How Cannabis May Help You Sleep

Beauty Sleep

Green Revolution Chill products can be used before bed.

Sleep: A Difficult Necessity

Sleep can be difficult to attain. According to NIH Data, 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from sleep disorders. Quality of sleep is important: not only does it promote mental well-being and clarity, but it also lowers the risk of disorders like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart attack, and stroke. The hard truth is that we all need sleep, as much as we may think of ourselves as superheroes. 

So how can we reliably get sleep when it’s sometimes (or oftentimes) unreliable? Outside of ingesting a sleep aid, people can engage in exercise, routine, and changing their sleep environment. However, this is not always enough. Often, people turn to traditional prescription and over the counter medications when they badly need sleep. However, new evidence suggests that cannabinoids can affect sleep. In this article, we’ll walk you through current findings on cannabinoids and sleep in an effort to show you the various options for enhancing your sleep routine.

Your Endocannabinoid System and Sleep

Researchers have found that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in maintaining certain bodily functions, such as mood, appetite, and sleep. Endocannabinoids are similar to cannabinoids but made by your body. Your endocannabinoids bind to your endocannabinoid receptors to signal when your body needs to maintain its internal stability, otherwise known as its homeostasis. Cannabinoids, like endocannabinoids, are thought to influence your homeostasis, including your quality of sleep.

How Cannabinoids May Affect Sleep

When you consume any cannabis product containing THC, you are introducing a new component to your endocannabinoid system. THC, like your endocannabinoids, binds to your CB1 and CB2 receptors. From here, THC can affect your homeostasis via the endocannabinoid system. Based on preliminary evidence, the effects on homeostasis may range from aiding sleep to stimulating appetite.

Like THC, CBD may also affect sleep, albeit through a different mechanism. Researchers still don’t know for certain how CBD engages with your endocannabinoid system, since it doesn’t bind to your CB1 or CB2 receptors like THC. Many have suggested that CBD may prevent the breakdown of endocannabinoids, strengthening their effect on your homeostasis. However, this is still to be determined for certain.

A newly discovered cannabinoid, CBN, may also affect your quality of sleep. CBN is frequently featured in cannabis products meant to relax the users, since anecdotal evidence and surveys indicate a correlation between CBN and sleep. However, since CBN was only recently discovered, no conclusive studies on its effects have been published, so little is known about how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system.

Terpenes and Sleep

Aside from cannabinoids, certain terpenes have been found to be correlated with sleep. As a refresher on our previous blog article on terpenes, terpenes are compounds in cannabis (and other plants) that complement cannabinoids to produce mind-body effects via the entourage effect. Certain terpenes like Myrcene may create tranquilizing effects in the user. Others, like Caryophyllene, may reduce stress, which indirectly may impact one’s sleep.

Evidence of Correlations between Cannabinoids and Sleep

Even though CBN research is in its infancy, research on CBD, THC, and terpenes is well underway. In a study published in the journal ‘Medicines,’ 409 participants rated their insomnia symptoms between 1 and 10 with 10 being the most severe. On average, their starting symptoms were rated a 6.6. The participants were then treated using cannabis flower with different combustion methods.

On average, THC potency of these products was 20 percent and limited to 30 percent. CBD potency was 5.7 percent on average and limited to 30 percent. After using cannabis, the participants rated their symptoms on average to be 2.2, compared to the 6.6 out of 10 reported prior to consuming the cannabis products. This study is one example among many that suggests cannabinoids and terpenes may have correlations with quality of sleep.

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