Is Cannabis the Cure for Insomnia?

Dec 12, 2019 | Cannabis Therapy

Cannabis has long been known for making its users sleepy or relaxed, in nature. But, as science uncovers more about therapeutic cannabis compounds and their lulling effects, the standing stereotype is being put to good use. Now, cannabis therapy is helping those who suffer from sleeping issues, or disorders like insomnia. Or, even by users who struggle with just winding down after a hurried day. 

With increasing research, we’re learning how cannabis naturally affects bedtime routines. For instance, did you know…a number of cultivars can actually energize you? While others assist shutting down the mind to rest peacefully? An important distinction to be aware of, when lighting up before laying down.

Today, let’s explore how therapeutic cannabis affects sleep, overall. How it helps common sleeping issues, and most importantly, the science behind cannabis’ natural sleep-inducing nature. 

Cannabis For Sleep

A recent survey reports over 75% of respondents use cannabis for sleep. And, for good reason. Not only is cannabis a more natural mindful method than prescription sleeping pills…it’s highly effective with fewer side-effects, too. 

We’re all aware of the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. With sleeping pills being no different. They can become highly more addictive than cannabis, causing fatal overdoses and often leaving users feeling groggy the next day. So, conscious cannabis choices are quickly serving as an alternative.  

As research grows, we’re learning that cannabis has quite the opposite effects. With 50 to 70 million U.S. adults reporting symptoms of sleep disorders, according to the National Sleep Foundation, it’s a problem that needs addressing. And cannabis therapy is growing as a natural or organic solution, in comparison to prescriptions often recommended for sleeping issues. 

So, how does using mindful cannabis soothe users and affect how they sleep? First, we need to understand more about what’s inside that matters the most to bedtime routines. 

THC, CBD, and CBN…oh, my!

The cannabis plant produces nearly 100 cannabinoids with varying effects. Including, those sedating or relaxing effects you may be used to. Two cannabinoids that help in treating sleep issues, are the most familiar – CBD and THC. And both are unique in their own sleep affecting ways.

THC, overall, is a natural sleep inducer, with sedative qualities. In fact, it reduces what sleep scientists call sleep onset latency. Or, the time it takes to go from wakefulness to sleep, fully. In a recent study, cannabis therapy shows to reduce tossing and turning to under thirty minutes for the majority of participants. Even amongst those with proven difficulty falling asleep. In others surveyed, full sleep was accomplished in under 15 minutes. 

Early studies are also showing that THC can help breathing regulation during sleep. By THC regulating serotonin in the brain, it positively affects overall breathing stability. Which is an issue for more than 20 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes those who have it, to stop breathing numerous times throughout the night. So, by THC stabilizing these disruptive breathing patterns, users can rest and breathe better. 

Smoother breathing, and falling asleep faster…you might think you’re headed straight for sweet dreams. But, a lack of dreams is often associated with consuming therapeutic cannabis before bed. And this is true – yet another cannabis legend or myth proven by scientific research. That actually helps sleeping, too. 

Recent studies conclude that THC reduces REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Which in turn reduces dreams and nightmares. This conscious cannabis effect is specifically assisting those with disruptive sleep habits. Like veterans or consumers suffering from PTSD. THC reducing REM sleep also leaves users feeling more rested. As REM sleep involves bodily movement, higher pulses and faster breathing. 

On the positive flip side, CBD stimulates NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Making the therapeutic cannabis combination deliver an even extra restful slumber. CBD enhancing NREM sleep increases overall rest stability, too. Helping users feel extra refreshed the next day, versus grogginess that many sleeping aids, or prescriptions can cause.  

CBD also interacts with internal receptors that regulate the body’s wake and sleep cycle. At different doses, CBD helps users feel alert during the day, while still resting soundly at night. 

Finally, a lesser known cannabinoid, CBN, is also playing a role with its’ specifically sedative effects. CBN’s powerful rush to relax is further enhanced by THC, too. Meaning chemotypes that have a combination of the two compounds, are extra potent for mindful cannabis use to fall asleep and sleep soundly. 

So, when you’re trying a new cultivar or product that works or hinders your standard sleep cycle…take note, or even better, journal it with Tiggity. When using cannabis consciously, and tracking its’ specific results – you can curate your future elevated experiences through trials, or even errors. What you’ll find, may be that a high THC edible helped your ability to fall asleep the most, or with Purple Kush, you still had vivid dreams. And with Tiggity’s online platform, you’ll connect with a community of mindful cannabis consumers, just like you. 

What else is just as important to record? The smell of your bud. Let’s learn more about terpenes to find out why. 

Terpenes: Scents to sleep with

Every cannabis chemotype has a certain scent, and those scents carry certain effects too. Terpenes or ‘terps’ are the aromatic centers of the cannabis flower. More than just a sweet smell, terpenes are unique in benefits that additionally promote peaceful rest. They are responsible for making flower smell citrusy, skunk-like, fruity, herbal or earthy. And each aroma will make your buzz unique. 

For sleep, the terpenes Myrcene, Linalool and Caryophyllene have tranquilizing or sleep inducing effects. These terps are often abundant in plant types with indica-like effects – like myrcene which is found in high contents in many popular ‘purple’ genes, including Granddaddy Purple. Myrcene also acts as a heavy push to the pedal, increasing the speed of therapeutic cannabis effects.  It promotes cannabinoids to act faster, on-setting their effects more quickly. 

And speaking of purps, linalool is a lavender and floral scented terpene. Similarly to lavender promoting sleep, linalool has sleep inducing effects, too. Scientifically, the terpene increases adenosine. Adenosine is a sedating hormone that helps the process of falling asleep.

Lastly, caryophyllene smells woody or spice-like. And the terpene provides dual cannabis therapy effects, as well. Not only does the terp attack stress, that makes minds race… it also reduces pain. Which often keeps those with difficulty sleeping, up and uncomfortable at night. 

As you know, most cannabis cultivars have a unique combination of aromas. Some tasting fruity on the inhale, yet spicy and earthy on the exhale. The final therapeutic effects differ chemotype to chemotype, depending on unique terpene and cannabinoid make-ups. Which brings back the importance of tracking your conscious cannabis use for sleeping and other desired effects. By sharing and recording your experience, you can more mindfully use cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Like remembering it was Grease Monkey you rolled up one night, and had a body buzz, but your mind raced with anxiety. Whatever the effect, be mindful of tracking the cultivar, THC or CBD percentages, and specific scents that might make a difference. 

Additional effects = Smooth sailing to sleep

Other benefits that cannabis therapy provides, can also help soothe an ease into sleep. Meaning, sleeping can feel like smooth sailing with the help of cannabis’ additional therapeutic effects. 

Most notably, is the pain relief that cannabis provides its consumers. Along with reducing overall stress and anxiety, too. Which are all common causes of insomnia, or disruptive sleep throughout the night. By soothing aches and pains, and putting your mind at rest…the combination of using cannabis mindfully makes falling asleep a breeze, for most.  

But do be careful when choosing which cannabis chemotype to wind down with. Certain cannabis cultivars, due to their terpenes or cannabinoids, can actually amp users up. These are usually citrus or pine scented chemotypes, considering the terpenes pinene and limonene specifically deliver uplifting energy. Think genes like, Blue Dream, Super Lemon Haze or Sour Diesel. And don’t forget – by journaling in an online platform like Tiggity, you can track and share each mindful cannabis experience you have, and the varied effects you feel. 

Good night, with cannabis

As research increases, science is proving what many conscious cannabis consumers already know. That cannabis can be a soothing and therapeutic way to wind-down and sleep better too. If you want to learn more about how cannabis can make any night, good, tune into today’s episode of The Cannabis Therapy PotCast. We’ll be going in-depth on cannabis for sleep at 4 pm EST on our YouTube channel and Facebook. Set your calendar, and while you’re at it – connect with us on Instagram and we’ll follow you back, too. 

Looking to enjoy cannabis with other cannabis enthusiasts? In the Detroit area? Stop by The Craft Cannabis Club at 29 E. Baltimore Ave, Detroit or give us a call at 248-266-0790! We look forward to hosting you soon!

About The Author

<a href="" target="_self">Courtney Trzos</a>

Courtney Trzos

To Courtney, it’s always 420 somewhere… After attending Michigan State University and working in communications for over 10 years, she took her passion for cannabis, professionally. In 2017, Courtney began freelancing as a writer for cannabis brands across the globe, promoting the therapeutic and recreational use of the plant, while helping her partner cultivate crops full-time, and learning more about the industry from a seed-to-sale perspective. Get in touch with her and follow her journey at