Trying to find cannabis to help you sleep? Learn about the effects of different cannabinoids and find out how to shop for the best cannabis for sleep.

How to Shop for the Best Cannabis for Sleep

At SunMed Growers in Maryland, we cultivate natural, sun-grown cannabis that delivers the therapeutic benefits our customers are looking for. Along with pain relief and relaxation, one benefit many customers are seeking is a good night’s rest.

With its calming and sedative effects, cannabis can be a natural solution to sleepless nights. But to get the intended effects, it’s essential to know what type of cannabis you’re buying. So let's explore how cannabis can help you sleep and which strains will help you get a little extra shut eye.

How Does Cannabis Help You Sleep?

The magic lies in the plant's compounds called cannabinoids, with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) being the most widely recognized. These compounds interact with our body's endocannabinoid system, influencing a variety of physiological processes.

When it comes to sleep, users report that cannabis can help in reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and relaxing muscles, thus making it easier to fall and stay asleep. Moreover, certain strains of cannabis are particularly high in a terpene called myrcene, known to have sedative properties, further amplifying the plant's ability to promote restful slumber.

Does Cannabis Affect Your Sleep Quality?

While cannabis is widely known for its sleep-inducing properties, its effect on sleep quality is multifaceted. On the one hand, many users report that cannabis aids in achieving deeper and more restful sleep, often reducing or eliminating the occurrence of nightmares, especially in individuals with PTSD. On the other hand, some studies suggest that regular consumption of THC-rich cannabis might lead to a decrease in the duration of the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep, which is critical for memory processing and emotional regulation. 

Therefore, while cannabis can be effective in helping users fall asleep, it's essential to use it mindfully and in moderation to ensure the maintenance of a healthy sleep cycle.

Does Weed Help with Insomnia?

Many people report that THC helps them fall asleep and get stretches of deep, dreamless sleep that help them feel well-rested. However, as mentioned above, some studies suggest that regular consumption of high THC cannabis may lead to an overall reduction in REM sleep, which is important to a healthy sleep cycle. 

For these reasons, weed may be an effective way to treat some of the issues associated with insomnia, but it’s still important to consult with a physician about other contributing lifestyle factors that may be contributing to the problem. Think of it like Tylenol: Tylenol will help you if you get a headache, but if you’re getting bad headaches every day, you should see a doctor to look into the underlying cause.

What’s Best for Sleep: Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid?

Whether you’re a casual smoker or a cannabis connoisseur, you’ve probably heard the terms “Sativa” and “Indica” before. They refer to broad categories of strains characterized by their tendency to produce a particular kind of high. Let’s look at them in depth..

Indica

Indica strains are often associated with relaxation and body-centric effects. They’re generally considered the go-to choice for nighttime use. These strains are characterized by their broad leaves and typically hail from cooler climates, resulting in a denser plant. 

Physiologically, Indicas tend to promote relaxation of the muscles and the mind, making them a prime candidate for those seeking a sleep aid. Their naturally higher levels of the terpene myrcene further enhance their sedative qualities. So, if you're searching for cannabis that will help you wind down after a long day and prepare your body and mind for sleep, Indica strains provide a number of popular options.

Sativa

Sativa strains stand in contrast to Indicas, known more for their energizing and uplifting effects. With their slender leaves and taller growth patterns, they originate from warmer climates and are often associated with daytime use. Sativas stimulate the mind, and have been found to enhance creativity, focus, and sociability. 

At the same time, much like coffee, some people have reported “crashing” off of high-intensity sativas. This is a case where the high THC content might help get you to sleep, but may not be the best choice for a healthy sleep cycle.

Hybrids

Hybrid strains are, as the name suggests, a combination of both Indica and Sativa genetics. This blending creates a spectrum of effects that can range anywhere between the relaxing attributes of Indicas to the energizing kick of Sativas. Hybrids offer a versatile solution for users, allowing them to find a strain that matches their specific needs. 

Which Cannabinoids Are Best for Sleep?

The cannabis plant is a botanical powerhouse, boasting over a hundred different cannabinoids, each with its own unique properties and potential benefits. While THC and CBD might be the most well-known, a multitude of others play their roles in influencing how cannabis affects our bodies and minds. 

THC

THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the plant's most renowned “high.” Beyond its mind-altering effects, THC has several reported therapeutic benefits, including pain relief, appetite stimulation, and, notably, aiding in sleep.

CBD

When it comes to sleep, CBD operates slightly differently. Instead of acting as a direct sedative, CBD addresses factors that might be causing sleep disturbances. For instance, CBD is known to combat anxiety, pain, and inflammation — all common culprits that can disrupt one's rest.

By mitigating these issues, CBD creates a sleep-conducive environment. For those wary of the “high” associated with THC, CBD can be a preferable option, offering relaxation and calm without pronounced psychoactive effects.

CBN

CBN, or Cannabinol, is a lesser-known cannabinoid but is gradually making its mark in the realm of sleep aids. Unlike THC and CBD, which are directly produced by the cannabis plant, CBN is a byproduct resulting from the oxidation of THC. As THC ages and is exposed to oxygen, it slowly converts to CBN. 

While CBN is believed by many to be helpful in aiding sleep, research is in the nascent stages, and the evidence supporting its use as a sleep aid is seen as insufficient to some in the medical community. However, some studies did associate drowsiness with subjects who paired CBN with THC.

While CBN may hold some promise as a natural solution for sleep disturbances, those looking for a scientifically-backed sleep solution should look to CBD or THC in the proper doses.

What’s the Difference Between THC and CBD for Sleep?

THC and CBD function very differently. THC directly influences the central nervous system to induce feelings of relaxation and drowsiness, making it a direct sedative. This can be especially helpful for those who need immediate sleep assistance or those who struggle to stay asleep throughout the night.

On the other hand, CBD works more subtly. Instead of sedating the user, CBD targets underlying causes of sleep disturbances, like anxiety or pain. By alleviating these issues, CBD can foster a more peaceful environment for sleep.

11 Best Cannabis Strains for Sleep

Knowing your strains is important, as more and more researchers agree that the distinction between Indica and Sativa strains is far less important than the THC content and other ingredients. From the relaxing embrace of specific Indicas to the balanced serenity offered by select hybrids, there's a strain tailored to fit every sleeper's needs. Below, we've curated a list of the top 11 cannabis strains for sleep. 

1. Granddaddy Purple

A classic in the realm of sleep-inducing strains, Granddaddy Purple (often abbreviated as GDP) is an Indica-dominant hybrid known for its deep purple hues and a fragrant blend of berry and grape aromas. Its lineage traces back to two iconic strains: Purple Urkle and Big Bud. GDP reportedly not only offers profound relaxation of the body but also calms the mind, making it an ideal choice for those seeking an escape from insomnia or just a deep, rejuvenating night's sleep. The presence of myrcene, a terpene renowned for its sedative properties, further solidifies Granddaddy Purple's reputation as one of the best types of cannabis for sleep.

2. Northern Lights

Northern Lights stands as one of the most famous Indica strains of all time, revered for its resin-rich buds and fast flowering period. Originating from the Pacific Northwest and later fine-tuned in Holland, this strain is characterized by its sweet and spicy aroma, often reminiscent of fresh pine. When consumed, Northern Lights users claim its adept at combating sleeplessness and stress. 

 SunMed Northern Lights packed and stored next to bud

3. Girl Scout Cookies

Emerging from California, Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) has taken the cannabis world by storm, boasting an impressive genetic background that combines the best of Durban Poison and OG Kush. It’s an Indica-dominant hybrid known for its sweet and earthy aroma, reminiscent of freshly baked cookies. Beyond its delightful taste and scent, GSC possesses a balanced high that users say provides mental clarity followed by full-bodied relaxation and pain relief, though it's not quite as sedative as some strains. 

4. Harlequin

Harlequin is a Sativa-dominant strain with a high CBD to THC ratio, often hovering around 5:2. This unique genetic makeup ensures that users experience minimal psychoactive effects while benefiting from CBD's therapeutic properties. With its origins traced back to Colombian Gold, Thai, and Swiss landrace strains, Harlequin presents a rich mosaic of earthy musk combined with sweet mango undertones. Users claim its ideal for those seeking relief from pain or anxiety without an overpowering high.

5. Bubba Kush

Originating from the heart of California, Bubba Kush is a heavyweight in the Indica family, known for its unmistakably tranquilizing effects. This strain showcases dense, trichome-laden buds with hues of purple and green, exuding a sweet, yet spicy, aroma with hints of chocolate and coffee. Once consumed, people report that Bubba Kush swiftly induces a sensation of muscle relaxation and mental calmness, pushing aside stress and anxiety. Its strong sedative properties are also reported to usher in a deep, unbroken sleep.

6. Cherry Pie OG

A delightful fusion of the legendary strains Granddaddy Purple and Durban Poison, Cherry Pie is often celebrated for its tantalizing blend of tartness and sweetness, reminiscent of a freshly baked cherry pie. Beyond its delightful aroma, this Indica-dominant strain is described as having a swift onset of euphoria, followed by a body-melting relaxation. For many users, Cherry Pie serves as an excellent bridge to a restful night, offering relaxation that gently deepens into sleep. 

Cherry Pie container next to bud

7. Tahoe OG Kush

With roots in the OG Kush lineage, Tahoe OG Kush is a potent Indica-dominant strain known for its fast-acting and profoundly relaxing effects. Often heralded as one of the best nighttime strains, it boasts a unique aromatic profile that merges the classic earthiness of Kush strains with fresh citrusy undertones. Upon consumption, users commonly report a heaviness in the limbs, coupled with a dreamy mental state.

8. ACDC

A standout in the realm of high-CBD strains, ACDC is a Sativa-dominant phenotype of the Cannatonic strain, recognized for its remarkably low THC content and a CBD:THC ratio that can reach as high as 20:1. This unique cannabinoid composition ensures that ACDC provides minimal to no psychoactive effects, allowing users to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of CBD.

With an aroma that intertwines earthy, woody, and sweet pine notes, ACDC is widely embraced for its reported impact on anxiety, pain, and inflammation. While not inherently sedative, its ability to address these underlying sleep disruptors makes ACDC a favored choice for people seeking restful sleep without the pronounced high associated with THC-rich strains.

9. Gelato

A delectable hybrid stemming from the union of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies and Sunset Sherbet, Gelato treats users to a dessert-like experience, characterized by its sweet and fruity aroma with hints of lavender and berries. Referred to as "Larry Bird" in some circles, users say that while the initial onset of Gelato may spark creativity and happiness, these effects gracefully transition into a state of deep relaxation. 

10. Pink Kush

Hailing from the lineage of the legendary OG Kush, Pink Kush is an Indica-dominant strain known for its striking appearance, with vibrant pink and purple hues gracing its trichome-laden buds. Accompanied by an enticing aroma that blends floral, sweet, and earthy notes, this strain is as much a treat for the senses as it is for the mind and body. Renowned for its reported ability to induce relaxation, Pink Kush delivers a body-melting sensation that users say can swiftly dispel physical discomforts and mental unrest. 

11. Wedding Cheesecake

Wedding Cheesecake crosses the much-loved Girl Scout Cookies, Cheese, and Cherry Pie strains. True to its name, it tantalizes users with a creamy, rich, and tangy flavor profile, reminiscent of a sweet cake layered with berry and earthy undertones. As an Indica-dominant hybrid, users say that Wedding Cheesecake unique blend of uplifting and soothing effects makes it perfect for evening use, as it can allegedly elevate mood while simultaneously preparing the body for rest. 

 Wedding Cheesecake strain

What’s the Recommended Dosage of Cannabis for Sleep?

Finding the right dosage is a delicate balance and often hinges on individual preferences, tolerance, and specific sleep challenges. For novices or those sensitive to THC, it's advisable to start with a low dose, possibly as minimal as 1-2.5 mg of THC, and gradually increase as needed. 

This "start low and go slow" approach allows users to gauge their reactions and identify the sweet spot where sleep benefits are optimized without experiencing undesirable side effects. For regular cannabis users or those with higher tolerance levels, a moderate dose ranging from 5-15 mg of THC might be more appropriate. 

Regardless of where one starts, it's crucial to monitor effects, and consult with a cannabis-educated physician or specialist to tailor the dosage to one's unique needs.

What Are the Best Cannabis Products to Help with Sleep?

The method of cannabis ingestion can profoundly influence its onset, duration, and overall effects on sleep. 

Smoking or vaporizing cannabis provides immediate relief, with effects felt within minutes. This rapid action can be ideal for those struggling with sudden bouts of insomnia or anxiety. However, these effects might be shorter-lived, often waning after a few hours. 

On the other hand, edibles, like cannabis-infused foods or capsules, take longer to kick in – typically 30 minutes to 2 hours – due to the digestive process. However, their effects are often more prolonged and can be especially beneficial for maintaining a deep, restful sleep throughout the night. Tinctures and sublingual strips, which are placed under the tongue, offer a middle ground with a relatively quick onset and lasting effects. 

Ultimately, the best method depends on individual preferences, specific sleep needs, and how one's body metabolizes cannabis. It's always advisable to experiment under safe conditions and perhaps consider a combination approach for optimal results.

Are Edibles More Sedating?

Edibles, when compared to other methods of cannabis consumption, often produce a more intense and prolonged effect, which many users describe as deeply sedating. This heightened sedation arises from the body's metabolic process: when you consume cannabis in edible form, the THC undergoes conversion in the liver to 11-hydroxy-THC, a potent compound that is particularly effective in crossing the blood-brain barrier. This results in a more pronounced and long-lasting effect compared to smoking or vaporizing.

However, it's essential to approach edibles with caution, especially for those unfamiliar with their effects. The delayed onset can sometimes lead users to consume more than necessary. Overconsumption can lead to an overly intense experience, including heightened anxiety or discomfort. For this reason, it's always recommended to start with a low dose, wait for the effects to manifest, and adjust as needed in future sessions.

Find the Best Cannabis for Getting a Relaxing Night’s Sleep at Sunmed Growers

With so many varieties and so much terminology to consider, it might seem overwhelming to try and find the best cannabis for your sleep needs. But with SunMed Growers it doesn’t have to be. Our natural light growing process allows us to produce a variety of high-quality buds, and our knowledgeable budtenders can help take what you’ve learned today to the next level. 

Visit a local dispensary today to find your ideal strain and get started on the journey towards a more restful night of sleep.