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Best Weed for Sleep

best weed for sleep

Cannabis can be a powerful tool for a good night’s sleep, whether you’re dealing with stress or simply age-related insomnia, a topic we discussed in a recent blog post.

However, when it comes time to find the best cannabis products for sleep, your choices may feel overwhelming. Today, we’ll take a look at cannabis products legally sold in medical and adult-use (recreational) dispensaries, breaking down the options. If you’ve ever been confused when it comes to strains (chemovars), ratios, or the pros and cons of edibles versus inhaled products, then today’s blog post is for you.

A Quick Refresher on THC, CBD and Terpenes

best weed for sleep

We previously talked about the role that the cannabinoids THC and CBD play in our post on using cannabis for pain.

  • CBD: This cannabinoid is the star player in hemp products which are federally legal. CBD hemp products are required to have below 0.3% THC, which is such a small amount that it’s not intoxicating and won’t get you high. You’ll also find CBD in cannabis products that contain higher levels of THC.
  • THC: The cannabinoid responsible for the “high,” if used in large enough amounts. Cannabis products containing over 0.3% THC remain illegal at the federal level and can only be legally purchased in states that have legalized adult-use (recreational) or medical marijuana.

Of course, CBD and THC aren’t the full story. Terpenes are increasingly understood to play a major role in cannabis’s therapeutic benefits. Plant terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many different plants—for example, the relaxing linalool terpene is found in lavender as well as cannabis.

Terpenes and other plant compounds work together with cannabinoids to create an entourage effect that provides therapeutic benefits beyond any one single compound. Terpenes can also help buffer THC’s intoxicating impact, based on research conducted by Dr. Ethan Russo.  

If you’ve ever wondered how some cannabis strains can promote relaxation and sleep while other strains are known for boosting energy and creativity, the answer is largely due to different terpene profiles. We’ll dig into this topic more below.

Finding the Best CBD:THC Ratio for Sleep

You may hear budtenders, your friends and especially the Leaf411 nurses talk about the importance of understanding the “ratio” in products. They’re referring to cannabis products manufactured with specific ratios of CBD to THC. For example, a 1:1 ratio product will contain equal parts of CBD and THC, while a 5:1 ratio product will contain five times as much CBD as THC. Understanding different ratios can be a huge help when finding the best sleep product.

Different types of insomnia

Insomnia usually affects the elderly more than young people, but over the last decade, increasing numbers of young people are being afflicted. Studies also suggest that women are more likely to experience insomnia.

There are several different types of insomnia. Sleep-onset insomnia is manifested by being unable to fall asleep at the beginning of the night’s rest and is closely associated with anxiety-related disorders.

Maintenance insomnia is the inability to remain asleep. People who suffer from this type usually don’t have problems with sleep-onset, but once they fall asleep, they wake up very easily and have a hard time going back to sleep.

Acute insomnia is a brief episode of sleeplessness, usually caused by a dramatic event, either positive or negative. There is usually no urgency to treat acute insomnia. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, is a long-term disorder. Doctors usually categorize chronic insomnia as having issues sleeping at least three nights per week, over at least a three-month period.

Lastly, comorbid insomnia is when your sleeplessness is linked with another condition, such as depression or anxiety. Chronic pain is also closely connected with insomnia.

Which type of cannabis will be most effective?

best weed for sleep

But for insomnia, indica flowers may be the way to go, as they have the strongest sedative qualities.

Indica flowers tend to have a dark-green shade, unlike the sativa strains, which are vibrantly light-green. The bud structures of the two subspecies are also quite different, the indica flowers have a condensed and firm bud form, while sativa flowers are looser with a string-like appearance.

Smoking indica-dominant hybrids is also an option, but pure indicas are definitely the best possible solution for insomnia, because the balance between the THC and CBD cannabinoids offer the greatest relaxation and serenity.

Strains for sleep

People report having good results with the following strains when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Just keep in mind that strains can vary from brand to brand, so your experience might be different depending on the product you use.

1. Hindu Kush

Depending on how much THC is in the product, Hindu Kush can be suitable for moderate to experienced consumers who want a potent indica widely reported to lull the sleep-challenged into a slumber.

THC and CBD content:

  • THC: 15 to 32 percent
  • CBD: <1 percent

2. Grandaddy Purple

This is another indica strain that’s actually purple in color and is known for its sedating, muscle-relaxing effects. It’s a classic cultivar beloved by the sleep-challenged — but watch that THC content! If you don’t have much experience with cannabis, beware the mid-to-high end of the spectrum.

THC and CBD content:

  • THC: 12.5 to 32 percent
  • CBD: <1 percent

3. Harlequin

If you’re hesitant about the psychoactive effects of THC, research suggests that consuming THC with a decent amount of CBD may mellow things out a bit.

Harlequin is a “1:1” strain , meaning it has nearly equal amounts of CBD and THC. It’s a good option if you’re new to cannabis or find that high-THC products make you feel anxious or paranoid. Its higher CBD content may also work better for folks dealing with pain-related sleep issues.

THC and CBD content:

  • THC: 7 to 15 percent
  • CBD: 8 to 10 percent

4. Grape Ape

Interested in exploring a strain high in myrcene, one of the terpenes suspected of being good for sleep? Consider Grape Ape, which can have a moderate to high amount of THC and is typically rich in this earth compound.

THC and CBD content:

  • THC: 15 to 25 percent
  • CBD: <1 percent

5. Girl Scout Cookies

Experienced consumers looking for a powerful sleep aid might want to consider Girl Scout Cookies, a high-THC, indica-dominant hybrid strain. It’s also rich in caryophyllene, another terpene that might be good for sleep.

THC and CBD content:

  • THC: 25 to 28 percent
  • CBD: <1 percent

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