Do you find yourself yawning constantly during the day? Do you have trouble staying asleep? Suffering from insomnia? In Canada, insomnia and sleep issues are reportedly common among adults.
“Short sleep duration and poor sleep quality are prevalent among Canadian adults. About one-third sleep fewer hours per night than recommended for optimal physical and mental health.” [CBC]
According to Statistics Canada, the recommended amount of sleep for those 18 to 64-years-old is seven to nine hours, and seven to eight hours for those 65 or older. Based on those recommendations, how does your sleep schedule stack up?
Sleep is a necessary part of your overall health but is easily neglected and sometimes unattainable. Lack of sleep has been shown to lead to health, emotional, work and even relationship issues. The most common way this is remedied is with prescription drugs. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found that 10 per cent of people with sleep issues are using prescription drugs for their condition. Many of these medications lead to unwanted side effects like dependency, changes to sleep architecture and behavioral changes. Those seeking an alternative have turned to medical and recreational cannabis in droves. But what products are they using and why are they using it?
How can cannabis help?
The most common sleep issue among Canadians is insomnia, those who have trouble getting to sleep and/or staying asleep. Whether it is due to pain, anxiety, or unknown reasons, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has been shown to help before bed. A 2007 study in the Journal of Chemistry and Biodiversity saw that THC and CBD provided subjects with “good or very good sleep”. THC is the active ingredient of choice for sleep issues, but the subspecies of cannabis plays a significant role. Cannabis indica (or indica) is a variation that is sedating and relaxing, as opposed to the uplifting and energetic effects of cannabis sativa. Furthermore, the dosing doesn’t need to be excessive; Ample amounts of THC aren’t needed to feel sleepy. It only takes 2.5 mg of THC in oil for improved sleep with little or no intoxicating effects. 5 mg of THC would cause a high but would be far more effective in sedation. Dried cannabis products don’t require more than 10% THC content to do the same. When it comes to sleep, less is more. Overuse of THC could result in rebound anxiety or paranoia both of which could make sleep issues worse.
Finding the right strain:
So which form is the best for you? Those with issues getting to sleep should pursue the faster onset of an inhaled product. Dried flower in a vaporizer or inhaled through other methods will induce drowsiness quickly. Within 5-10 minutes the effects of THC can be felt and last for 4 to 6 hours. Those who have issues staying asleep should start with an ingestible oil or capsule. Ingesting cannabis products for sleep should be done 60 to 90 minutes before sleep and will last 6-8 hours. Regardless of the product, caution should be taken with dosing. Starting at a low dose and increasing slowly is strongly advised if you are new to cannabis. Cannabis is remarkably safe and is not associated with overdose (unlike most sleeping pills), but the uncomfortable feelings of overuse can be avoided by using smaller doses. Cannabis still has side effects like all medications. Improvement in mood and increased hunger are seen as positives but there are some changes to our REM sleep. REM sleep decreases with sleep aides (cannabis included) and dreaming will reduce or stop entirely. If a regular cannabis user abstains from cannabis, vivid dreams are frequently reported. If night terrors or nightmares are a problem, cannabis should be used consistently and shouldn’t be stopped abruptly.
Medical cannabis gives patients valuable options. 43 percent of men and 55 percent of women, aged 18 to 64 report sleep troubles. Medical and recreational cannabis is a safe option for those suffering from sleep issues.
THC is a proven painkiller. The origin of many sleep issues is rooted in chronic pain symptoms leading to disrupted sleep. A 2007 study in the Journal of Chemistry and Biodiversity saw a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD being applied to patients with a history of chronic pain. The results showed that 40 to 50 per cent of those involved were able to achieve “good or very good sleep quality”. — Dr. Ife Abiola, Medical Director at 420 Clinic
Our clinic staff and online information are available for medical cannabis users and those searching for a safe and legal way to restore sleep and maintain it.