If you suffer from chronic sleep issues, you might have looked into using cannabis or CBD products to improve your sleep. You’re not alone — almost 70 million Americans deal with a sleep disorder in a given year. 

Cannabis products are increasingly used to help people fall asleep and sleep more restfully. But what should you know about using cannabis or CBD for sleep, and how do you know if it will help? We’re here to break down everything you need to know about treating chronic sleep disorders with cannabis products. 

What Sleep Problems Does Cannabis Help With?

One of the most popular uses for cannabis and CBD is in treating sleep issues. It is right up there with pain relief and treatment for anxiety and depression. Many people, even those who don’t consider themselves habitual marijuana users, use cannabis to help them sleep better. 

Cannabis and CBD are often used to treat sleep issues like insomnia, poor sleep, restless sleep, and difficulty falling or staying asleep. It’s been shown to be particularly helpful for people whose sleep issues are related to post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. 

Generally, cannabis and cannabis derivatives may help improve the effects of: 

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Poor sleep
  • Frequent waking
  • Nightmares
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Stress
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Sleep apnea

How Does Cannabis Help Improve Sleep?

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Cannabis can improve sleep because it helps us relax, let go of anxiety and racing thoughts, and destress. More particularly, cannabidiols actually affect the body’s natural sleep cycle and can effectively help it reset when it is out of rhythm. 

THC is also responsible for inducing feelings of sleepiness and even reducing REM sleep. That means reducing dreams, which can be helpful for people with stress-induced nightmares or restless sleep. 

That being said, REM sleep is important, so it’s vital not to use high-THC strains to help with sleep on a regular basis. Long-term use could lead to other health problems and worsening of your sleep issues.

What Should You Know About Using Cannabis For Sleep Disorders? 

Remember that not every strain of marijuana has a calming effect. In fact, some are known for increasing energy. It’s important to use a good strain that will help you relax. This usually means high THC strains, which have been shown to induce sleep. 

Usually, you will want to use an indica strain rather than a sativa. Indicas help increase cortisol levels and feelings of relaxation, which sativas increase energy and make people feel excited.

Which is Better: Cannabis or CBD?

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Both cannabis and CBD have been shown to help with sleep disorders. But like we mentioned above, using cannabis for sleep usually is better as a short-term solution. THC suppresses REM sleep, which can be great if you’re having nightmares or just need to crash finally, but it’s not a long-term fix.

 

CBD, on the other hand, shows promise for correcting chronic sleep issues and helping people sleep more regularly. Since CBD is an isolated plant compound and does not contain THC, it does not have a psychoactive effect — in other words, it won’t give you any kind of high. 

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Instead, CBD has a sedative effect by fighting the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is often elevated at night in people with insomnia, which leads to difficulty falling asleep. CBD helps fight this so that you can relax and go to sleep — all without having any kind of psychoactive alteration.

Is CBD or Cannabis For Sleep Safe For Me?

As with pretty much any medicine, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting to take CBD for insomnia. They can give you some insight into whether it might help your particular issues, as well as some advice for dosing. 

You should also ask them if cannabis or CBD are safe in combination with your other medications, such as Can you smoke weed on antibiotics? (There’s some evidence that using weed and antibiotics, especially amoxicillin and weed, could be unsafe or make the medication less effective). 

It’s important to talk to your doctor so that they can make sure that you’re treating your sleep issues safely.

Figuring Out Your Sleep Issues With Cannabis

If you decide to treat your sleep issues with cannabis, it might take some time to figure out what is right for you. But with time, you’re likely to find a solution tailored for your needs.