Roll roll roll, flip flip flip, and an hour later, you are still on your bed with your eyes wide open? Want a good night sleep? Cannabis may be able to help.
A study published in June 2015 tried to find out the mechanism of how cannabis improve sleep disorders. Researchers did a correlation study between the type and concentrations of cannabinoids (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and cannabidiol or CBD) in different strains of cannabis that human subjects consumed and their sleep quality in a dispensary in California.
Subjects who self-reported using cannabis to treat sleep problems have a choice of what strains of cannabis to use such as sativa/sativa varieties, indica/ indica varieties or hybrid of both varieties. These participants from dispensaries are better subjects as they use cannabis straight from the plant. A cannabis plant contains different kinds of cannabinoids that can interact with each other. Examples of cannabinoids such as CBD which have both psychoactive and intoxicated effects and ∆9-THC which provides the primary psychoactive effects might change the characteristics of one strain.
“Studies have examined sleep effects following laboratory administration of cannabinoids, but laboratory based studies do not necessarily translate to “real world” behaviors as cannabis choice is not afforded within the laboratory context”
Out of the 163 subjects, 50% of them used cannabis to treat insomnia symptoms and 9% used cannabis for nightmares. Most of the subjects preferred to use sativa and primary sativa varieties for nightmares while not so much preference for insomnia and sleep quality.
What kind of cannabis to use? According to the study, there seems to be no definite answer. Subjects who have a harder time sleeping (i.e., subjects who have insomnia or longer self-report latency) used cannabis that have a higher concentration of CBD. While subjects who often resorted to sleep aids, used lower THC cannabis than who were less dependent on sleep aids. There was no association between cannabis use and sleep problems.
It is also worth noting that indica has higher THC than sativa and therefore more likely to develop cannabis dependence or cannabis use disorder (CUD). Therefore, for those who does not want to have major psychoactive effects, THC concentration might be something that you want to pay attention to.
Although this is a very primitive study of its kind, it certainly sets a ground for future cannabis use studies because in one cannabis plant there are hundred other cannabinoids besides THC and CBD. The real value of cannabis would not be discovered unless more extended research can be done.
Photo courtesy of Melanie Hughes