Finding the best cannabis for sleep is a very personal thing. It takes a lot of trial and error, and when you do find it, it’s like finding that puzzle piece that’s been missing for weeks. And just like that, you’ll be sawing logs and sleeping like a baby.
However, there is more to consider than just getting high and falling asleep. If you use cannabis as a sleep aid and it works wonders for you, you’re the envy of all insomniacs, and you probably don’t need to read this. But if you are like many of us sleepless peeps, there’s a lot to consider before you roll a joint in hopes of getting some shuteye.
First, let’s go over a few quick things:
Four aspects of medical marijuana must be considered before you choose the best cannabis for sleep:
- The amount of THC
- The amount of CBD
- The terpenes
- The strain
Integrative Cannabis Physician Dr. June Chin and author of Women and Weed Elana Frankel talk about how we can get more sleep using medical cannabis and CBD, but that it also requires having a sleep hygiene routine. Watch below.
THC and CBD: Why you probably need both
THC is the cannabinoid that gives you that “high” feeling. Some people love it, others don’t.
Studies have shown that THC seems to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep. However, it also may decrease REM sleep. So, generally speaking, the best cannabis for sleep is THC dominant.
But, and this is a big but, THC doesn’t always agree with people. One of its unpleasant side effects is anxiety. Which obviously hinders sleep. So, it’s all about finding balance.
And that’s where CBD comes in.
CBD is the other most common cannabinoid for sleep after THC. CBD has none of the psychoactive effects of THC and is known to reduce anxiety, keep you calm, and decrease pain. All good things for sleeping.
However, sometimes it has an energizing effect.
But, again, it’s all about the balance.
So, now you can see why you’re likely to need THC and CBD together for the best sleep.
Bottom line, if you’re new to this whole cannabis for sleep thing, go easy on the strains that are high in THC. Until you know if it will cause you anxiety, a light dose is the way to go. A light dose can nudge you into lalaland, but too much can cause panic.
Finding the best cannabis for sleep isn’t just about the THC and CBD levels.
Terpenes play a part in this whole puzzle. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that also play an essential role in the health benefits of cannabis. They give the plants their smell and taste.
For example, lemons and lavender both have terpenes. Think of aromatherapy. Lemons are known for energizing effects and can lift your mood. The lemony scent comes from a terpene called limonene.
Lavender, on the other hand, is known for its calming effects. Linalool is the terpene behind that calm.
Believe it or not, different cannabis strains have those terpenes and more.
The best types of terpenes for sleep:
Myrcene has powerful sedative effects (it keeps you couch-bound)
Pinene reduces anxiety, stress, and pain
Caryophyllene is also a pain reliever and stress reducer
Cannabis Strains: What are they?
So now you know the basics of CBD, THC and terpenes but wait… there’s more. There is the puzzle piece of different strains.
Generally, cannabis strains fall into three different categories.
- Sativa gives you an energetic, uplifting, and creative buzz. It’s generally not the best cannabis for sleeping.
- Indica, which provides a zen-like sedative calm, is considered the best cannabis strain for sleep.
- Hybrids have balanced effects. These can be good if you just want to chill and not be conked out.
Therefore, if you’re looking to catch more than 40 winks, the best marijuana strains for sleep are indica dominant strains.
Why can’t you sleep?
One more thing, why you can’t sleep makes a difference as well. Is it because of pain? Or because you’re anxious and can’t turn off your mind? Have you always had trouble sleeping? Or are you just a night owl?. Figuring that out will also help determine the best cannabis strains to help you sleep.
So, now what you’ve been waiting for… the best cannabis for sleep.
The Best Cannabis for Sleep
Granddaddy Purple is on every list of the best cannabis strain for sleep. It’s a tried-and-true THC dominant cannabis strain that has been on the scene for a while. It’s known for aiding sleep and has high levels of myrcene, which may glue you to your bed-not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s an indica strain that’s actually a lovely shade of purple, hence the name. Granddaddy Purple will help sedate you and even has some muscle-relaxing effects.
It does have a pretty high THC content, so newbies, beware. Also, some people report having nightmares after partaking in Granddaddy Purple, so if that happens, just try a different kind.
This old-school cannabis strain has been helping people get their beauty sleep since the 1980s. It’s considered the best medical marijuana for insomnia. It contains a high level of THC, so it’s going to give you plenty of those psychoactive effects. It’s not for the faint of heart or the newbie, but it will put you into (Northern) lights-out territory.
Because of the high levels of THC, start with a little amount, no bongs, just a quick hit before bed. If you’re not used to it, it might cause a hangover.
If you’re shy about the high, Remedy could be the best cannabis sleep aid for you. It’s got virtually no THC, so you won’t get stoned.
It has a healthy dose of myrcene topped off with a bit of pinene and caryophyllene, so you’re sorted on the terpene front.
Even though it’s THC-free, it is still an indica strain, so it helps you sleep by calming your mind and relieving pain. Overall, Remedy is a good cannabis sleep aid if you don’t want any THC effects at all.
If you are just getting into medical marijuana or know that high levels of THC make you paranoid or anxious, Harlequin might be the answer. It’s a 1:1 strain which means it has equal parts CBD and THC. So, if you aren’t interested in that high feeling, this could be ideal.
Because CBD is great for reducing pain, Harlequin is ideal for pain-related sleep troubles.
Harlequin is a sativa dominant hybrid. So why is it on this list? Because its dominant terpenes are myrcene and pinene and the 1:1 ratio will chase away the anxiety and pain without getting you too high. For newbies, it’s the best cannabis for sleep if you are ok trying a little THC.
Experienced smokers need not apply for this strain because you’ll need something that packs more of a wallop.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)
No, not Thin Mints or Samoas, but you might need those to stave off the munchies.
The strain is only for the well-trained pot smoker and is known as one of the best indica cannabis strains for sleep. It’s a potent cannabis for sleep aid and packs a punch with its high THC level. In addition, it has loads of caryophyllene, so it’ll knock you out.
Sweet and Sour Widow
Like Harlequin, this is another marijuana strain for sleep with a balanced ratio of CBD:THC.
It’s an indica dominant hybrid strain with little to no psychoactive effects. It’s excellent for novices whose aim is just to chill out and sleep.
The small amount of THC will make you drowsy, and the CBD will curb any paranoia you might have. Myrcene adds to the sleepy time effect. If you want to try out a balanced ratio, Sweet and Sour Widow might be the best cannabis for sleep to try.
The name says it all. It’s an indica hybrid strain that isn’t recommended for beginners. Its high THC content could be anxiety-inducing if you’re not used to it. But if you are happy as a clam using THC, God’s Gift might be the best weed for insomnia.
It’s a cross between OG Kush and Granddaddy Purple and is not to be taken lightly.
God’s Gift is a mood booster if you’re feeling down with a side dish of deep relaxation. You might have to peel open your eyelids once you’ve melted into your couch, so it’s best to smoke a little hit just before jumping into bed.
Tips to get started with cannabis for sleeping
If you’re a beginner and don’t want to get very high, the best ratio to start with is 1:1. Equal parts CBD to THC. It’s better to start slow and work your way up, then dive in headfirst and feel uncomfortable for a few hours.
The thing is, a small amount of THC won’t get you high if balanced with CBD. And CBD alone isn’t the best cannabis for sleep-it can actually make you more alert. So, strains with a small-medium amount of THC and a small amount of CBD are a good place to start and should help you catch those much needed Zzzz’s.
If you’re not a newbie, it’s a different story. Since you already know how THC affects you, you can start with a higher dose.
But research and trial and error are everything. What works for you may not work for your friends, so be patient.
Leafly has an entire section of its website dedicated to the best cannabis for sleep. It’s a great place to start looking if you want to do some research.
Or if you really want to do a deep dive and learn about how it can help with sleep and more health issues you may be having (because let’s be real — most of us are suffering from more than lack of sleep and medical cannabis and CBD can potentially help!) then you have to check out Modern Aging’s online program Medical Cannabis and CBD For Women’s Health with integrative cannabis physician Dr. June Chin. Dr. June breaks down the science as well as practical application to get you feeling better.
Edibles vs. Inhaling: which is better?
If you smoke it, you’ll feel it faster. If you eat it, it lasts longer. So, it depends on what you are looking for.
If you want to test out gummies for sleeping, there are some fast-acting ones on the market. Otherwise, eat them an hour or so before bed, ideally on an empty stomach. But remember to give yourself a full night of sleep as you try the different kinds.
There is no way to tell which ones are the best sleeping gummies until you try them out. Happy chewing!
The Last Smoke
Does marijuana help you sleep? The short answer is yes. But it’s essential to figure out which is the best cannabis for sleep for your body and mind. It’s very personal, so trial and error is a must. Don’t get discouraged. Keep trying new strains, and you’ll find something.