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Do you lie in bed at night watching the minutes tick by with no luck falling into a restful slumber? If this describes your nighttime ritual, chances are you’ve tried — or considered trying — marijuana to catch a little shut-eye.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 40 million Americans suffer from insomnia each year. A chronic lack of sleep can leave you feeling excessively drowsy and lacking the energy you need for life. Other effects of insomnia include increasing your risk of having a stroke, diabetes, or experiencing anxiety and irritability. Insomnia can even shorten your life expectancy compared to your well-rested peers. These frustrating symptoms can leave you searching for an effective treatment — even if it’s not accepted by everyone.

Explaining the Need for Sleep

Sleep isn’t just a peaceful act you do each night. It’s vital to your health and overall well-being. Without enough rest, your mental, physical, and emotional health can suffer. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, even when you give yourself plenty of time to do so.

Not only does sleep keep your body working to its fullest capacity, but it also keeps you safe. Too little rest can decrease your productivity, slow down your reaction time, and increase your risk of making mistakes. Some studies even show that sleep deficiency impacts your ability to drive as much or more than being drunk.

Marijuana Versus Prescription Sleep Aids

Studies asking the age-old question, “Does marijuana really help you sleep?” date back to the 1970s and show that once nightly cannabis use stops, so does the quality of sleep.

A big question in the minds of researchers and doctors across the country is if marijuana could replace prescription pills for conditions like pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Traditional medications for insomnia can help but are also be habit-forming.  

As medical marijuana gains credibility and access to the drug increases, more data will be available to support the use for sleep. Because the drug remains illegal by the federal government, researchers are limited in the kinds of testing they can do. It’s critical to note that taking marijuana comes in several forms, including the traditional way to smoke weed, but also in drugs that contain more CBD — short for cannabidiol — which is the non-psychoactive component of marijuana.

Understanding the Controversy

Do a quick online search for the benefits of marijuana, and you’ll find plenty of information. However, the use of medical marijuana continues to be one of controversy and utter confusion. What could be behind this confusion and varied opinions?

One interesting fact is that young people are using marijuana in high numbers. As many as 22.5 percent of 12th graders reported using marijuana in the past month. This statistic is close to the alcohol numbers, which come in at 33.2 percent of 12th graders. While kids are using fewer prescription and illegal drugs, it seems that marijuana is becoming their drug of choice. These statistics might have some critics clinging to the idea that legalizing marijuana might be harmful to the youth of America. Even as marijuana becomes more accepted, it remains illegal for those without a medical prescription — and certainly for teenagers.

How Does Weed Help You Sleep?

Did you realize we have an entire system named after pot? Well, we do, and it’s called the endocannabinoid system. It naturally produces cannabis-like substances in your body and helps to regulate your appetite, mood, memory, and sleep.

Research on the effects of cannabis and sleep are limited due to marijuana remaining illegal. However, we know that marijuana naturally regulates the sleep/wake cycle which can help you get a good night’s sleep in no time. Anecdotal evidence and stories from those who have used marijuana as a sleep aid are encouraging and have even turned a few skeptics into believers of this natural sleep remedy.  

Finding the Best Marijuana Products for You

Have you ever been given medication by your doctor only to realize that it doesn’t work for you? You might talk to others who use the same drug with excellent effects, but you struggle with side effects or reduced effectiveness of the drug. The same is true of marijuana and CBD products. You might have to try a few before you find the one that meets your needs.

Indica strains of medical marijuana naturally produce relaxation and slumber. Not only can they make you sleep, but they can also minimize symptoms associated with chronic conditions like pain, anxiety, and inflammation. Try vaping or smoking Indica strains about an hour or two before bed. You can also nosh on some marijuana edibles about three to four hours before bed to get some shut eye.

If you’re looking for the soothing effects of marijuana, but don’t want the “high,” CBD products might be right for you. CBD is one of the compounds found in the marijuana plant. It’s been proven to help with pain, sleep, and inflammation. It comes in a variety of products, making it essential to find the type of CBD that suits you.

A few CBD products you can choose from are capsules, isolates, vapers, and hemp oil. Oils can contain trace amount of THC, so you need to make sure you’re okay with that before using oils for sleep. Oils can be placed under the tongue or mixed in food or drinks. CBD capsules are convenient but might take a little longer to work. Vapers deliver fast results and won’t produce vape clouds to bring attention to what you’re smoking. CBD isolates are free of THC and are available in lotions and creams to use on the skin.

If insomnia is keeping you up at night, it might be time to speak with your doctor about medical marijuana so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

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