Sleep is crucial to our health and general well-being. This is why insomnia can be a particularly pernicious condition. There are different causes of insomnia, and up to 40 million people in the US alone are thought to suffer from sleeplessness.
The worst part about insomnia is that medications don’t always work, and those that work tend to have serious side effects. As a result, a lot of people who suffer from insomnia tend to turn to more natural solutions or sleep aids.
Medical professionals recommend avoiding caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bedtime, reducing exposure to screens before bedtime, exercising, and keeping to a strict sleep schedule.
In addition to this, experts also recommend natural sleep aids like melatonin, valerian root, lavender, passionflower, cannabis, and so much more.
Out of all these sleep aids, cannabis has been getting a lot of attention in recent years as many more people have access to it now that authorities have rescinded laws prohibiting its use in recent years.
Before you begin your quest for the best strain for insomnia, here are some things you need to know.
There are over 700 cannabis strains in existence today, and breeders are steadily creating more. Out of these strains, these are the top five best strains for sleep.
Granddaddy Purple is a popular Indica-dominant hybrid marijuana strain that is also known as ‘GDP’, ‘Granddaddy Purps’, and ‘Grand Daddy Purple’.
It has a distinct tinge of purple, blue, and green in its leaves. This strain was created by California-based breeder Ken Estes in 2003.
Granddaddy Purple is the result of crossing Purple Urkle and Big Bud.
According to some sources, it is a cross between Mendo Purps, Skunk, and Afghanistan.
Granddaddy Purple has a THC level of around 17% to 27% and it has a low CBD level of around 1% or less. This strain contains terpenes like alpha-pinene, humulene, and caryophyllene.
Granddaddy Purple is well known for its euphoric and sedating effects, so it is generally recommended for people with insomnia.
It produces the perfect nighttime high. It will make you feel calm and deeply relaxed. This strain is also recommended for stress, pain, and muscle spasms.
Tahoe OG Kush is an Indica-dominant hybrid marijuana strain also known as just ‘Tahoe OG.’ It was created by California-based breeder Ganja Guru.
Tahoe OG is a descendant of the original OG Kush. Ganja Guru is thought to have interbred OG Kush with other Kush strains to create Tahoe OG. It is named after the Tahoe region, where it was created.
Tahoe OG Kush has a THC level of around 20% to 21%, a CBD level of less than 1%, and a CBN level of around 1%. The terpenes found in this strain include limonene, caryophyllene, and myrcene.
Tahoe OG Kush has a euphoric, strong soothing effect and tends to be good at combating stress. This strain is well known to promote a good night’s sleep and combat insomnia. It is also recommended for depression and anxiety.
God’s Gift is a powerful Indica-dominant strain. It is a cross between OG Kush and Granddaddy Purple.
This strain is thought to have been created in 1995, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. BC Bud Depot and Scorpion Crew are the two top breeders associated with this strain.
God’s Gift has a THC level of around 18% to 27% and a very low CBD level of less than 1%. The terpenes in this strain include limonene, caryophyllene, and myrcene.
God’s Gift produces a peaceful, sedative effect. It will put you in a state of complete relaxation.
This is why this strain is recommended for people with insomnia. God’s Gift is certainly a nighttime strain. It is recommended for insomnia, pain, migraines, muscle spasms, anxiety, PTSD, and depression.
Bubba Kush is an Indica-dominant hybrid strain also known as ‘Bubba’, ‘BK’, and ‘Bubba OG Kush’. This strain originated in the 1990s and was created accidentally in breeder Matt Berger’s garden.
Berger was experimenting with a cut of Afghan Kush in his garden, and this inadvertently intermingled with Northern Lights to create Bubba Kush.
Bubba Kush has a THC level of around 19% to 27% and a low CBD level of less than 1%. The terpenes in this strain include myrcene, limonene, and caryophyllene.
Bubba Kush has a powerful relaxing effect. It will have you feeling couch-locked, but still functional with a clear mind. This is an excellent strain for people dealing with insomnia. Bubba Kush is also recommended for insomnia, stress, depression, and ADHD.
Northern Lights is an Indica-dominant hybrid marijuana strain also known as ‘NL’. The origins of this strain are disputed. It was possibly created in Washington in the 1970s before making its way to the Netherlands where breeder Neville Schoemaker created many Northern Lights phenotypes. This strain is a cross between Afghani and Thai.
Northern Lights has a THC level of around 16% to 22%, but some strains can have over 30% THC. It has a very low CBD level – less than 0.5%. Northern Lights contain different terpenes including myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene.
Northern Lights produces a body-melting relaxing feeling. It also has a euphoric and calming effect on the mind. Northern Lights works excellently at combating insomnia. It is also good for combating chronic stress, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
These are some of the best strains for insomnia, but there are many others. We recommend that you research thoroughly before trying any strain. Also, consult a medical expert before using cannabis if you have any cardiovascular condition.
If you talk to any marijuana user, they will admit that the plant tends to help them sleep better. Studies show that people who use cannabis occasionally and daily benefit from its sleep-inducing properties. So you don’t have to be a long-term user to enjoy its benefits.
The reason why cannabis is very effective as a sleep aid is that it restores your natural sleep cycle by working with your body.
There are many ongoing studies to improve our understanding of exactly how cannabis works as a sleep aid. What we do know is that cannabis interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to bring about its effects.
It binds to particular receptors in the body. The endocannabinoid system is a biological signaling system that is composed of a complex network of nerves spread out across the body. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for several biological processes including sleep.
Another reason why cannabis is effective at combating insomnia is that it tends to also tackle the underlying conditions that make it impossible to fall asleep.
There are numerous cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. However, the two most popular ones that we know about are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is one at the core of cannabis’ sleep-inducing properties. A 2008 study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that cannabis strains with a higher level of THC tend to work better for promoting sleep.
They also help you feel more rested by reducing the REM stage of your sleep so you spend more time in a deep sleep state. While strains with a high level of THC can be good for promoting sleep, too much THC can have the opposite effect.
Although CBD doesn’t directly promote sleep like THC, it does tend to put people in a peaceful and relaxed state which can allow you to fall asleep easily.
One lesser-known cannabinoid that may play a key role in cannabis’ sleep-inducing properties is cannabinol (CBD). When THC is left to age for a long time, it converts to CBN. THC is more effective at promoting sleep when combined with CBN.
It should be noted that cannabis can have slightly different effects on people with insomnia.
Yes, using cannabis can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a more restful night's rest, but not all cannabis strains have the same effect. Sativa strains tend to make you feel euphoric and energized, so they’re not particularly good for aiding sleep.
Indica strains, on the other hand, tend to make you feel deeply relaxed so they’re generally better for people with insomnia. Experts generally recommend Indica strains for use at night and Sativa strains for use during the daytime.
Indica strains usually have a high level of THC which may be one of the reasons they’re good at promoting sleep. However, as indicated above, very high levels of THC can exacerbate insomnia and cause anxiety.
Apart from the cannabinoid content of a marijuana strain or whether it is Indica or Sativa, another thing to keep an eye on is its terpene content. Particular terpenes like myrcene have been found to promote relaxation and sedation so they’re excellent for combating sleeplessness.
Some other terpenes that are equally good for promoting sleep include terpineol, linalool, limonene, and caryophyllene.
While we can clearly say that Indica strains may work better for promoting sleep, there’s a lot that determines how cannabis works for each individual. The best way to know if a particular strain will help you to fall asleep easily is to experiment with it.
Before we discuss the best ways to use pot to combat sleeplessness, it is essential to note that dried cannabis works better for insomnia than fresh cannabis.
The reason for this is that when cannabis is dried, some of the THC in it converts to CBN. And as indicated above, a combination of CBN and THC works better for promoting sleep than THC alone.
There are numerous ways of using cannabis including topically, sublingually, vaping/smoking it, or consuming it in food or drinks. Out of all these options, consuming marijuana-infused food or drink may be the best choice as the effect lasts longer and it has higher bioavailability.
The only issue is that it can take longer before you start feeling the effect. With that said, if you’re averse to eating or drinking cannabis-infused products for any reason, you can opt for using a tincture sublingually.
Vaping or smoking cannabis also works equally well, but you may have to use a sizable amount to enjoy the full effects.
To get the best results when you use weed to combat insomnia, there are some things to keep in mind. It is generally advisable to use a cannabis product at least one hour before bedtime to ensure that the effects have kicked in already by the time you’re ready to go to bed.
It can be frustrating to lay in bed rolling around and waiting for the weed to kick in. This is particularly true if you use an edible.
You also don’t want the effect to kick in at the exact moment you’re going to bed as it may boost your cerebral activity which may make it a little more difficult to sleep.
As indicated, cannabis does not have the same effects on everyone. Some people have experienced more anxiety and other undesirable symptoms after using weed. It's generally advisable to consult an expert for guidance.
And keep in mind that you may have to experiment with a few strains before you find one that works perfectly at transporting you to dreamland.
While cannabis does not have the same side effects as over-the-counter sleep medications, it does have some side effects of its own such as increased levels of anxiety, paranoia, impaired short-term memory, strange dreams, and feeling the effects in the morning.
Many marijuana strains are perfect for promoting sleep and combating insomnia. The five highlighted in this article are some of the best. But some other equally good options are Hindu Kush, Harlequin, Girl Scout Cookies, ACDC, Gelato, Pink Kush, Grape Ape, and Gelato to name a few.
No, Sativa strains make you feel energized and focused. This is why they’re good for use during the day when you want to stay focused and productive.