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Picture this: you’ve had a long day, and you’re feeling like you’re ready to hit the sack. You reach for a fresh joint or a perfectly packed bowl per your usual nightly ritual. But tonight, you are suddenly struck with a thought you can’t shake: what happens when you sleep high? Sure, you assume that a toke before you tuck yourself in will help send you nicely to a hazy dreamland. But what happens to your brain when you sleep high? Is it really that simple? 

So, get comfy, grab your favorite strain, and let’s dive into what happens when you drift off to sleep after a little sesh. 

What Happens When You Sleep High?

Sleeping high on cannabis can be a unique (and pleasant) experience, but what is actually going on when you fall asleep high? 

One of the most obvious effects for many people is, of course, a feeling of increased relaxation. Many users report that cannabis helps them ease into sleep by calming racing thoughts and reducing anxiety.

But the truth is, being high (and therefore sleeping high) isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. This is due to various factors that contribute to each person’s individual experience. Elements like individual physiology, dosage, potency, strain-specific effects, and frequency of use all play a role in shaping the high.

Woman smoking cannabis in bed

Regardless of these individual variables, cannabis can affect your sleep cycles. And it’s not always for the best, unfortunately.

During the initial stages of sleep, it tends to reduce the time spent in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is crucial for memory consolidation and emotional processing during sleep. As the high begins to wear off in your sleep, you might experience a rebound effect with more vivid dreams.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the fact that sleeping high can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can help you fall asleep faster & easier. On the other hand, it might compromise the overall quality & consistency of your sleep. 

Is It Safe To Sleep While High?

One question you may be asking yourself is whether or not it’s even safe to sleep high. While it is generally safe to sleep while high, there are a few risk factors you should consider.

One of the primary concerns is the potential for overconsumption. Consuming too much cannabis before bedtime can result in discomfort, heightened anxiety, or even feelings of paranoia. This is particularly relevant for those who are relatively new to cannabis and may not be accustomed to its effects.

Additionally, long-term heavy cannabis use before sleep can impact the quality of your rest. Regular use may lead to increased tolerance, causing cannabis to become less effective as a sleep aid over time. 

Finally, some individuals might experience post-sleep symptoms, such as grogginess or difficulty concentrating, further emphasizing the importance of moderation and thoughtful consideration when using cannabis as a sleep aid.

What Happens To Your Brain When You Sleep High?

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of what happens when you sleep high, we can look at some of the specifics in more detail. The interaction between cannabis and your brain is, after all, a rather complex journey. 

We’ll begin by examining the differences between THC and CBD when it comes to sleep, the importance of choosing the right cannabis strain, and whether sleeping high might leave you with a cannabis-induced “hangover.”

THC vs. CBD: How Are They Different When It Comes To Sleeping?

When it comes to understanding how cannabis affects sleep, it’s important to understand the difference between the effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Both compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies, but their effects on sleep are notably different.

THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis that causes the “high/ stoned” feeling. THC is known for its sedative properties, which can initially induce drowsiness. This is why some individuals turn to THCdominant strains as sleep aids. 

However, it’s important to note that higher THC concentrations may further reduce the time spent in REM sleep. This ultimately has the potential to affect your overall quality of sleep, as we previously mentioned. On the other hand, some users find this aspect of THC beneficial for managing nightmares.

Alternatively, CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, is gaining recognition for its potential to improve sleep quality. It may help alleviate anxiety and pain, both of which are common sleep disruptors, without significantly interfering with REM sleep. Improving sleep is one of the most sought-after benefits of CBD.

As you explore the use of cannabis for sleep, understanding the differences between THC and CBD will enable you to make informed choices about the strains and products that align with your sleep goals.

Man sleeping stoned REM sleep

Your Strain DOES Matter

As we have explored in previous articles, the strain of your cannabis can have a big impact on the overall quality of your high- and, therefore, sleep. Different cannabis strains contain varying combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes, which can produce distinct effects. 

Some strains are more likely to induce relaxation and sleepiness, while others may have the opposite effect, causing alertness and energy.

Indica strains are often associated with relaxation and are commonly used for sleep due to their potential to induce a sense of calm and tranquility. They typically have higher levels of CBD, which can promote restful sleep without the intense psychoactive effects of THC.

On the other hand, sativa strains are known for their potential to boost energy and creativity. They tend to have higher levels of THC, which may not be ideal for those seeking deep, uninterrupted sleep.

Hybrid strains combine characteristics of both indica and sativa strains, offering a range of effects. Some hybrids are tailored to provide relaxation without excessive sedation. This makes them more suitable for those who want a balance between mental clarity and relaxation.

When choosing the best strains for relaxation and sleep, you should consider your individual preferences and how your body responds to different strains. Experimenting with strains and keeping track of their effects on your sleep can help you find the one that suits you best.

Does Sleeping High Cause A “Hangover?”

One common concern among those who sleep high is the possibility of experiencing a “hangover” effect the morning after. While cannabis-induced hangovers are generally milder compared to alcohol, they can still be a concern for some users.

The term “cannabis hangover” typically refers to a set of symptoms that can include grogginess, dry mouth, and mild fatigue upon waking. It’s worth noting that not everyone who sleeps high experiences these symptoms. They also tend to vary in intensity from person to person.

Several factors can contribute to the likelihood of a cannabis hangover, including the strain used, the dosage, and an individual’s tolerance. Strains with higher THC content are more likely to produce these symptoms, especially if consumed in large amounts.

To minimize the chances of a cannabis hangover, consider using strains with balanced CBD-to-THC ratios or primarily CBD-dominant strains. Additionally, be mindful of your dosage, avoiding excessive consumption before bedtime.

So, Does Smoking Cannabis Help With Sleep?

Now that we’ve explored the effects, safety considerations, and nuances of sleeping high, let’s address the million-dollar question: Does smoking cannabis actually help with sleep?

As we have seen here, the answer isn’t always a simple yes or no. 

Some individuals find that a nice relaxing toke just before bedtime can indeed help them fall asleep faster and easier. It can be especially beneficial for those with insomnia, chronic pain, or anxiety, which tend to disrupt sleep in their own right.

However, the effectiveness of cannabis as a sleep aid can vary widely based on factors such as the strain chosen, the dosage, and personal tolerance. Some people may find that it works like a charm, while others may not experience the same benefits.

Moreover, it’s important to note that using cannabis for sleep is just one of many potential solutions. Lifestyle factors, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimizing sleep environment, also play crucial roles in achieving restful slumber.

How To Go Sleep High The Right Way

Below are some quick and easy tips for getting nice and stoney before you tuck in for the night. In our experience, you can set yourself up for a solid night’s sleep with a few simple considerations.

  1. Choose the Right Strain: Opt for Indica-dominant or CBD-rich strains, as they are more likely to induce relaxation and improve sleep quality when using cannabis before bed.
  2. Control Your Dosage: Be meticulous about your cannabis dosage; it’s crucial to avoid overconsumption, which can lead to discomfort and hinder your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
  3. Mind the Timing: Give yourself ample time between consuming cannabis and bedtime. This helps you gauge its effects and ensures you’re not too high when it’s time to sleep.
  4. Set the Mood: Create a serene sleep environment. Dim the lights, play calming music, or employ aromatherapy with soothing scents like lavender to enhance the tranquil ambiance.
  5. Bedtime Ritual: Develop a relaxing bedtime routine after consuming cannabis. Engage in activities like meditation, deep breathing, or gentle stretching to ease into sleep.
  6. Stay Hydrated: While cannabis can cause dry mouth, have a glass of water nearby to stay hydrated. Avoid excessive liquids shortly before bedtime to minimize nighttime awakenings.
  7. Comfort is Key: Ensure your sleeping space is comfortable and cozy. Use soft bedding and maintain an optimal room temperature to maximize your comfort while sleeping.
  8. Limit Screen Time: Avoid screens and stimulating activities, as they can interfere with the calming effects of cannabis. Instead, focus on relaxation techniques to prepare your mind for sleep.

By incorporating these specific tips into your routine, you can optimize the experience of using cannabis before bedtime to achieve a peaceful and restful night’s sleep. Sweet dreams!

If you’re located in the Okanagan Valley, stop by our Kelowna Dispensary or West Kelowna Dispensary to stock up on some fresh greens & refill that stash of yours today!