When selecting a cannabis strain for sleep, it is important to go for one that has moderate amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While moderate amounts of THC (about 15%) will cause sedation, excessive amounts have the opposite effect. On the other hand, high amounts of THC in a strain will have the opposite effect. 

CBD has relaxation properties that promote restful sleep. Terpenes such as caryophyllene, terpineol, limonene, myrcene, and linalool have sleep-inducing effects. These terpenes amplify the sleep-promoting effects of THC and CBD. 

Lastly, when choosing between an indica or sativa for sleep, go with the indica. The couch-lock that comes with indicas will ensure that you wake up feeling well-rested. At the end of the day, you have to ensure that you have a good balance between your cannabinoids THC and CBD, the sleep-promoting terpenes, and then choose indica over sativa. This article will explain how all these properties come into play in a strain to enhance its sleep-promoting effects. 

Good sleep is essential for good health. But, statistics show that 70% of Americans don’t get enough night’s sleep.  [1] If you search the web, you will find a dozen tips to help one sleep better at night; this includes handy information such as exercising regularly, going to bed early, avoiding caffeine, and even eating healthy food. Unfortunately, this does not work for everyone at any time. Consequently, there is a growing number of people trying cannabis as a sleep aid. This article will demystify the sleep-enhancing effects of medical marijuana and recommend some of the best cannabis strains to try.

 Let’s get into it.

The Science Behind Cannabis and Sleep

Preliminary research has shown that cannabis can be used to restore one’s natural sleep cycle. [2] The sleep-inducing properties of cannabis have been attributed to the cannabinoids and terpenes present in the strain.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is of great interest to researchers due to its therapeutic potential. CBD affects sleep in different ways. It has potent relaxation and anti-anxiety properties that may help to promote restful sleep.

Research has also shown that high doses of CBD (up to 160mgs) can increase sleep duration. [3] However, a different study (2019 case series) showed that CBD improves sleep in the short term, but the effects may not be sustained in periods exceeding one month. [4] The researchers found that CBD suppresses cortisol levels in the body. Insomnia is associated with high cortisol levels.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive cannabinoid that is known for its sedative effects. Moderate doses of THC are likely to trigger euphoria, which may culminate in sleepiness after the “high” has worn off. However, tolerance for THC will vary among users. You should find an amount that puts you to sleep without tipping you over the edge.

A 2008 study showed that THC reduces the duration and intensity of the active phase of sleep (REM sleep), associated with vivid dreams. [5] This effect may be of benefit to people living with PTSD or those prone to having regular nightmares. Unfortunately, withdrawing from marijuana may result in nightmares.

Indica Versus Sativa for Sleep

Indica strains are known to weigh heavily on the body; causing the limbs to feel weak and unable to move. This is likely to come with a deep sense of relaxation that eases away chronic aches and fatigue. If your insomnia is linked to chronic fatigue, you will likely benefit from consuming a pure indica strain such as the Hindu Kush. Alternatively, you can use an indica dominant strain such as the famous Girl Scout Cookies.

On the other hand, Sativa strains cause a mental buzz that may not be good for sleep. It is advisable to steer clear of Sativa strains if you are looking for some good shut-eye. And as much as the indica versus sativa theory is not a golden rule for finding the best cannabis strains for sleep, it helps to narrow down your search.

Sleep Inducing Terpenes

The cannabis plant has around 200+ terpenes. The ones that are known to promote sleep include caryophyllene, terpineol, limonene, myrcene, and linalool. Terpenes work together with cannabinoids to produce a powerful synergistic effect known as the entourage effect. [6]

 Therefore, the perfect marijuana strain for sleep has to balance the appropriate cannabinoids and terpenes. While you can use trial and error to find the magical train that will send you to slumberland in no time, here is a list to start you off.

Here are some examples of “Strain Names”.  Read the description to determine your best cannabinoid/terpene profiles! 

Granddaddy Purple 

 Cannabinoid Profile: THC-dominant

 Primary Terpenes: Pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene

This indica strain is purple. It has muscle-relaxing and sedating effects. This strain contains intense flavors of grape and berry. It exhibits high levels of myrcene, a terpene that provides highly relaxing effects.  Granddaddy Purple is a good strain for those who use cannabis to manage anxiety and pain. If you aren’t an experienced cannabis user, start with low dosages. 

God’s Gift

Cannabinoid Profile: THC-dominant

 Primary Terpenes: Pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene

God’s gift is an indica dominant strain. It’s a cross of OG Kush and Granddaddy Purple. Its THC content is believed to be 27%. Warning; God’s strain is a heavy hitter, so use it close to your bedtime.

God’s gift doesn’t only help you if you have insomnia, but it can give you a deep sense of relaxation throughout the entire day. Some users report getting a good relaxation that makes one even unable to move. 

Northern Lights 

Cannabinoid Profile: THC-dominant

Primary Terpenes: Pinene, myrcene, and beta-caryophyllene

 Northern Lights has a peppery, citrusy, herbal aroma and flavor. It’s sometimes referred to as the legendary strain. 

 It’s a famous strain known for its deeply relaxing effects. It’s a solid indica-dominant hybrid that’s a cross of Afghani Indica and Thai Sativa.

Northern lights isn’t substantial, it contains only 18% THC, but it’s fast-acting. The smoothness of this strain lures you to a night of deep sleep and takes your stress and anxiety away. 

Tahoe OG Kush 

Cannabinoid Profile: THC-dominant

 Primary Terpenes: Limonene, myrcene, and caryophyllene

 Tahoe OG Kush is sometimes called the stay-at-home strain because of its highly relaxing effects that make you feel like you’re wrapped in a comfortable and warm blanket.

 This cannabis strain is known for its analgesic properties. Its THC content is 25%, enough for an experienced marijuana user. It has minimal CBD. It’s a balanced hybrid that’s a cross of SFV OG Kush and OG Kush.

 This strain can lift your mood during the day. Moreover, it can help you if you have appetite problems. Once you’ve eaten, go to your bed, close your eyes and enjoy a night of deep sleep.

Remedy (REM)

 Cannabinoid Profile: CBD-dominant

Primary Terpenes: myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene

 Remedy is a high CBD strain that’s a cross between cannatonic and Afghan Skunk. It has little to no psychoactive effects. This strain has sweet, lemon floral notes that give a user mellow relaxation.

 This strain can help you get enough sleep by relieving pain, stress, and anxiety that causes insomnia. This ends up giving you a mellow, relaxed deep sleep. 

Critical Kush 

Cannabinoid Profile: THC-dominant

 Primary Terpenes: myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene

Critical Kush is widely known for its sleep-inducing properties. First-time users may be surprised to find that they are more talkative than usual. A high-THC strain also causes cerebral stimulation that may last for between one and two hours. But these are effects that don’t last long. After the euphoria has worn off, most users are likely to be left in a state of deep slumber. 

Purple Kush

Cannabinoid Profile: THC-dominant

 Primary Terpenes: myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene

 This strain is a member of the Kush family. It’s known for its sweet smell. It has a CBD concentration that’s below 0.1% and contains a THC concentration of 22%. Purple Kush has high sedative effects, but its ability to relieve pain quickly makes it popular. That’s why some people refer to it as the pain-relieving king. 

 

 Pain and body aches can trigger you to get poor sleep. To reduce the pain, try using Purple Kush two hours before your bedtime. You will quickly feel sedated. You are likely to experience warm and fuzzy feelings, and the effects can last for hours. 

Ogre 

Cannabinoid Profile: THC-dominant

 Primary Terpenes: myrcene, limonene, and caryophyllene

This weed strain has sweet citrus flavors. It’s also known as Ogre Kush. People have reported that Ogre takes away the pain quickly and with ease. The flavors sedate your senses and give you a restful sleep. 

Conclusion 

Keep in mind that everyone has a unique endocannabinoid system and will, therefore, uniquely experience cannabis. Don’t expect to be put to sleep by a strain simply because of what was shared by someone else.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to medical marijuana. The trick, therefore, is to try as many strains as possible, using the criteria shared in this article. Once you have found one that syncs well with your endocannabinoid system, stick to it like glue.

 

References

  1.     Sleep Health. Org. Sleep-wake disorders. Retrieved from https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/#:~:text=In%20America%2C%2070%25%20of%20adults,report%20insufficient%20sleep%20every%20night.&text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20sleep,all%20ages%20and%20socioeconomic%20classes.
  2.     Healthline. Can you use cannabis to restore your natural sleep cycle? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/medical-marijuana/cannabis-for-sleeping
  3.     Zhornitsky, S., & Potvin, S. (2012). Cannabidiol in humans-the quest for therapeutic targets. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland), 5(5), 529–552.
  4.     Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041.
  5.     Schierenbeck, T., Riemann, D., Berger, M., & Hornyak, M. (2008). Effect of illicit recreational drugs upon sleep: cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. Sleep medicine reviews, 12(5), 381–389.
  6.     Russo E. B. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Frontiers in plant science, 9, 1969.



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