Can Marijuana Be a Sleep Aid?


Many people associate marijuana with relaxation, so it would stand to reason that it could potentially be used as a sleep aid.  But does weed really help you sleep? This depends on several factors such as the type of sleep/issues, frequency of use, and amount of THC present.

RELATED: What Dreams May (Not) Come: Sleep and Marijuana

Alcohol makes people drowsy, but a few hours later it must be expelled from the system and tends to interrupt REM sleep. Marijuana on the other hand seems to have a different effect.

Studies on the relationship between marijuana and sleep began in the 1970’s.  Participants were both heavy and nonusers.  In both groups, while low doses of THC decreased REM sleep, deep sleep increased for a short period of time. When higher doses of THC were introduced to the same groups, the amount of REM sleep decreased for both. Surprisingly, the total amount of sleep was not affected in this study, but has in others.

Going to sleep and staying asleep are two completely different things.  In the same study, there was a bit of an increase in REM sleep when THC was no longer being used, but it also took longer to all asleep and less total sleep time.

There are always indirect causes, such as withdrawal symptoms keeping people awake after heavy use.  Recent studies have also shown that the age when a person begins using marijuana can possibly cause sleep problems.

Overall, it may be easier to fall asleep and you may get more deep sleep but studies show that you lose out on some REM sleep, which is important.  Depending on your specific sleep issue, weed could be very helpful.


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