Photo Credit: healthline.com
You watch the clock change from 12:30 AM to 1:05 AM to 2:23 AM to 3:15 AM as your mind races, going through your to-do lists, thinking about work and the groceries and obligations. You spent all day so tired, longing to go to bed, so why is it so difficult to fall asleep once you’re there?
According to the World Health Organization, insomnia is a problem that over two-thirds of adults in developed nations suffer from. Sleep loss has become an epidemic, with a global rise in sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
After waking up from just one night of not getting enough sleep, you feel tired, grumpy and not yourself, but the effects of long-term sleep deprivation can be much more serious. Missing out on getting at least seven hours of sleep per night over a long period of time has been known to seriously weaken your immune system, cause weight gain, affect your balance, coordination and memory, increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes and impact your mood and ability to think clearly.
Let’s say you’ve tried all the tips and tricks your doctor has suggested such as turning off all electronics before bed to avoid blue light, sticking to a regular sleep/wake schedule, exercising during the day to physically tire you out and avoiding long naps, and you still can’t sleep--is your only solution prescription sleeping pills?
Not any more; there is an herbal remedy that has been used as a sleep cure for its medicinal qualities for thousands of years that was very recently legalized in Canada: cannabis.
How does cannabis help you sleep?
In our bodies, CB1 receptors are involved with sleep regulation. Medical studies from as early as the 70’s revealed that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol found in cannabis) affects the CB1 receptor and causes an increase in deep sleep and a decrease in REM sleep, which affects the way our bodies rest. If this is an adjustment that may help ease your suffering from insomnia, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor and decide if this sleep cure is right for you.
What should I look for?
Cannabis studies have revealed that strains heavy in CBD don’t have much of an effect on sleep but, strains heavy in THC are the most effective in helping you fall asleep more easily and have a restful sleep.
There are two variations of the cannabis plant: indica and sativa, with two different origins and effects.
For sleep, indica is the way to go because it’s considered to be more sedating and relaxing due to its higher concentration of THC.
How do I dose?
The golden rule here is to ‘go low, and start slow.’ Like with any new herbal medication, it’s best to start slowly with a low dose to see what effect it will have on you, and then increase as you see fit.
A great way to help ensure you will get your dosing right is to work with a Cannabis Coach. This is a natural wellness expert that specializes in cannabis who will work with you to evaluate your needs and assist you with delivery methods, ratios and products to help make the most out of your cannabis care.
If you are going to try on your own, there are three main delivery methods: inhalation, absorption and ingestion.
Inhalation is done via vaping or smoking and is both quick to take effect and quick to leave the body, lasting approximately two to three hours. If falling asleep is your issue, this may be an effective solution. If staying asleep is your issue, you may want to consider a method that’s more long-lasting.
Absorption is done via cannabis oils under your tongue. It’s also quick to take effect but remains in your system longer than inhalation but shorter than ingestion. It’s a great middle ground between the two methods.
And, finally, ingestion is done by eating cannabis oils in edibles such as cookies or gummies or teas. It’s slow-acting and slow to leave your body, which can be ideal for those who have trouble staying asleep but also very difficult to gauge how much is enough because it takes a long time to take effect. Be cautious when using this method that you don’t overdo it.
Cannabis may not be the right solution for everyone’s insomnia and it’s definitely advisable to talk to a doctor before trying this method, but it’s been used as an herbal sleep cure for thousands of years and can be a great alternative to prescription medication in Canada.
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