Cannabis and Sleep Part 1

As we age, sleep often becomes an elusive goal. The blissful routines of our younger years become disrupted by age related issues, medical conditions, and anxiety. I have found myself anxious many nights, worried I wouldn’t be able to find restful sleep – which then became a self-fulfilling prophecy as I lie awake worrying about falling asleep.

The real power of cannabis for sleep might be its ability to ease symptoms of conditions that keep people awake at night, such as anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. And the ripple effects can be powerful: when people get better sleep, their health problems are less likely to flare during the day.

Tinctures have a longer expected effect than an inhaled product (three to six hours versus two to four hours), and the dose can be adjusted easily. Start with 2.5 mg of THC about 20 to 30 minutes before bed; tinctures typically take between 20 and 30 minutes to take effect. Stay at that dose for a couple of nights, and then increase the dose 1 mg of THC at a time, giving each dose some time to see how it works for you. Take note of how you feel and how you sleep in a cannabis journal until you find your optimal dose. The goal is to find the lowest effective dose for you.

If you’re inhaling marijuana, start with two puffs at bedtime and wait 15 to 20 minutes to see if you feel anything before trying more. I generally don’t recommend starting with edibles for sleep because they can be difficult to dose predictably and can take hours to kick in. Once you have a sense of your personal best dose of cannabis, however, edibles can be added to the toolbox.

Look for these terpene profiles when purchasing cannabis products:

  • Myrcene and Limonene for relaxing and calming effects
  • Caryophyllene for stress-reducing effects
  • Linalool for sedative and pain-relieving properties
  • Cannabis use in patients with insomnia and sleep disorders:  Retrospective chart review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9067069/