mind will refuse to shut down for the night and will be on full alert because of a trauma they experienced. To make matters worse, studies show that CBD has a stimulating effect that keeps you from getting drowsy.

It is a good idea to know the source of your insomnia. If pain or muscle problems are what keeps you awake at night, ACDC strain is one of the recommended weed for your condition. If your insomnia is a symptom of a psychological issue, indica strains such as Northern Lights can help you out. Northern Lights has a significant amount of THC that can treat depression and anxiety.

Another way of knowing which strains can slowly put you to sleep after taking several puffs is to try different strains. Do not just limit yourself to only indica and hybrids. Consider taking sativa strains as well to see how it relax your body and/or mind. This does not mean that you have to try a whole catalog’s worth of strain just to find the one that will help you sleep. Pick the ones that budtenders and other marijuana users recommend for treating insomnia.

The Risks Of Using Marijuana For Sleep

Using the right marijuana in the correct method will help you get a good night sleep. However, some people make the mistake of using cannabis as a sleep aid. This leads to having their insomnia worsen or experience the side effects of THC overdose.

The first mistake that some people make is not considering the THC potency of a strain before consuming it. Everyone has a certain tolerance against the psychoactive cannabinoid. When a person eats more THC than their tolerance threshold, they start to experience the side effects of weed overdose. Side effects include heightened paranoia and panic attacks. You will feel like your body is turning into a wreck while your mind conjures nerve-wracking scenarios.

Always keep in mind of your THC tolerance when experimenting with different strains for their sedative properties. If you are just starting out, try weed that has a balanced mix of both THC and CBD. The anti-psychoactive trait of CBD mellows out the effects of THC. This strain can still provide the euphoric high that can improve your mental state. You can consider potent indica strains when you build up your THC tolerance.

Mistakes in using cannabis as a sleeping aid also come from using edibles. Marijuana laced food provide a lung friendly alternative to smoking any form of cannabis. If you are considering this alternative, you need to be aware of the standard dosage. Edibles from major cannabis makers have a certain amount of THC per serving portions.

One of the reasons why people take more edibles than the intended serving size is the time it takes for the THC within the food to kick in. Your body needs to digest and metabolize the edibles to transfer the cannabinoids throughout your system. This can take somewhere between half an hour or two hours. Some may feel that the first piece of marijuana-laced food is not enough to make them sleepy. This is why they make takes another piece before waiting for at least two hours.

The second reason for overdosing on THC through edibles is misreading the labels on the packaging. The label will tell you the total amount of THC within one package and the dosage amount of one serving. People mistake the dosage amount of one serving as the total amount of psychoactive cannabinoid in the box or bag. Always read the label of any edible packaging carefully to avoid this mistake.

Buying home-made edibles that do not contain any informative label is another mistake that can lead to THC overdose instead of insomnia treatment. Home-made space brownies or other kinds of edibles may contain random amounts of THC. You have no means of knowing what kind of strain the seller uses when making their edibles. Properly packaged cannabis-infused food will likely go through lab testing to confirm that each serving size has the appropriate THC dosage.


You should have a good grasp on the use of cannabis as a sleeping aid. The different cannabinoids in marijuana interact with your system to relax your body while calming your mind. It is important to understand the reason why you are not able to sleep. This will help you know the right marijuana strain to effectively treat your insomnia.