Posted by Derek Champoux
3 years ago / March 6, 2020
Counting Sheep vs. Vaping Leaf: How to Use Cannabis As A Sleep Aid
More than 30% of adults do not get enough sleep, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Sleep deprivation can result in low energy, a lack of focus, and unpredictable mood swings in the short term.
The long term issues that arise from sleep deprivation are more problematic. Chronic undersleeping can put adults at risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and improper hormone production. Missing sleep is basically like attaching the wrong vape battery to your cartridge: You don’t function properly and it may even damage your body.
We’ve all struggled to fall asleep before. You know the routine . . . lying in bed, wide awake, trying every trick in the book from counting sheep and breathing exercises to popping sleeping pills. They either seldom work or we build up immunities to them over time. But one natural sleeping aid has been gaining mainstream popularity in recent years for its efficacy and reliability: cannabis.
Cannabis as a Sleep Aid
One of the most common causes of sleep problems stems from breaking your natural sleep cycle. Staying up a little too late binging Netflix, burning the midnight oil at school or work, or even just a bad night’s sleep can all throw off your rhythm. This is where cannabis excels, as it can help users restore their natural sleep cycles.
Cannabis can even be beneficial for those suffering from chronic insomnia. The right strains of cannabis can induce heavier sleepy effects, without the morning grogginess that comes with prescribed sleep pills. It’s also a good way to avoid some of the potential risks that come with sleeping pills, such as seizures, respiratory issues, and dependence.
Best Method of Ingestion
Your method of ingestion is important when using cannabis as a sleep aid, no matter which strains or product types you buy. For best results, you want your dose to be quick-acting, controlled, and effective—three reasons why vape pens should be your first choice as a delivery system.
Tinctures, pills, and edibles are all appropriate methods of delivery for recreational use. When it comes to sleep, however, they are too slow. The onset periods for these delivery systems can take up to 90 minutes, which means you have to plan your whole night around them, and that’s if you get the dose right on your first try. Taking too large of a dose can prevent you from sleeping altogether, and taking too little means you have to take more and then wait even longer the effects to set in.
Smoking cannabis has an immediate onset period and allows for better dose control than edibles, but the delivery system comes with its own set of risks. Smoking cannabis involves the inhalation of carcinogens which can damage your lungs. Vaping extracts and cannabis oil, on the other hand, is a safer alternative to smoking because the method does not heat formulations to the point of combustion. The result is thick vapor and robust flavors without having to worry about inhaling a single carcinogen. Oil vape pens also allow for easier dosing control, so you can consistently deliver the amount of cannabis you need to fall asleep.
Best Strain for Sleep
People often look to Indica-dominant strains when considering cannabis as a sleep aid, but modern studies have demonstrated that cannabinoid and terpene combinations actually matter much more than specific strain types when seeking certain effects from cannabis.
THC and CBD, in particular, play major roles in cannabis’s ability to aid with sleep. Of the two, THC has more pronounced sedative properties. In fact, a study in 2004 revealed that a 15 mg dose of THC substantially increased drowsiness among participants.
CBD, on the other hand, is not as powerful a sedative as THC. But the cannabinoid does help users fall asleep by relieving many of the issues that prevent us from sleeping, such as anxiety, pain, and inflammation. The cannabinoid also effectively regulates sleep patterns and prevents feelings of morning drowsiness.
While both cannabinoids help us fall asleep in different ways, the most effective strains are those that contain a mixture of both. Of course, there is a large degree of individual variance when experimenting with different cannabinoid ratios. The various terpene profiles present in each strain and the way they interact with these cannabinoid ratios also play an integral role in the process.
Understanding this compound interplay and how your body reacts to them is crucial. Everyone’s a little different and experiences cannabis in a dissimilar way. What works for a friend or a family member might not for you. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. But over time, through research and trial and error, you’ll find your ideal blend and never look back.
A Note About Melatonin Vape Pens
Approximately 3.1 million adults in the US take melatonin as a sleep aid, so it’s no surprise that the vape industry is looking into whether the hormone can be inhaled as an aerosol. Little is known about vaping melatonin, including whether it is as effective as a vapor as it is in pill form. Nonetheless, some melatonin vapes already exist on the market, but these unregulated products are not worth the risk, given that their ingredients could consist of just about anything under the sun.
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