A recent study into the sleep habits of marijuana users facing sleep difficulties shows that a majority of participants prefer cannabis over other sleep aids, citing improved outcomes the following morning and fewer side effects. The consumption of CBD, THC and myrcene-infused joints or vaping products emerged as particularly popular choices among participants.
Contrasted with conventional sleep aids or abstaining from them altogether, respondents conveyed a heightened sense of refreshment, focus and improved functionality in the mornings after using cannabis. This was coupled with a decrease in nausea and headaches. However, users did acknowledge some adverse effects, such as waking up feeling groggy, anxious and irritable.
The study, undertaken by psychology researchers from Washington State University (WSU) and published in the “Exploration of Medicine” journal, is the first to compare marijuana to both over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping medication and prescription sleep aids (PSAs). According to Carrie Cuttler, coauthor of the study, cannabis did not exhibit a hangover effect, differentiating it from alcohol and long-acting sedatives. However, lingering effects SUCH AS sleepiness and mood alterations were reported.
The survey, conducted through the Strainprint medical cannabis app, involved 1,216 participants. A substantial 64.9% disclosed experiencing sleep issues for a minimum of five years, and nearly 70% claimed to have utilized marijuana for sleep aid for at least a year. About 38% had been employing marijuana for sleep assistance for one to three years.
Approximately 82% of marijuana users do not currently rely on PSAs or OTC sleep medications. However, more than one-half admitted to having used those substances in the past, signaling a shift toward perceiving marijuana as a superior option. More than 50% of respondents also revealed using marijuana every night to facilitate sleep, predominantly through smoking joints (46.1%), vaping flowers (42.6%) or marijuana oil (42.5%) before bedtime. Edibles and vape pens were chosen by nearly one-third, while 14.6% opted for cannabis capsules.
Although inhaled forms of cannabis were generally favored, the researchers noted a preference for smoking and vaping among those with sleep issues due to the rapid onset and the high percentage reporting difficulty falling asleep. The surprising observation was the lesser popularity of edibles or capsules, which have a more prolonged effect and could be more beneficial for maintaining sleep.
Concerning product composition, most participants favored high-THC products (60%), with 21.7% choosing a balanced THC–CBD blend. Myrcene emerged as the most popular terpene (49%), followed by linalool, limonene and beta-caryophyllene. Respondents attributed the positive effects of marijuana on sleep to its ability to relax both the body (81%) and mind (83%). It was also seen as preventing sleep interruptions (36.3%) and promoting deeper (56.2%) and longer (41.6%) sleep.
Among the 526 participants who used prescription and OTC sleep aids alongside marijuana, a significantly higher number reported feeling more refreshed, focused and functional after using marijuana compared to other sleep aids or none at all. They also experienced less nausea and fewer headaches. However, some side effects, such as dry mouth and red eyes, were more prevalent with cannabis use. Notably, participants reported more extended sleep durations and fewer nighttime awakenings when using cannabis alone compared to traditional sleep aids. Despite potential side effects, researchers suggested that cannabis’s side effects might be more tolerable than those associated with conventional sleep aids.
Acknowledging the survey’s bias toward individuals already using cannabis, the researchers stressed the need for future research to incorporate more objective sleep measures for a comprehensive understanding of cannabis’s effects on sleep.
It is eye-opening that despite what the prohibitionists say about marijuana, consumers are increasingly relying on products from cannabis companies such as SNDL Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL) to attain improved sleep and reduce their reliance on prescription sleep aids.
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