The best ways to use cannabis as a sleep aid

Published Jan 21, 2023 02:00 p.m. ET
Unsplash / bruce mars

We use cannabis for all kinds of things from relieving stress, aches, and pains to the relaxing buzz that can enhance most aspects of life, including our quality of sleep. With so many different methods and products to choose from it may be difficult to know where to begin in figuring out what might help to get you off to dreamland, which is why it’s so important to consider what each one has to offer.

In the end, taking cannabis for sleep isn’t the answer for everyone, but those who do experience some level of relief will have the luxury of doing so without all of the adverse effects that are so often associated with many commonly prescribed sleep aids.

1. Smoking

Smoking weed is by far the most popular choice among both recreational and medicinal users mainly due to its availability, affordable cost, and well, it’s the easiest for most to do. With effects that kick in almost instantly, and cheap delivery accessories like pipes, bongs, or rolling papers, it’s an excellent option for anyone on a budget as well as those seeking immediate relief.
If you’re smoking cannabis to get to sleep, then it’s a good idea to use it within an hour or so of heading to bed.

2. Vaping

Vaping cannabis for sleep is generally considered to be a step up from smoking, as there are fewer known adverse effects on the lungs, and still, users get instant satisfaction as the cannabinoids are delivered quickly and able to trigger the release of those glorious benefits in no time. The only real downside is that they are most costly than the accessories required for smoking, but most would agree that the difference it makes for your health is worth it.
With vaporizers, the same rules as smoking apply since the effects kick in just as quickly.

3. Edibles

Edibles are a fantastic product for those who aren’t comfortable with the idea of smoking or vaping, as they deliver the same wonderful effects only intensified, and they last far longer than any other method, which is great news for those who find themselves waking frequently throughout the night. The important thing to remember with edibles is that they’re often far more powerful than a joint or a few hits off a vape, delivering relief for upwards of 4 hours or more at a time.

Since edibles may take a while to kick in, it’s a good idea to take them at least 1 full hour before you plan on heading to bed. For those who wake during the night, it may not be reasonable to take more, or there is a risk of grogginess and sedation lasting through the morning when you have to get up and move.

4. Topicals

With topical cannabis products, the effects are less overwhelming since most of the cannabinoids are unable to break through the protective skin barrier to reach the bloodstream. Still, many find relief by topically applying cannabis extracts or oils, especially when the relaxation is enhanced further with a little massage. It is important to note these options are most effective when combined with the next topic on this list, aromatherapy.

Topicals may be applied at any time before bed, and if you wake during the night, it is perfectly safe to reapply as needed, since the effects aren’t going to be as distinct as they would be with other delivery methods.

5. Aromatherapy

Cannabis plants produce many aromatic compounds called terpenes, and these elements hold a fair amount of power to soothe, relax, and sedate. Some may also deliver the opposite effect, triggering a rush of energy and motivation, and for that reason, it’s a good idea to look at a product's terpene profile before buying it for the sole purpose of a better night's sleep.

Terpene-infused oils may be diffused, applied topically, or warmed in any room to release the wave of relief, and you might want to start this along with your usual nighttime routine. Keeping the magic going throughout the night is also a great idea if you want to get the very best rest lasting the whole night through.

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Key things to remember

Cannabis can be an excellent tool for those who struggle to get enough sleep each night, but there are some rules that should be followed, especially for new consumers setting out on this journey.

Don’t use cannabis too early

This rule is relatively self-explanatory. If you use cannabis products too early in the day, then you might be ready to drift off long before you’re done with everything you wanted to get done, so add this new ritual to the recommended guidelines above if you want to avoid crashing too soon.

Avoid using too much

Whether it’s CBD or THC, taking too much could result in powerful effects that might be overwhelming, even in the middle of a deep slumber. Too much THC could make it more difficult to wake you up, which is an important fact to consider if you are the sole caregiver of young children or an elderly family member who might require your attention throughout the night.

Opt for THC when you can

THC is by far the superior cannabinoid in terms of its sleepy sedating effects, so if you’re able to access sleep aids infused with this powerful element, then you’ll be much more likely to get a better night's sleep.

Use only low CBD products (if possible)

Many people have reported miraculous benefits from using CBD for sleep, but most of the scientific evidence out there suggests it has more uplifting properties that could actually interfere with your goal to get enough shut-eye. For that reason, we highly recommend only using low-CBD or no-CBD sleep aids whenever possible.

Do not mix cannabis with other sleeping aids without a doctor's approval

If you want to use cannabis for sleep then it’s best to consult with a family doctor on how to proceed, as cannabinoids might interfere with the effectiveness of other prescribed medications, be they for sleep or other common conditions such as blood pressure or heart disease. In many cases, it’s possible to rely on both pharmaceutical options and cannabis at the same time without issue. Still, you’ll need to know the risks of your individual situation before making an informed decision.

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Kinloch

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