Cannabis and Sleep: 10 Things to Know About Your Herbal Nightcap

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Cannabis can be a splendid sleep aid, which is why many consumers keep a go-to favorite by their bedside. Even people with the most stubborn insomnia can find their escape to the dream world with a nice sedating indica. While most consumers are aware that cannabis can help you get a good night’s sleep, there’s a lot more to that relationship than you might think. For example, did you know older dried cannabis makes you sleepier than fresh bud? And did you know that marijuana inhibits dreams?

Get ready to learn a thing or two about the ways cannabis can help or hinder your nightly hibernation.

1. CBD and THC Affect Sleep Differently

By now you probably know that there are different types of strains: some get you high (high-THC, low-CBD), some don’t (high-CBD, low-THC), and others keep your buzz at a minimum (equal or near-equal parts THC and CBD). It’s worth first noting that most sleep studies – as well as the facts to follow –pertain to high-THC strains, as CBD strains are significantly harder (if not impossible) to find in some areas of the U.S.

So what effect do high-CBD strains have on sleep? A 2006 study tested the effects of CBD on animal models in both lights-on and lights-off environments and found that this non-intoxicating cannabis compound increased alertness with the lights on and had no discernable effects on lights-off sleep. The study’s authors concluded that CBD might actually hold therapeutic promise for those with somnolence, or excessive daytime sleepiness from a not-so-good night’s rest.

2. Indica Strains Tend to Be Better Sleep Aids

Popular opinion maintains that indica strains tend to induce heavier, sleepy effects while sativas are known to be uplifting, even energizing. Take a look at our top-rated sleepy strains and you’ll see a wall of indica purple patched with a little hybrid green. Although chemical and DNA testing have yet to show exactly why indicas typically make better sleep aids, some theorize that it has to do with the terpene content – that is, the aromatic compounds that contribute to each strain’s special effect fingerprint. In other words, indicas may contain more of the relaxing, sedating terpenes than its sativa relatives.

3. Aged Cannabis Makes You Sleepiergirl smoking on bed

No, really. When THC degrades over time, it converts to a sedating chemical known as cannabinol, or CBN. This cannabis compound is five times more sedating than THC, though it’s fairly slow to form. Chief Research Officer Rev. Dr. Kymron deCesare of Steep Hill Labs elaborates on this process.

“As d9-THC degrades through both isomerization and/or oxidatively, only a small portion of it turns into CBN. As a result, CBN is a bit difficult to collect in large quantities for usage. My experience is that if I take cannabis that is about 20% THCA, and I wrap in in plastic and let it sit in the garage for 3 years (in summer heat and dry), it results in a 3-5% production of CBN. Yes, I use ‘old weed’ to make sedative medicinals.”

4. Natural Remedies Help Maximize Cannabis’ Sleepy Effects

Cannabis is a great way to ready yourself for sleep, but pairing it with other natural sleep aids can make for an even more restful night. “Other terpenoids are extremely synergistic with CBN, some in the cannabis plant, some I add from other herbals,” Rev. Dr. deCesare told us. “Hops, chamomile, and lavender contain important terpenes also found in cannabis, but found in much higher concentration. These inclusions in the medical remedy will make for a greatly enhance sedation efficacy.”

So next time you bust out your favorite sleepy strain, think about pairing it with a cup of chamomile tea or a lavender bubble bath. Melatonin, 5-HTP, and valerian root supplements may also help improve your sleep quality.

5. Cannabis Can Help You Fall Asleep Faster

Given its ability to quell stress and relax physically, it should come as no surprise that cannabis can help you fall asleep faster. This can be especially true for those treating pain, insomnia, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, or other conditions that interfere with the ability to fall asleep as cannabis relieves many bothersome symptoms. It’s worth noting that cannabis-infused edibles take longer to kick in than inhalation methods, but their effects can last several hours and help you stay asleep longer.

6. Nighttime Cannabis Use May Cause a “Hangover”

Ever notice that your head might feel a little groggy in the morning after your nightcap? Cannabis can cause mild “hangovers” – no, you won’t be hunched over a toilet while daggers stab at your head, but you might feel a little foggy, dehydrated, lethargic, dry-eyed, or congested. This phenomenon may have never happened to you (high-five). Others have experienced bad hangovers from smoking low-grade or pesticide-riddled cannabis. The best way to avoid a bad morning is to buy clean/tested cannabis, drink lots of water, eat healthy foods, and refrain from overindulging. Nurse a hangover much like you would an alcohol hangover – water, exercise, vitamins, etc.

7. Cannabis Inhibits REM Sleep and Dreaming

One thing you may find yourself missing while regularly consuming cannabis is dreams. Dreams occur during the final stage of your sleep cycle called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Cannabis use before bedtime is shown to reduce the time spent in REM, which means you won’t have as many dreams or as vivid dreams. However, if you halt long-term cannabis use, you’re likely to experience “REM rebound” in which you tend to have more dreams that are more lucid in nature.

8. Cannabis May Promote Better Breathing

Sleep apnea is a sleep condition characterized by frequent obstructions of breath, with lapses that can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. As you can imagine, sleep apnea causes the individual to wake up many times over the course of the night, and leads to a myriad of unpleasant ripple effects like daytime sleepiness, fatigue, headaches, mood disturbances, inattention, increased susceptibility to accident, and other health problems.

Preclinical studies show that cannabis may improve this condition. A 2013 study measured the efficacy of an exogenous cannabinoid known as dronabinol (a THC “mimic”) and noted improvements in 15 out of 17 study participants following 21 days of treatment. Another 2002 study observed THC’s ability to restore respiratory stability by modulating serotonin signaling. We’ll need more confidence from clinical studies to be certain of cannabis’ efficacy, but researchers appear to be off to a good start.

9. Discontinuing Long-Term Use May Worsen Sleep

If you’ve ever quit or taken a tolerance break after long-term cannabis use, you’re probably familiar with this phenomenon. You might find yourself tossing and turning, waking up frequently, or feeling groggy the next day. A 2008 sleep study found that discontinuing long-term use led to shorter sleep time, less slow wave sleep, worse sleep efficiency, longer sleep onset, shorter REM cycles, and more sleep disruption in abstaining subjects than the drug-free control group. However, researchers acknowledge these findings are limited by a small sample size and the inability to determine causation. In other words, it’s possible the study subjects had used cannabis to treat pre-existing insomnia and ceasing use caused a resurgence of sleepless symptoms.

10. Using Cannabis at a Young Age May Cause Sleep Problemsteens with weed

Using cannabis – particularly before the age of 15 – may cause sleeping problems throughout adulthood, according to a 2014 study that took survey information from 1,811 participants with a history of use. The key word there is “may” ­– the study was unable to determine whether cannabis caused worsened sleep or if insomniacs are more likely to use cannabis for its sedative effects. More studies are needed to confirm a causal relationship.

Original Article By Bailey Rahn

Why Low Temperatures Are So Important for Dabbing By: Dr. Dabber

This article is sponsored by Dr. Dabber and MiniNail. Created out of necessity but fueled by desire, Dr. Dabber is the originator of the low heat vaporizer pen for concentrates. The future of concentrate vaporization, MiniNail is the creator of the low power, palm-sized, connoisseur-quality e-nail and other products designed for the daily dabber.

Cannabis concentrates offer an amazing combination of potent effects and robust flavors. When concentrates are heated the cannabinoids and terpenes are released into vapor, creating the vast spectrum of effects and flavors that cannabis exhibits. Knowing which temperature to heat your concentrates to, however, is a crucial detail and can be the difference between experiencing delicious flavors and profound effects or tasting the burnt disappointment from temperatures too hot to vaporize effectively.

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Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome: How to Ease the Symptoms By: Bruce Barcott

When Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant stopped his regular cannabis consumption in order to pass the NFL’s drug test, he encountered an unexpected challenge. Insomnia kept him up at night. “I would get frustrated,” Bryant told Sports Illustrated. “I’d yell, ‘Why can’t I sleep!?’”

Symptoms typically start within the first two days of cessation, and stop within four weeks of abstinence.

The answer may have been cannabis withdrawal syndrome, or CWS.

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What Are the Negative Effects of Cannabis Smoking and Secondhand Smoke?

We’ve all learned about the dangers of smoke inhalation since we were young, whether it’s from a house fire or a cigarette. However, as an avid cannabis enthusiast and occasional secondhand smoke creator, I felt compelled to seek out scientific data on smoke inhalation’s negative health effects, especially with cannabis popularity on the rise and smoke inhalation ingrained as the traditional means of enjoying cannabis.

As I found out, cannabis smoke is not only harder on the circulatory system than tobacco, but while “[t]here is widespread belief that, unlike tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is benign” (Springer 2016),studies on circulatory health show that its smoke – and secondhand smoke – may be harmful.

What are the Effects of Secondhand Cannabis Smoke?secondhand smoking

In a recent study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, scientists measured the effects of secondhand cannabis smoke on rats by observing “flow-mediated dilation” of arteries (i.e. how wide or narrow arteries became). Basically, when blood flow is briefly blocked and then unblocked, blood vessels must enlarge in order to let the backed-up blood supply flow through. (Think of the machines at pharmacies that cinches around a person’s arm to check blood pressure.)

According to Dr. Matthew L. Springer, whose cadre of scientists conducted the study, this “flow-mediated dilation” (FMD) is “a real-time effect that works better in healthy vessels than in diseased vessels, and is better in young people with no cardiovascular risk factors.”

To study the effects of secondhand cannabis smoke, researchers used rats that were individually sedated in order to obtain consistent measurements and minimize harm. They then temporarily blocked blood flow in a large artery and measured FMD after the block was removed. This was done both before and after exposing the rats to secondhand cannabis smoke. These experiments were designed to test whether FMD would be impaired by smoke exposure, i.e. whether blood vessels would show a diminished ability to expand after being blocked. Dr. Springer explained, “It’s been known since the 1990s that [tobacco] smokers have impaired FMD, and that people who report a lot of exposure to secondhand smoke have poor FMD even if they are not being exposed to smoke during the test.”

The results clearly showed that rats exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke displayed impaired FMD—their blood vessels did not dilate as well compared to control subjects exposed to smoke-free air. In fact, after just one minute of secondhand smoke exposure, FMD did not recover to normal levels even when measured 90 minutes later. This effect was not surprising to the researchers given the long list of toxic substances contained in smoke. “Burning of any plant material results in many toxic chemicals, including volatile organic compounds and noxious gases like acrolein, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde,” Springer told us.

Does Cannabinoid Content Affect Cannabis Smoke Side Effects?

Next, the researchers wanted to know whether THC or other cannabinoids contributed to the blood vessel impairment they observed. To do this, they used cannabis that did not contain any cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.). When rats were exposed to secondhand smoke lacking cannabinoids, they observed the same deficits in FMD, indicating that THC and other cannabinoids do not contribute to impairment in FMD caused by smoke exposure.

“We showed that impairments occurred even when THC was absent and when rolling paper was absent,” Springer said. “In fact, we also confirmed that there were no pesticides used for the growth of this marijuana, and that there were no seeds or stems.” Thus, they ruled out that the impairment was caused by the major psychoactive component of cannabis (THC) or other cannabinoids which may have therapeutic utility (e.g. CBD).

Does Vaporization of Cannabis Smoke Have the Same Effects?weed vaping

Dr. Springer explained the implications of this study’s results: “It is worthwhile to emphasize that these results do not necessarily indicate an anti-drug message, as we have shown that the problem is not caused by marijuana the drug, but by marijuana the smoke.  We just hope that the results can influence people to think about how they are taking cannabis/THC/CBD etc. and to make informed decisions about what they are exposing themselves and their family, neighbors, and friends to in the process.” Given the negative health effects of smoke exposure, cannabis consumers may want to consider combustion-free delivery methods, including vaporization.

Original Article By Jeremiah Wilhelm

How Does Cannabis Consumption Affect the Brain?

The relationship between cannabis and the brain is a meaty subject. Identifying the various ways cannabis affects the brain is complicated, and we’ve only just begun to unravel many of the mysteries. Most perplexingly, there’s a lot of seemingly contradictory evidence out there.

On the one hand, we’re inundated with messages that cannabis impairs a user’s cognitive function — particularly short-term memory. On the other hand, we hear cannabis can act as a neuroprotectant, perhaps even preventing the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

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The Benefits of Cannabis on Your Self-Esteem

If I told you that your body is worthy of love, care, and compassion exactly the way it is right this second, would you believe me? If you’re suddenly squirming uncomfortably or rolling your eyes, the odds are you probably aren’t completely comfortable with your body. You’re not alone. A 2012 UK study conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group found that “roughly two-thirds of adults suffer from negative body image.” Yes, all adults. This is not just a “women’s issue.” People of all genders struggle with body image.

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How Does Cannabis Consumption Affect Insomnia?

There’s a reason more insomnia sufferers are turning to cannabis. You toss and turn, count sheep, and negotiate (“If I can fall asleep by 3 a.m., I’ll at least get four hours of sleep”). Ten minutes becomes a half hour. A half hour becomes an hour. Before you know it, the sun is coming up. Insomnia is its own unique agony, but now that the stigma of cannabis is slowly lifting, more people are seeking out its therapeutic sedating properties.

Acute insomnia — which usually only lasts a night or two — happens to nearly all of us. It’s usually triggered by a stressful external event. But, chronic insomnia — regularly having three or more restless nights per week over the course of the month — affects a billion people worldwide.

Interestingly, insomnia affects women at twice the rate as men. And, it doesn’t get better with age. Half of all seniors are regularly affected by insomnia. Beyond feeling sleepy and irritable the next day, chronic insomnia is associated with some serious long-term health issues: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

So what causes insomnia, what are the traditional treatment options, and in what ways might cannabis be a healthier, viable alternative?

Causes of Insomniainsomnia

Insomniacs can have either primary or secondary insomnia.

  • Primary insomnia is a standalone condition — it wasn’t caused by another health condition.
  • Secondary insomnia is associated with a secondary health condition or substance (for example, depression, pain, alcohol, or a prescription medication).

The number one cause of insomnia is stress. While we can’t control every stressful external factor in our lives, there are healthy ways to deal with the stress. Dr. Rachna Patel, a physician from Walnut Creek, California, who has personally dealt with years of insomnia, notes, “Anything you can do to reduce stress will also help you sleep better. Get out for a jog. Swim. Eat better. Do relaxation exercises or meditate. Even if you still need a sleep aid like cannabis, lifestyle changes will improve your overall health!”

Traditional Treatment Options for Insomniapills 3

Dr. Patel suggests, “Before trying medication, consider making lifestyle changes including setting a regular sleep schedule, getting more exercise, [and] eating healthier.” Nonetheless, Patel has observed that “some patients have so much difficulty sleeping that they just need a medication to help them.”

Prescription medications such as Zolpidem (Ambien) and Zaleplon (Sonata) have grown in popularity over the years, but they may not be that effective. One study by the National Institutes of Health found that sleeping pills, on average, only add 11 minutes of sleep time and shorten the time it takes to fall asleep by a mere 13 minutes.

Worse, they can come with serious adverse side effects and health consequences. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, over the last two decades there’s been a dramatic increase in prescription sleep aid-related emergency room visits.

Likewise, benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium, which are approved for sleep, are highly addictive and potentially dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 benzos were involved in 30% of lethal drug overdoses, second only to opioids.

Some also claim that natural supplements, such as melatonin, valerian root, lemon balm, or chamomile are helpful in falling asleep.

Can Cannabis Treat Insomnia?

Dr. Patel turned to cannabis after being prescribed Ambien. Afraid of the potential side effects, she found research validates what cannabis users have long suspected: cannabis helps people sleep.

Strangely, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Big Pharma’s Sanofi-Aventis may agree. They funded a study that showed consuming THC enabled subjects to fall asleep easier and more quickly.

smoking in bedHere’s more of the evidence:

  • Easier time falling asleep. As far back as 1973, research has documented subjects falling asleep quicker after ingesting THC. More recently, a 2013 study of healthy subjects validated earlier findings.
  • Sleep longer and better. Early studies have demonstrated the efficacy of cannabinoids in aiding sleep. One study of THC found that subjects experienced fewer interruptions over the night and some decrease in awakenings during the first half of the night.
  • Enjoy deeper sleep. Cannabis can positively impact the sleep cycle. Studies prove THC can increase deep sleep. Why is this important? Because scientists believe deep sleep plays a vital role in our body’s natural restoration process.
  • Better breathing while sleeping. Roughly 17% of men and 9% of women regularly have breathing problems when they sleep – a condition called sleep apnea – and most are never diagnosed. However, early research published in January 2013 by Frontiers in Psychology shows cannabis may help people breathe easier when they sleep. Who knows? Maybe someday sleep apnea sufferers can swap out their CPAP mask for a THC-infused brownie (but don’t count on Medicare to cover the cost yet).

How Does Cannabidiol (CBD) Affect Sleep?

Evidence of cannabidiol, or CBD, as a sleep aid has been contradictory. In one study, CBD – which is non-intoxicating – seemed to be effective as a “wake-inducing agent,” meaning it can make you feel more alert, the opposite effect of what an insomniac wants.

However, others who participated in the study reported that ingesting CBD-rich extracts or tinctures a few hours prior to bed had a relaxing effect that allowed them to sleep better at night. According to Project CBD, some patients with sleep issues report that “ingesting a CBD-rich tincture or extract a few hours before bedtime has a balancing effect that facilitates a good night’s sleep.”

The key is finding the right strain, blend, product, and dose for you. Everyone’s body responds to cannabis differently, so it may take a little trial-and-error before finding the perfect fit. Try a heavy indica or an edible. Consider something with a little CBD. See what happens when you dose a little instead of a lot. You might be surprised to find that your ultimate sleep remedy isn’t what you thought it would be.

Original Article By Jeremy Kossen