Cannabis and sleep
In the United States alone, an estimated 70 million people suffer from sleep disorders, mostly insomnia. Although there are a plethora of conflicting opinions in research papers, the overall takeaway is that, depending upon the source and the method of administration, cannabis and sleep go hand in hand, and the cannabis or hemp extract known as CBD can help induce sleep.
As medical and recreational cannabis products become increasingly popular and available, it’s important to know the differences between the properties and effects of the marijuana that gets you high and the cannabidiol, or CBD, products that are specifically extracted for medical and therapeutic uses. With so many different products available, choosing correctly can be a tricky road to navigate, especially for the first time user looking for a sleep aid.
Cannabis and Sleep: The Cannabis Plant Can Help
The humble and pretty leafy green plant of the genus Cannabis has more unique identities than a shape shifter. It goes by the names of hemp, marijuana, pot, weed, and many more colorful handles. It also has many facets to its character, particularly when the wonderful world of science gets into dissecting the variety of cannabinoid compounds found within this one plant, each with its own unique properties. Believe it or not, there are at least 60 cannabinoids identified so far, each with its own properties and effects.
Differences in Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis
Cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant are separated by their psychotropic properties. THC, CBN, and CBDL are the ones known to produce a “high,” but there are also a few others that rarely come into view. THC is the prime mover in recreational marijuana and in many strains and usages of medical pot. THC, however, has not been shown to be very effective as a sleep aid because it often produces anxiety, and that is definitely a hindrance to a good night’s rest.
On the other hand, CBD, which is the most abundant cannabinoid found in the resin of the cannabis plant, has been shown to have quite the opposite effect. The more CBD in a plant, the less effective the potency of the THC, thus reducing the possibility of unwanted effects, including anxiety. This makes CBD, whether extracted from marijuana or hemp, more likely to be a trustworthy bedtime ally.
Sources of CBD: Hemp or Marijuana
CBD can be extracted from either marijuana, which has a high THC component, or from medicinal hemp, which has only traces of THC. THC is the psychotropic element that affects the brain. In fact, hemp is generally so CBD-laden that it can actually counteract the activity of any TCH present. No matter the source, CBD has significant medical benefits. The more concentrated the CBD level is, with a minimal presence of THC, the more likely it is to benefit the user seeking sleep, relaxation, or relief from anxiety.
What’s the Difference?
To begin with, both hemp and marijuana plants produce CBD, but the plants themselves are very dissimilar in uses and effects, and are markedly different in appearance. Marijuana is cultivated for its flowering buds and its THC content and is rather short and chunky. Hemp, on the other hand, is the tall, skinny big brother with long, reedy stalks that lend themselves to the manufacture of cloth, rope, and industrial materials.
Both plants contain cannabinoids and both contain CBD that can be used to make oils that are the most common medium for medical CBD applications. Hemp is high in CBD and low in THC, and cannabis is the opposite. Generally speaking, cannabis contains about 10-15% THC, while hemp checks in at a barely noticeable .3 to 1%.
It seems obvious that the oils created from the two plants are going to be much different in THC content as well. This means that you’ll want to take some time to shop around, research, and experiment to see which is right for you. Both have positive medical effects but when it comes to helping you catch some z’s, there can be differences.
Which is Better for Sleep?
Whether your CBD comes from the marijuana or hemp can make a difference in how well it works as a sleep aid as well as how it suits your personal needs.
Medical and recreational marijuana companies breed and cultivate their plants with all the care needed for the rarest of orchids. They want to make sure that their pot plants have the highest concentration of THC that they can engineer. In other words, the idea is to get smokers as high as possible. Along with feelings of euphoria, effects include pain relief and muscle relaxation. The downside is that other effects can include paranoia and anxiety. This can happen with marijuana-derived CBD oils, just as by smoking a joint, and it can hinder sleep.
Conversely, CBD oil made from hemp has negligible amounts of THC, making it safe, according to research, for even children and nursing mothers. Research shows that CBD can be used as an anti-anxiety remedy and its presence defeats the negative effects of THC. Studies on CBD and sleep are still in infancy, but what’s out there seems to suggest that while a small amount of CBD may make you alert, a larger dose of hemp CBD can leave you sawing logs. Which is the “dream” for those who can’t fall asleep long enough to have them.
Research shows that Cannabis and sleep are associated, and CBD has great benefits whether derived from hemp or marijuana. That said, hemp CBD has the advantage of being legal and accessible almost everywhere, including online. CBD extracted from marijuana will have a higher THC content and thus will fall under the pot laws of the state in which it was purchased. Hemp-based CBD most likely offers the safer, cheaper, and least psychotropic sleep aid.
No matter what CBD product you choose, only purchase it from reputable and well-known sources. It’s a plus if you have a doctor who can help guide you- preferably someone other than that guy on the boardwalk who’ll give you a prescription for medical marijuana.
That hemp seed oil that you find in the grocery store does not contain a significant amount of CBD and is used for health and nutrition purposes. CBD hemp oil is extracted from the buds, stems, and leaves of the plant.
However, if you want to learn about quality CBD that is potent enough to help with this subject, and many common and more serious ailments, then we urge you to read a popular article on this subject that we published HERE.