THC and Sleep: What Happens When You Sleep High?
What happens when you sleep high after smoking marijuana?
Weed makes you sleepy, so many people will use cannabis for sleep, but there’s much debate over whether this is good for you. With approximately 16% of Americans saying they smoke cannabis or use other THC products, this is an issue afflicting potentially millions of people.
In this guide, we answer questions like, “Does weed make you tired?”, “Does weed make you sleep?” and “What happens if you go to sleep high?”
Photo by Elsa Donald
Does Sativa or Indica Make You Sleepy?
One thing is sure in this debate: the strain matters.
The best strain for sleep is always an indica strain because this is the relaxing type of marijuana. In contrast, sativa is believed to be the energizing type of marijuana.
The connection between cannabis and sleep comes from the cannabinoid receptors within the human brain. These mechanisms are essential in generating feelings of anxiety and the fight-or-flight response. By binding with these receptors, you naturally feel calm and tired.
Why Does Weed Make Me Sleepy?
Now that we know that cannabinoid receptors are responsible for making you feel sleepy let’s dive deeper into the issue.
According to the Sleep Foundation, it’s believed that when cannabinoids bind to the receptors in your brain, they send messages to the brain to increase the amount of adenosine and repress the mind’s arousal system. Together, these two actions promote sedation and make you feel sleepy.
Cannabis’s primary active ingredients are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC is believed to be responsible for feeling sedated, it can also stimulate some people. In these people, smoking cannabis can lead to difficulties in falling asleep.
On the other hand, CBD promotes alertness in lower doses, whereas, at higher doses, it leads to sleepiness. The effects of these compounds together can make it easier for some people to fall asleep, especially those with chronic conditions.
Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card Online Today
Join over 100,000 patients who have chosen Green Health Docs as their medical cannabis doctors. We have a 99% approval rate and offer a 100% money back guarantee!
Does Indica Make You Sleepy?
Different strains of cannabis product alternative effects. However, the two most distinct strains are indica and sativa.
Indica is believed to be the more calming strain of marijuana. Anyone who has smoked an indica strain will note the overwhelming feelings of relaxation and tiredness. People also use it for pain management or overcoming insomnia symptoms.
So, does indica make you tired? The answer is overwhelmingly yes.
Does Sativa Make You Sleepy?
Sativa is believed to be the energizing strain of cannabis. Many use sativa to promote creativity and to help them recover from tiredness.
Most people will experience an energy boost from sativa because of its stimulating effects. In some people, this may even extend to feelings of euphoria.
While this would imply that sativa won’t make you sleepy, some experts believe thatTHC content and other ingredients are the deciding factors, especially within hybrid strains.
Does sativa make you tired? It can, but it’s likely less effective at helping you to sleep if that’s your primary concern.
Photo by Tânia Mousinho
What Happens When You Sleep High?
The answer to “Does weed make you sleepy?” isn’t in doubt. However, what happens when sleeping while high is less certain. Research is minimal because cannabis bans prevent scientists from exploring this area of the cannabis world. Instead, most evidence is anecdotal.
To begin tackling the connection between weed and REM sleep, you must know that all sleep is not created equal. Everyone goes through different sleep cycles, with the most critical being REM sleep.
According to Dr. Kevin Hill, stage four, or REM sleep, is the most critical to determining whether you wake up refreshed and ready to go or tired and ready to go back to bed.
Stage four is when your brain is refreshed, but studies have shown that marijuana could lessen the effects of REM sleep. On the other hand, it must be noted that this is inconclusive, and the body of research is limited.
According to the Harvard Medical School, this could be because stage three of the sleep cycle becomes longer when you smoke weed before bed. Stage three is a deep or slow-wave sleep stage, allowing the body to renew and repair itself.
Current research shows that this is the part of the sleep cycle that’s most susceptible to cannabis use. Extending stage three reduces the amount of time you spend within the REM sleep stage, which could go a long way to explaining why marijuana and REM sleep are poor bedfellows.
Is it Safe to Go to Sleep While High?
With this in mind, it leads us to the question, “Is it safe to sleep when you’re high?”
There’s nothing to show that combining THC and sleep will lead to any health-threatening side effects. However, it could mean that if you rely on weed to sleep every night, you could find it challenging to get the restful sleep you deserve.
Moreover, if you become reliant on smoking weed before bed, there’s a chance that you may experience symptoms of insomnia when you don’t smoke it.
Can You Sleep Off a High?
Marijuana is widely used as a sleep aid, but some may wonder, “Why do I still feel high after sleeping?”
Sleep has no impact on whether you’re high or not. While 70% of young adults claim that they use cannabis to help them sleep, the THC remains in your bloodstream for the same amount of time regardless of whether you’re awake or asleep.
How long the THC remains in your system depends on the potency of your marijuana, how you consume it, and how soon you sleep after smoking.
For example, the best edible for sleep can leave you feeling the effects of your high for up to 12 hours. On the other hand, lighting up a blunt or joint will average three to four hours.
In other words, if you take a one-hour nap after consuming an edible, you will still wake up high.
Photo by Gage Walker
Weed and REM Sleep: How Does Weed Affect Sleep?
As we’ve established, REM sleep is the most crucial stage in the sleep cycle. This is the stage that enables you to wake up feeling refreshed.
Since studies seem to show that cannabis users spend less time experiencing REM sleep, what happens when you go to sleep high?
In the short-term, cannabis use appears to increase the time you spend in the REM sleep cycle, so if you’re a casual cannabis user, you have nothing to worry about. In contrast, over long periods, large amounts of THC can prevent you from dreaming, establishing new memories, and processing emotions.
What Happens to Your Brain When You Sleep High?
Thinking about looking for the best edibles for sleep. Before you think about adding weed to your evening routine, you must know what happens while you sleep.
The problem is that scientists aren’t quite sure what happens when you sleep high because of the limited research available. Can weed help you sleep? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for the brain.
With a reduction in REM sleep, you’re likely to experience:
- Short-term memory loss
- Lack of rest
- Dreamless sleeps
- Poor emotional regulation
Note that these are just the worst-case scenarios, and they tend to be found in heavy smokers. However, most casual users may even experience benefits to their sleep because of the cannabinoid receptors in their brains.
On the other hand, if you’re a medical marijuana patient, the pros will likely offset the cons if you struggle to sleep anyway.
It’s best to examine your sleep habits and be honest with yourself regarding its effects on you and your REM sleep.
Does Weed Ruin REM Sleep?
As mentioned earlier, limited evidence reveals that weed consumption could negatively impact your REM sleep.
Since cannabis smokers are noted to spend more time in the previous stage of sleep, getting less REM sleep reduces your body’s ability to rest and recover.
Again, this is something that has been sparsely studied, so it’s far from gospel truth.
Does THC Affect Sleep Patterns?
THC alone has not been shown to impact your sleep patterns. Instead, changing sleep patterns have been attributed to individual behavior.
For example, maintaining a regular sleep pattern is challenging if you smoke and nap all day. On the other hand, if you choose the best edibles for sleep every so often, THC may even enhance your sleep.
If you’re concerned about maintaining your existing sleep pattern and you know marijuana makes you sleepy, consider switching to a sativa strain and only smoking close to your usual bedtime.
Photo by Grav
Can Weed Help Insomnia?
Again, this is another issue that still requires more research. Does weed affect sleep? Yes, but how it affects your sleep depends on the strain, the dosage, and how you consume it.
Insomnia sufferers often use weed to allow them to get to sleep, especially if they suffer from severe insomnia. Likewise, medical patients also use it if insomnia is one of the side effects of their condition.
While some experts recommend avoiding developing a reliance on cannabis for sleep, the reality is that those who suffer from insomnia can experience massive benefits from incorporating cannabis into their nightly routines.
Can Smoking Weed Make You Sleepy the Next Day?
Yes, smoking weed or consuming edibles can make you sleepy the following day. But why, and “What happens if I go to sleep high?”
In many cases, you feel sleepy because you woke up while you were still high. Alternatively, you may have developed an inconsistent sleep pattern that reduces your overall REM sleep time, meaning your body isn’t being refreshed.
If you’re regularly feeling sleepy when you wake up, it could indicate that you need to change your consumption habits, or you may have a chronic condition that leaves you feeling tired.
The best option is to consult your doctor.
If You Have Insomnia or Need Help Sleeping, You Might Be Eligible for Medical Marijuana – Apply Today!
Trouble sleeping? When you sleep high, you can experience a night of deeper, dreamless sleep.
If you suffer from insomnia or a condition that makes it impossible to fall asleep, you may qualify for medical marijuana in your state. Check your eligibility with Green Health Docs, the low-cost platform that makes it easy for you to connect with a physician and apply for your MMJ card online.
Schedule your appointment today and get all the benefits of a medical cannabis card in your state today.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.