Ask a Budtender: What Do You Recommend for Sleeping if THC Isn’t Helping?

April 1, 2022 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Ask a Budtender: What Do You Recommend for Sleeping if THC Isn’t Helping?

Question: I’m a long-time cannabis smoker and for the past several years, I have taken a few puffs of cannabis flower before going to bed. This small amount of THC has always helped me sleep, and I wake up feeling rested. However, I’ve been so stressed lately that my typical cannabis routine has not been helping at all. It takes me hours to fall asleep, and when I finally do, I get frustrated because I’ll wake up several times throughout the night. I’d love to know if there are any products you’d recommend for sleep if regular cannabis flower is no longer helping.

Cannabis Coach Haley’s Answer: I’m so very sorry to hear that you’ve been getting such poor sleep—I know how exhausting that can be! One thing I want you to know is that you are definitely not alone in this. Since 2020, this has been an increasingly common theme with my cannabis clients, and I find that poor sleep is among the top reasons folks turn to cannabis in the first place. With so much stress in the world right now, many people are finding that they can’t sleep for the first time in years! Their tried-and-true method of smoking cannabis before bed is just not doing the trick any longer.

If sleep struggles are a problem in your day-to-day life, this post is for you. While I know this can feel so stressful, hang in there—I have seen folks make a quick turnaround using the following tips.

Talk With Your Doctor

I always suggest checking in with your primary care physician as a first step here. If your sleeping issues have persisted for a long time or you’ve noticed increased sleeping issues since the pandemic began, it’s definitely time to schedule an appointment to talk this over with a professional.

There are so many factors that play into our quality of sleep, and it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor to ensure that there aren’t any underlying issues or deficiencies. I’ve worked with some clients at the dispensary who experienced sudden sleeping issues, and once they met with their doctor, they realized their sleeplessness was tied to a vitamin D deficiency or some other cause.

I also encourage folks to be as honest as possible with their doctor. Let them know what you’ve tried and what’s working and not working so that you can come up with a plan together.

Give CBN a Shot

After working with your doctor, the next step is to move on to a different cannabinoid at your dispensary: CBN! CBN stands for cannabinol, a naturally occurring cannabis compound that functions both similarly to and differently than THC.

When a cannabis plant is exposed to light for an extended period of time, the plant’s THC degrades and turns into CBN. CBN is often new to novice and experienced cannabis users alike, so don’t worry if this is your first time hearing about it! CBN feels a lot like THC in the body, but it’s only mildly intoxicating and is known for inducing a relaxing body high that calms the nerves and helps with sleep.

When I worked at the dispensary, it was always interesting to see which clients gravitated towards CBN. Many people with restless legs, insomnia, nerve pain, and back problems would buy CBN tinctures and pills and just rave about how much better they felt after taking it.

I personally prefer CBN products in the form of an edible or a pill. I first notice how it addresses my nerve pain and inflammation-related issues, and then I start to feel drowsy and fall into a heavy sleep. If you’ve been trying THC products and aren’t getting the rest you’re hoping for, now is the time to branch out and add some CBN into your evening routine. For more information about CBN, check out this post.

Add Edibles to Your Evening Routine

Edibles, whether filled with THC, CBD, CBN, or some combination, are an excellent choice for combatting sleep problems due to their slow onset and long-lasting, full-body effects. Edibles come in many forms, including gummies, chocolates, pills, drinks, and more. Many edible cannabis products that specifically target sleep contain CBN—these are ideally what you want to look for.

I suggest starting with around 2-5 milligrams of CBN, going up from there as needed. It’s always best to start low and slow until you find the right milligram dosage for you. Some folks are so desperate for sleep that they’ll just take a handful of CBN gummies and wake up the next morning super groggy, so I always suggest starting on the lower end to let your body acclimate to the substance.

Many CBN-containing edibles also include THC, so you may find a product at the dispensary that is 1:1 with equal parts CBN and THC. This is a great option as well, but if you’re brand new to edibles, I’d suggest keeping the THC dosage around 5 milligrams until you can gauge how you feel.

If you’re going to add an edible into your evening routine, I also suggest taking it 1-2 hours before bed with some sort of fat-rich snack, like cashews, peanut butter, full-fat yogurt, etc. This will help the CBN to absorb more fully in the body and will help the effects last longer into the night.

I always think it’s important to spell out that taking an edible at night right before bed is not ideal, as it will take a while to kick in, and the delayed onset could make you feel groggy the next morning. Always take your evening edibles about 1-2 hours before you want to fall asleep so that they have time to properly kick in!

Even if you like to vape or smoke flower before bed, adding in an edible is always a good idea for ensuring you sleep through the night. Many people report that the ritual of smoking flower before bed helps them fall asleep, and then the edible helps them stay asleep. Throwing in a CBN-containing edible may be just the thing you’ve been missing.

I hope these tips help you to rediscover your love for cannabis products. Sweet dreams!

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