What is insomnia? How is Insomnia Normally Treated?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder where persons find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep throughout the night, or wake up early in the morning and aren’t able to fall asleep again. This dramatically affects a person’s quality of life, function, and well-being. According to a recent report from Statistics Canada, roughly one in three Canadians suffer from symptoms of insomnia, making it one of the most common sleeping disorders out there.

Insomnia leaves us feeling like we have to face each new day with fatigue, low energy, and generalized anxiety. Failing to get a good night’s rest can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health.

Although it might have more than one root cause, a medical cure for insomnia doesn’t seem that apparent. Many patients feel like they’ve tried just about everything out there to help them get a decent night’s sleep.

What options do insomnia sufferers have?

Patients with chronic insomnia may be given prescription medications to help them sleep, such as sleeping pills. There are also non-prescription sleep aids that use antihistamines to make the user drowsy.

However, many doctors recommend that prescription medications be used only as a last resort for people who suffer from insomnia, as some users may experience side effects from certain drugs.

Individuals with insomnia might find hope in using medical marijuana for their sleep problems. Research has shown the benefits of medical cannabis as a sleep aid and treatment solution for sleep disorders similar to insomnia.

Findings from such studies suggest that medical cannabis could be a safe alternative to conventional prescription and over-the-counter sleeping aids.

Current treatments encompass helping people with sleep hygiene, psychological and behavioral changes, and over-the-counter and prescription medications. Whilst some medication can be used in the short term, there are potential issues with effectiveness and even dependency in the long term.

Does Medical Cannabis Help You Sleep Better?

I’ll describe the effect of cannabis in general on sleep, before describing how medicinal cannabis fits into this afterward.

Cannabis has been used by people for sleep for a long time. However, it seems there may be factors in cannabis that cause it to be more or less useful.

One known (side) effect of cannabis is that it can cause sleepiness, or lethargy (tiredness). Although this may be seen as a side effect, especially for people who are working during the day and need to get out and about, it can actually be beneficial if it is taken before bedtime, as it can help with getting to sleep.

On the other hand, in one study, people who have been using cannabis who were quitting had worse sleep in the first two weeks of stopping.

Can medicinal cannabis be prescribed for insomnia?

The decision to prescribe a medication relies on weighing up the benefits and risks of starting, as well as seeing what other treatments patients have tried before considering medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis isn’t considered a first-line treatment, but in certain circumstances, it is considered in treating insomnia.

Which Form Of Cannabis Is Better For Insomnia?

Most medicinal cannabis, unlike recreational cannabis, tends to contain just two main cannabinoids, THC and CBD [link to other article – cannabis oil]. The main difference between these two is that THC is psychoactive whilst CBD is not. Psychoactive means that besides being able to cause hallucinations at higher doses, and dizziness, it can also cause agitation and increase anxiety.

For those reasons, you can probably see why the main cannabinoid of choice for insomnia is CBD! CBD on the whole tends to cause a much lower number, and more mild, side effects than THC, if any at all.

Although more studies are needed, there was one that found a decrease in time for a person to fall asleep when taking cannabidiol (compared with a placebo).

CBD vs. THC – What’s Better for Sleep Disorders?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive and non-sedative, while THC is psychoactive and is primarily responsible for inducing sleep.

Studies have shown that THC, which is also the compound that gives users a “euphoric” feeling, helps decrease the time it takes to fall asleep while also increasing the amount of time spent in stage 4 sleep, the deepest stage of sleep.

Another cannabinoid called cannabinol (CBN) is a similar compound in cannabis plants that appears to offer sleep and other health benefits. CBN is more common in aged cannabis, as THC naturally converts into CBN over time.

What are the Best Strains of Cannabis for Helping with Sleep Problems?

Best Medical Marijuana for Insomnia

Not all strains of cannabis are created equal when it comes to treating particular symptoms. In fact, some strains of cannabis can provide steady energy, so it’s best to avoid these before bed. We have compiled a list of some of the best relaxing strains for treating insomnia. Granddaddy Purple Strain, Mazar Strain, Tahoe OG Kush Strain, God’s Gift Strain, Northern Lights Strain 

Keep in mind that individual strains affect each person differently, and finding the solution for your insomnia may require some trial and error.

You might be familiar with the stereotype of cannabis users appearing “sleepy” or “drowsy,” and the idea might actually hold some truth.

That’s because some strains of cannabis are more calming and sedative than others.

While different strains can often deliver varying experiences to patients, Indica strains of cannabis tend to be more effective than Sativa strains due to higher levels of CBD to balance out the THC content of a given strain.

Recent findings suggest that Indica strains are usually more relaxing and soothing than Sativa strains. Sativa strains of cannabis, on the other hand, are typically more stimulating varieties of cannabis.

However, identifying the best strain of cannabis to help you with your sleep needs will depend on trying different strains and products to figure out what works best for you.

Granddaddy Purple Strain:

Granddaddy Purple, commonly known as “GDP” or “Granddaddy Purp,” is a famous Indica cross between Big Bud and Purple Urkle. This classic Indica strain smells and tastes like grape. Granddaddy Purple is great for treating symptoms like stress, chronic pain, insomnia, muscle spasms, and appetite loss. This strain exhibits high levels of myrcene, a terpene that is commonly believed to provide relaxing effects.

Mazar Strain:

Mazar comes from the mountains of Afghanistan and is a notorious sedative strain. Mazar tastes of hash, fruit, citrus, and flowers. For most, this strain can be good for nighttime relief of insomnia, stimulation of appetite, and easing chronic pain. This heavy Indica produces a euphoric kind of effect, helping you feel relaxed, happy, and ready for the best night’s rest.

Tahoe OG Kush Strain:

Tahoe OG is a strong and fast-acting strain that is great for those suffering from insomnia, pain, or lack of appetite. This nighttime hybrid provides an extremely lazy, heavy body sensation. Tahoe OG embodies all of the typical Indica effects with an added euphoric, Sativa-like kick.

God’s Gift Strain:

God’s Gift is a child of Granddaddy Purple and OG Kush, a true “gift” for insomniacs. This Indica strain will leave you feeling euphoric by producing a heavy body high that instills a deep sense of peace and relaxation to ease you into a peaceful sleep. Due to the high THC content, God’s Gift is not recommended for those just beginning with medical marijuana.

Northern Lights Strain:

Northern Light Strain is a pure Indica cherished for its resinous buds, fast flowering, and resilience during growth. Northern Light’s psychoactive effects settle in firmly throughout the body, relaxing muscles, and alleviating pain from the body. 

Best Medical Marijuana Products to Help You Sleep Better

There are various types of medical cannabis products, allowing for multiple ways of consuming cannabis. Depending on your particular needs and preferences, certain kinds of medical cannabis products may work better than others for helping to treat insomnia.

In addition to smoking dried cannabis flowers in a joint or with a pipe, patients can consume cannabis by taking edibles or capsules, using a vaporizer, or applying THC and CBD oils.

Preliminary evidence suggests that medical cannabis oils are an especially effective way to treat insomnia. Indica strains with higher THC have proven to be more effective in sedation and also promote a deep sleep state. CBD oil also helps with sleeping by inducing a state of relaxation and calm.

The effectiveness of each product depends on a variety of factors, including THC and CBD dosage and method of consumption. Personal factors can also affect how your body reacts to certain cannabis products. Our cannabis educators will help you determine the best cannabis products to suit your sleeping needs.