When people ask us “What are the benefits of medical marijuana?” we struggle to give a short answer. Because from helping us fight pain and inflammation to easing anxiety to lessening certain types of seizures, there is so much marijuana can help us with.
By far one of the most consistent questions we hear is: “What’s the est marijuana strain for sleep?” Because as all too many of us know, insomnia—a family of disorders centering on the inability to get to sleep (and stay there)—is a big problem these days.
Medical marijuana has helped many people get better sleep. Whether it’s the relaxing psychoactivity of classic high-THC strains or the subtler body relaxation experienced with CBD for sleep, marijuana can offer gentle, sustainable relief from insomnia. In today’s post, we’ll share what science has discovered about how cannabis can support sleep and provide some general guidance on the best marijuana strains for sleep.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana: The Science of Sleep
As we hinted, insomnia is more common than you think: At any given time, an estimated 70 million Americans suffer from this potentially debilitating sleep disorder. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably tried some of the standard remedies on the market. These range from gentle homeopathic drops to powerful pharmaceuticals such as benzodiazepines. All have their upsides and downsides, and none are judged to be 100% effective.
To understand why marijuana may present a better option, it’s important to understand the concept of cannabinoids. A large group of natural compounds, cannabinoids offer a diverse range of ways to combat sleeplessness.
You’ve probably heard of THC, the cannabinoid most directly responsible for the marijuana plant’s distinctive “high” that can often impart therapeutic benefits, too. The second most common cannabinoid, CBD, is linked to many mind and body therapeutic benefits while exhibiting only a very mild (if any) psychoactive experience, which most people describe simply as a gentle cerebral “buzz.” Both of these compounds exert very different effects on our sleep cycles.
Let’s begin with THC. One sleep study found that marijuana with a higher ratio of THC to CBD reduced test subjects’ rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Why is this important? REM is the sleep stage in which people experience dreams; the theory is that fewer dreams equals more time in a restorative state of “deep sleep.”
Then there are nightmares. In addition to being downright unpleasant, nightmares are a major contributor to poor sleep. Again, a reduction in REM sleep could mean fewer nightmares, a finding that was generally supported by an earlier small-scale sleep study.
CBD for Sleep: What the Science Says
Given its low psychoactivity, you may be surprised to learn that CBD may be even more useful than THC for sleep. One 2017 study found that CBD may quell REM-related sleep disorders (and excessive sleepiness the next day).
Another study, from 2019, found that CBD helps reduce anxiety—including nightmares, a major contributor to insomnia—as well as improving the sleep quality of a majority of the subjects of the test.
What’s the Best Marijuana Strain for Sleep?
If you know anything about Finding Haven, you know that we thrive on finding unusual and exciting marijuana strains. Rather than giving you a list of specific strains, we feel it’s more useful to give you the knowledge that allows you to choose your own.
With respect to the clinical studies we shared a moment ago, the research indicates that both THC and CBD can help with sleep. If you enjoy the psychoactivity of THC, most marijuana products—especially heavy, indica-leaning flower strains—will be a great starting point. If you find that THC can be distracting or trigger anxiety, we’d be more likely to recommend a high-CBD edible to gently soothe your mind and body toward restful sleep.
Whichever cannabinoid ratio and format you choose, we recommend moderation when using marijuana for sleep. As studies support, many people find that smaller doses of marijuana lead to greater symptomatic relief.
Do you have more questions about CBD for sleep, or finding the best marijuana strain for sleep? Just ask! We’re here to help.