How Cannabis Can Treat Insomnia
About 30-35% of American adults complain of insomnia, affecting around 75 million people.
Numbers are higher for women and the elderly. While we typically think of insomnia as the crushing inability to fall asleep, insomnia can also manifest as the inability to stay asleep throughout the night or falling asleep and then waking up too early in the morning.
Causes of insomnia range from stress, mental health disorders like depression, irregular work schedules, environmental factors like light or noise outside your window, and side effects of other medical conditions or medications. Acute insomnia is defined as lasting for less than three months, while chronic insomnia lasts for three months or more.
Insomnia can lead to secondary conditions such as lowered immunity, inflammation, headaches and becoming accident prone.
Although insomnia is not recognized as a qualifying condition under US state medical cannabis laws, it is a commonly used sleep aid. Patients who report chronic pain often use cannabis to ease their pain before going to bed, and many individuals holistically use cannabis get to sleep at night.
How Does it Work?
All living things have an endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system regulates every major function of our bodies and keeps us in balanced homeostasis. This system stretches from head to toe forming a network of receptors, which are found everywhere in our bodies. The ECS influences the body’s circadian rhythm, the inner clock controlling the sleep/wake cycle. Mindfulness practices, holistic modalities and cannabis can all activate the endocannabinoid system.
THC has been shown to facilitate falling asleep and increase the Stage 4 sleep cycle, while decreasing REM sleep. Stage 4 is the slow-wave sleep cycle also known as deep sleep before REM sleep, where dreaming occurs.
CBD can be successful with those that have issues with inflammation or compromised immune system. CBD has also been shown to reduce nightmares and might be beneficial for patients suffering from PTSD-related sleep disorders.
Indica or indica dominant hybrids, high in CBD are best for sleep. Strains with the cannabinoid, CBN will be most effective.
How to Medicate:
Consume about an hour to 30 minutes before bedtime to ensure that you will feel the effects of cannabis before falling asleep. Strains that are moderate level THC (15-20%) may be better than strains that are higher in THC (20%+), which may leave you feeling groggy the next morning. Go slow and low to find your desired dose. Overconsumption can lead to undesirable effects so once you know your dose, repeat what works.
In a Tikun study, 79% of patients surveyed reported that cannabis strains Avidekel, Midnight, Erez, and Eran Almog helped with insomnia.
Energizing, Harmonizing, Stabilizing
High-CBD, Low THC Indica
Shown to relieve seizures, migraines, anxiety, inflammation, pain, autoimmune and gastrointestinal symptoms. Boosts bone density and immunity.
Equalizing, Calming, Creative
1:1 CBD to THC ratio
Shown to relieve anxiety, depression, minor pains, inflammation and neurological ailments.
Serene, Calming, Sedating
High THC, Low CBD Indica
Shown to relieve pain, muscle spasms, nausea, sleep disorders, PTSD, neurological conditions and spasticity. Improves appetite.
Soothing, Comforting, Restful
High THC, Low CBD Indica
Shown to relieve chronic or acute pain, muscle spasms, sleep disorders, nausea. Stimulates appetite.