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Cannabis and Sleep

Quality sleep is the key to good health and general wellness.  Getting adequate rest and sleep can improve memory, help you live longer, curb inflammation, improve performance at school or work and can lower stress.  Those who are sleep deprived can experience daytime sleepiness, clumsiness, general irritability and weight loss or weight gain.

Statistics Canada reports that short sleep duration and poor sleep quality is prevalent among Canadians.  Results published by the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) conducted between 2007 to 2013, reports that one-third of participants were experiencing less than 7 hours of quality sleep per night.

The Sleep Association reports that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, with short-term issues reported by about 30% of adults and chronic insomnia by 10%.  It also states as many as 37% of 20 to 39 year-olds and 40% of 40 to 59 year-olds report short sleep duration.

Some factors that can contribute to sleep disorders include physical pain, asthma, stress, depression and even alcohol use.  The traditional treatment for most sleep disorders are pharmaceuticals, which include hypnotics and antidepressants.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) treatment can help some patients develop general coping strategies, which can affect sleep patterns favourably.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests sticking to a routine and to implement relaxation techniques before bedtime such as yoga and reducing natural and artificial lighting.  Avoid day-time naps, caffeine before bed, exercise daily and invest in a quality mattress and supportive pillows for comfort.  It is always good practice to turn off your cell phones and laptops, if possible.

There are many natural ways to get better sleep also.  There are supplements available over the counter such as melatonin, magnesium, lavender oil and some forms of tea.  Many individuals have had success with acupuncture ‘for sleep’ treatments, which is commonly used in treating insomnia in China.

Cannabis is another popular treatment for sleep issues.  These products are typically higher in THC and are Indica strains which induce heavier, sleepy effects.  Use these products with caution and under the supervision of your doctor if anxiety is a factor for you.  CBD can also be a powerful anti-anxiety treatment: it can help overall sleep quality and is a suitable alternative for those with anxiety.

For those interested in using Cannabis for sleep select strains high in CBN – this is the most sedative compound.  Some suggested strains would be Strawberry Haze, Animal Cookies or White Widow.  When used in the right ratios, CBN can induce sleep for up to 5 to 6 hours.  If you are vaping your dried product, the boiling point for CBN is said to be 185°C or 365°F for the best results.

The recommended method for treating sleep issues with Cannabis would be to consume infused edibles, tinctures or ingestible oils, for their long-term effects.  You can also vaporize or smoke the dried herb right before bedtime, for immediate effects.   Some suggested strains to try are Granddaddy Purple, Tahoe OG Kush and Ogre Kush.

Everyone reacts differently to Cannabis and it might be necessary to experiment with different strains and methods to find the combination that works best for you.  Always start low and go slow!

*Consult your doctor for professional advice.

References:  Health.com, Wikipedia, ASA, Statistics CanadaNational Sleep Foundation, WebMD, WebMDValley Sleep Center, WebMDNational Center for Biotechnology Information, Leafly, MMJ Canada and Leafly.

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