Sleep is very important for maintaining proper physical and mental health. Sadly, it eludes millions of adults across the United States. Data from the American Sleep Association states that between 50 and 70 million adult Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder.
The same foundation also notes that 40% of the population will suffer from insomnia or some kind of sleep disorder at some point in their lives, with about 15% of this adult population suffering from chronic insomnia later in life.
This simply means that getting to shut your eyes is becoming harder and harder. Though it is not any consolation to think that millions are going through the same across the globe, you should take comfort that there are solutions to sleep problems. You must simply find one that will be the most appropriate for you.
With the number of people experiencing insomnia and other sleep disorders on the rise, the interest in sleeping pills has been on a sharp rise. Especially with medical marijuana coming out as a controversial but potential cure. The proponents of medical marijuana swear by it as an effective treatment, and one with little to no side effects. Also, they assert that it not only treats insomnia, but also a wide range of sleeping disorders.
If you will be considering cannabis as a potential cure for your sleeping problems, then you will have to decide if you will be going for CBD or THC. These two terms may sound confusing at first, but once you are done with this read, you won’t have any problems in differentiating between the two. Most importantly, you will know which one to lean towards as the most effective solution for your sleep problems.
What makes THC and CBD for Sleep Different?
There are more than 100 cannabinoids present in cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are by far the most understood cannabinoids, with further investigations still being carried out on the others. These two cannabinoids have potential use in a wide range of medical applications and for treating a variety of health conditions, including sleep-related conditions.
Studies agree that both CBD and THC may be effective in bringing relief to some sleep disorders. However, there exists a vast difference between the two, and how they are applicable in treating sleep solutions. Below is a brief look into each to help you understand the differences between the two so that you know whether THC oil for sleep or you will resort to taking CBD before bed to help you with your sleep problems.
THC and Sleep
Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid present in cannabis. It is what is responsible for the “high effects” associated with marijuana. It can help with pain relief, and in reducing nausea.
As far as sleep goes, THC has very strong sedative properties which can make you fall asleep quite easily. It interacts with the brain cell receptors to alter the body’s circadian cycle to not only make it easy for you to fall asleep, but also to improve breathing while you sleep. Specifically, THC alters the amount of time that you spend in REM sleep, hence, increasing the time you spend in slow-wave deep sleep. Since THC reduces the amount of time you spend in REM, it also effectively reduces the amount of time you spend dreaming.
This could be great news to people who are struggling to overcome PTSD which is known to feature nightmares and some very disturbing dreams. It is for this reason that people who use cannabis regularly usually end up experiencing fewer dreams.
However, once they stop using cannabis, they are likely to experience a burst of dreaming in what is commonly known as REM rebound – an increase in REM once the suppression stops.
Due to THC’s ability to alter how the brain treats sleep, it is a potential therapy for treating obstructive sleep apnea in the form of Dronabinol.
When considering THC oil for sleep, it is important that you consider changes to sleep cycle to help you determine how long you may have to use the oil.
Remember, all sleep cycles are important for a healthy rest, and any alteration of the nightly architecture may hamper the desired restorative effects of a good night’s rest.
CBD and Sleep
Cannabidiol, on the other hand, is a non-mind altering cannabinoid that is known to promote rest and relaxation. It has psychoactive effects but it doesn’t come with any highs often associated with marijuana.
According to the research published in The Journal of Neuroscience, there is a general agreement that CBD attempts to counteract or balance the high effects usually associated with THC.
As far as sleep goes, CBD may decrease stage three sleep if administered along with THC dose. It achieves this by reducing daytime sleepiness and promoting alertness. Also, CBD has excellent soothing and pain-relieving properties, which makes it a suitable candidate for treating a variety of symptoms known to affect a good night’s rest.
It is an incredibly powerful compound when it comes to combating pain, reducing anxiety and easing inflammation.
How exactly does CBD achieve all these? CBD regulates the waking cycle by activating neurons located in the hypothalamus and DRD sections of the brain. These are the parts of the brain that are generally responsible for generating the state of alertness.
This action may sound like being counterproductive as far as sleep medications are concerned, but because it can help to prevent excessive somnolence, it is a great choice for those who desire to get quality sleep in a short time or those who desire to adapt healthier sleeping routines.
Cannabis for Sleep: Is CBD or THC Better
There is a debate currently going on about CBD vs THC for sleep. The most important thing you should realize is that none is better than the other when it comes to promoting or sustaining sleep. These two have a role to play in your sleep pattern and the one you choose should depend on exactly what aim to achieve with your sleep. Here is a brief look at the roles each play and how each may help you with your sleep-:
THC for Inducing Sleep
Being the psychoactive compound that it is, THC has proven to be very effective in inducing sleep. With its powerful sedative effects, it can help you fall asleep faster, and for this reason, it has been used as a remedy for individuals who find it difficult to fall asleep as well as those suffering from sleep apnea.
Though THC will help you fall asleep faster, it may also shorten the REM stage of your sleep. This simply means that you won’t have the privilege to stay in deep sleep for long. Since it reduces the time you spend in REM, it also reduces how much you dream, as well as the amount of time you spend in slow-wave sleep.
For individuals suffering from unpleasant dreams or recurring nightmares, using THC oil for sleep can be a great reprieve for nasty night time experience. However, with decreased REM sleep, there are very high chances of one experiencing reduced cognitive and social processing which may lead to reduced concentration and hampered memory.
The best way to get the most out of THC oil for sleep is to use it occasionally. This is because chronic use has the potential of disrupting your sleep, leading to the very problems you had wanted to avoid when you thought of THC as a remedy for your sleep challenges.
CBD will help you to Stay Asleep Longer
Due to CBD’s actions on your brain, it is an ideal solution if you desire to sleep for long. It works uniquely with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help you fall asleep faster, promote wakefulness, and help you sleep for long hours.
Its ability to help in the regulation of dopamine and serotonin helps with dealing with the effects of depression and anxiety – two well-known conditions that may make you have highly irregular sleep patterns.
With lowered stress, both your brain and your body gets the ability to calm down with some of the notable effects being longer sleep durations, reduced number of times that you wake up at night when you sleep, and countering some of the effects of THC the following morning.
Sleep and The Endocannabinoid System
To fully comprehend how THC and CBD affect sleep, it is vital to understand how the endocannabinoid system works and how it interacts with cannabinoids. This system is present in human beings as well as in other mammals.
It comprises protein receptors and neurotransmitters known as endocannabinoids. These receptors are responsible for reacting with plant-based cannabinoids like CBD and THC to regulate a variety of cognitive and physiological processes in the body, including appetite, pain, mood, sleep, pregnancy, fertility, thermoregulation, responses to stress, post and prenatal development, digestion pain and the circadian rhythm among others.
It is vital to remember that this system can carry out all of the stated functions without affecting any of the other physiological and cognitive processes in any way. This is how it manages to get the body in the state of homeostasis quickly. During the process of restoring homeostasis, the endocannabinoid system works with a variety of hormones, enzymes and receptors. After the body reaches homoeostasis, all the resulting byproducts metabolize and get expelled from the body. Consequently, the resulting byproducts can’t affect the other processes taking place in the body.
How the Endocannabinoid System Affects Sleep?
The sleep and wake pattern is a sign that the process of homeostasis is in progress – it shows that the body is undergoing a balance of rest and activity that it needed for general vitality, survival and good health.
There are several ways through which the endocannabinoid system may affect this sleep and wake pattern, including but not limited to the following-:
It Modulates and Regulates the Sleep-Wake Cycle
The endocannabinoid system plays a direct role in maintaining the body’s wake and sleep cycle every day. This is usually achieved through a series of cell signaling involving CB1 receptors and others that are responsible for inducing sleep and stimulating wakefulness.
Plays Direct Roles on Certain Biological Functions Responsible for Sleep
The endocannabinoid system impacts a variety of body systems, some of which relates directly to the body’s daily functions. Some of these functions affected by this system may influence sleep either directly or indirectly. They include the following-:
- Mood – the system can help to regulate and stabilize the stress and mood levels. Mood and stress heavily impacts sleep.
- Perception of pain – a lot of studies are concluding that the endocannabinoid system is vital in regulation pain perception in the body. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors are heavily involved with this perception.
It is for these reasons that the bulk of the drugs being designed for treating pain and inflammation are now targeting the endocannabinoid system. Physical pain is usually a major hindrance to sleep, and if we could remove it, then falling and staying asleep would be easy.
- Immunity – endocannabinoid system has a set of receptors directly connected to the body’s immune cells – the CB2 receptors. These receptors are responsible for activating, suppressing, and directing various immune functions. A proper immune function contributes to general body health and comfort, both of which are vital for falling and staying asleep.
- Affects other health conditions – the systems also seem to play a role in disease protection and disease pathology of a variety of conditions, including cancer, neurodegenerative conditions, and cardiovascular diseases. These disorders usually come with profound effects on the quality and quantity of sleep.
It Affects the Process of Dreaming
The system impacts ongoing processes relating to emotions, cognition and consciousness – processes which scientists believe that have the ability to directly influence the content as well as the emotional intensity of the dreams that play in the mind at night.
Why not Combine both THC and CBD for Sleep?
There is not going to be a clear winner in the CBD vs THC for sleep debate for the simple reason that both play different and distinctive roles in sleep. However, it is possible to combine them for better sleep results. Combining them for such a goal is known as “The Entourage Effect”. In this case, you use both THC and CBD to supplement each other’s good qualities, while also helping to mitigate some of the bad sides of each.
For example, you already know that THC is very effective in helping you fall asleep. However, it is a psychoactive substance that is likely to keep you anxious and stop you from staying asleep if you use too much of it. CBD, on the other hand, is less psychoactive.
It implies that you can take CBD before bed alongside THC oil for sleep to get better results compared to taking just either. You may have to play along with the ratios till you get the sweet spot for each amount that gives you the best results for your sleep. Therefore, it is possible to combine both for sleeping and end up with very good results.
However, it is still possible to use their CBD before bed or THC oil for sleep to have better sleep at night. Irrespective of whichever you decide to go for, it should be able to address your unique sleeping circumstances.
If you have no problems with falling asleep and you don’t want to experience the psychoactive effects of THC, then CBD is a reliable and a readily available solution. However, if you are some kind of a deep sleeper, and your only problem is falling asleep, and all you need is something that can help induce sleepiness, then THC-based medication will be a right fit for you.
Whichever option you go for, however, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor.
On the recommended dosage, there is no one-fit-all solution. This is because people vary greatly when it comes to physiology and the prevailing sleep challenges.
You may start with what the manufacturers recommend then adjust upwards or downwards depending on the effects you will be getting. Just remember not to abuse any of these substances.
They may be addictive and you may not want to deal with the aftermath as well as the health consequences of being addicted to either CBD or THC.
Use Cannabis to Solve all your Sleep Issues
It is necessary for you to get adequate and quality sleep every night. This is a prerequisite for good health and for performing at your best and in the right state of mind the following day. Currently, there are different sleep challenges, and there are several sleeping pills and sleeping therapies designed to address them.
If you have tried some of these solutions and you were pleased with the results you got, maybe you should try using cannabis to treat your sleep problems. A lot of research and THC and CBD are giving very promising results, and though there are still several studies going on, the two have emerged as potential favorites for dealing with various sleep problems. Give them a try today and look forward to bedtime every day.