Marijuana for Insomnia
Cannabis has been used to battle insomnia since ancient times. Surviving texts from ancient India claimed knowledge of cannabis’ psychoactive properties and their ability to treat a variety of illnesses including insomnia. Modern research may point to cannabis as an alternative to many of the more addictive sleeping aids on the market.
A small study published in 1973 found that THC reduced the time it took for subjects to fall asleep by over an hour on average. Another more recent study published in 2013 also found THC effective as a sleep aid. Thus far, research on marijuana in the United States has been reserved for severe and chronic conditions with little focus on marijuana’s ability to combat insomnia.
Allowing Cannabis to Age May Enhance Sleepy Symptoms
This is because over time the THC in poorly stored cannabis can convert to THCa or Cannabinol (CBN). CBN is considered a degradation of THC. CBN is also the cannabinoid most responsible for the sedative effects of cannabis. Cannabinoids which are found in marijuana copy the role of the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids work with cannabinoid receptors to help restore the body to homeostasis. So insomnia may indicate a lack of endocannabinoids to attach to the cannabinoid receptors that make us tired. Ingesting CBD would then take the place of the missing endocannabinoids and restore the body’s ability to feel sleepy.
According to one study, the endocannabinoid system is nothing less than a naturally evolved harm reduction system. Sleep deprivation has been linked with higher risk of chronic health problems including heart disease and stroke. So the sleepiness you feel when getting high may be your endocannabinoid system coming to save the day.
What Strains are Best for Insomnia?
The two main cannabis families are indica and sativa. The short explanation people usually give for the two is that sativa provides the “head high” and indica provides the “body high.” Sativa strains are high in THC and lower in CBN/CBD. Indica strains are usually lower in THC and higher in CBD/CBN, which is why doctors recommend indica for night time use.
Marijuana strains high in CBN are typically prescribed to medical marijuana patients suffering from insomnia. Indica strains are known to provide sedation, pain relief, and relaxation which all halt all the tossing and turning insomniacs experience.
With a strong enough indica some users report having a very hard time staying awake even during the day so don’t hit the indica too hard if you plan to be on your feet for the rest of the day.
To start treating your insomnia with marijuana, it’ll help to be in a state that allows medical or recreational marijuana so you can get professional help finding the right strain to help you hit the sack. Ask your local budtender for strains that have tested high in CBN and if you don’t have the luxury of test results try to stick with indica or indica dominant hybrid strains when attempting to treat your insomnia.