If you struggle to sleep well at night like many adults in the United States, marijuana may be helpful. In fact, for 76 percent of medical marijuana users, marijuana is helpful for relaxation. And 65 percent of medical marijuana users use marijuana to help them sleep. But choosing the right strain is important for the best results.
Which is Better: CBD or THC?
Both CBD and THC can be helpful for sleep, so choosing one or the other (or the right blend) depends on your needs and personal preferences.
Overall, marijuana can support healthy sleep, offering relaxation and a calming effect that can be especially helpful if you’re stressed and struggling to let go of anxiety before bedtime. Additionally, the compounds in cannabis can be good for relieving depression, reduce nightmares and other nighttime disturbances, and stabilize your mood. It can offer pain relief as well, which is good if pain keeps you up at night.
In general, CBD is known to offer the sedative, mood stabilizing, and pain relief effects of marijuana without the psychoactive effects. Additionally, CBD is legal in all states, whereas THC is not. It’s common to find CBD oil and other products available for sale throughout the U.S.
THC offers psychoactive effects and a greater sedative effect. However, it is not legal in all states, and may decrease REM sleep, so you may not enjoy as much restorative deep sleep as you would with exclusive CBD use.
Of course, CBD and THC are not exclusive, and you can use them together, which may offer the best of both worlds. Together, you can get relief from pain, sedation, and reduce anxiety for better sleep. In fact, a 1:1 combination of THC and CBD can be a good choice for improving sleep if you struggle to sleep well due to pain.
Making Marijuana Part of a Healthy Sleep Routine
Marijuana can be helpful for getting to sleep and staying asleep through the night, but it’s not a magic bullet. Combine marijuana use with healthy sleep habits so you can make the most of your sleep and marijuana use.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule. When you sleep on a consistent schedule, it’s easier for your body to become accustomed to it and start to feel sleepy around the same time each night. Maintain a regular schedule, going to bed and waking up around the same time each night and day, even on weekends and vacations.
- Follow a regular bedtime routine. Similarly, a consistent bedtime routine makes it easy for your body to get the signal that bedtime is coming and you should start winding down and getting ready to sleep.
- Consume carefully. It’s typically not a good idea to mix marijuana with other substances. For example, alcohol can have a similar sedative effect and help you get to sleep, but it can limit your deep sleep. And caffeine and other stimulants might make it difficult for you to doze off even with the help of marijuana
- Choose strains carefully. Although marijuana in general is helpful for sleep, not all strains are a good fit. Talk to your budtender about the effects you’re looking for when you’re choosing which marijuana strain you want to use for sleep. Some may have a more sedative effect, while others may amplify anxiety.
Marijuana may be helpful for sleeping well, but it’s important to understand the drawbacks, best practices, and how you can choose the right strain for your needs. Combine marijuana use with healthy sleep habits for a better night’s sleep.
Sara Westgreen is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She sleeps on a king size bed in Texas, where she defends her territory against cats all night. A mother of three, she enjoys beer, board games, and getting as much sleep as she can get her hands on.