There is very little in the universe that is more brutal than a wicked case of insomnia. It typically goes down like this: On night one, you toss and turn for hours without ever catching any solid sack time. Of course, this turns into a challenging day at work, but there is enough coffee around the office to get you through it without issue.
On night two, your frustration deepens. You’re exhausted, but there is just no convincing that idiot brain of yours that even a few hours of sleep is necessary to make it through the day ahead. No matter how much you beg and plead with the Gods of Slumber, it’s a no go. So, you just binge watch episodes of your favorite television shows until the morning alarm goes off. You’re now in the first phase of zombie mode.
By the third night and the following day, your entire world exists in a state of suspended animation – you’re creeping around in a completely different dimension than the rest of civil society. One more night without sleep and it seems that you’ll be sucked through a fiery portal in the center of your mattress into the Seventh Circle of Hell. You are the undead.
The latest data shows that 1 out 3 people suffer from insomnia. In many cases, it is a mild form — brought to its knees through increased exercise or a sleep aid — while others are more severe.
Some people complain that sleep aids — even medical marijuana — can leave them feeling a bit groggy in the morning. It becomes a situation where they are forced to go with the lesser of two evils – absolutely no sleep, or a little medically induced rest with a head full of fog.
But when it comes to using cannabis for insomnia, medical experts say the trick is going with the right kind of weed. Trying to catch some zzz’s by consuming a sativa before bed is, in a lot of ways, like trying to initiate sleep with a cup of coffee. These cannabis strains are designed to be uplifting and creative, not to knock a person out. For this, it is necessary to use an indica. These variations are more calming and relaxing.
Third Or Fourth Stage?
Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer at HelloMD, says it is the third stage of sleep where the body can “renew and repair itself.” It is this stage that is “the most sensitive to cannabis,” he recently told Mic. “Marijuana seems to make that stage longer, and people get a more restful sleep when [slow-wave sleep] is longer.”
Other medical professionals, like Dr. Kevin Hill, director of McLeans Hospital’s Substance Abuse Consultation Service, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, argue that it is the fourth stage of sleep that is most impacted by marijuana. “The key sleep state is the REM sleep. That’s the restorative stage for your sleep. Evidence suggests that’s lowered by marijuana,” he said.
Some of the most popular strains for treating insomnia are Indica’s like Harlequin, Afghan Kush and Granddaddy Purple. For those people who do not have much luck with these, hybrid strains like Ogre might be more effective. There is very little research on the effects of cannabis in relation to sleep disorders, so it might take a little self-experimentation to find the right remedy. Discussing this condition with a medical marijuana dispensary staff member is a solid first step.