Cannabis is currently the most widely used illegal drug in the world and its use is legalized in more and more places. Many people smoke marijuana to fall asleep faster and get rid of insomnia.
But… Does Marijuana Really Help Fight Insomnia and Sleep Problems? Or is it a hoax?
Does Marijuana Help You Sleep Better?
Many people with marijuana addiction issues who have worked with me in therapy have told me how they began to increase the frequency of their use, precisely to try to sleep better.
The majority of marijuana users use it sporadically and use it recreationally (partying on weekends, for example). But there is another group of users who are beginning to increase their use and smoke marijuana more often, ceasing recreational use, but an attempt at self-medication before sleep problems and insomnia.
What is insomnia really?
A person is considered to have insomnia when they have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep most of the night, or waking up well rested. And this must be done systematically.
A person is not considered to have insomnia when you have sporadic and isolated sleep problems. If the insomnia problems last more than 3 months, the person is considered to have chronic or long-lasting insomnia.
What happens if you smoke marijuana before bed?
Cannabis is a central nervous system depressant. In other words, he puts the person to sleep, le da sueño muy deprisa. In this sense, its effects are similar to those of alcohol.
However, what very few people know is that smoking marijuana before bed alters circadian rhythmsand it also makes it difficult for the person to enter REM or deep sleep (which is essential for feeling rested the next day, and for the body to be able to perform relevant repairs during sleep, such as eliminating toxins, the processing of information and memories, etc.).
So, it is true that marijuana helps to fall asleep faster, due to its obvious drowsiness effects. But it severely reduces long-term sleep quality (and it can be disastrous).
If you consistently use cannabis for sleep, you will have a very superficial dreamwhich will not cease to help you rest (physically and mentally).
In the long term, you will experience many problems derived from frequent marijuana use, such as problems with concentration, attention and memory, etc.
Also, people who get used to falling asleep only after smoking marijuana, they end up developing a greater physical and psychological dependence on the drug. The moment they run out of marijuana, they panic, thinking they won’t be able to sleep if they don’t smoke a joint (which usually causes them to relapse and start drinking again).
This psychological dependence will make it much more difficult for them to fall asleep naturally and increase the likelihood that they will develop other anxiety issues in the future.
Is marijuana a good sleep aid?
No. The latest scientific research shows how most people who use marijuana end up suffering from all sorts of unwanted side effects (e.g. addiction or anxiety issues). Smoking marijuana is unhealthy, there’s no doubt about it.
Can smoking cannabis help fight insomnia?
Obviously, it helps people fall asleep earlier. But they pay a high price, which is poor quality sleep.
Additionally, when someone uses marijuana (or any other substance, such as certain medications), ends up suffering the consequences of the opportunity cost.
This means that smoking joints to try to sleep better, in addition to not really helping you in the long run, displaces other insomnia treatments that have been scientifically proven to be effective (e.g. psychotherapy applied to sleeping troubles).
Does smoking cannabis cause insomnia? Can it degrade the quality of sleep?
Paradoxically, people who smoke cannabis to fight insomnia, suffer more long-term insomnia. Not only because cannabis alters their circadian rhythms and prevents them from resting in the REM phase, but also because it distracts them from the real causes of their sleep disorders: intrusive thoughts, anxiety problems, bad habits incompatible with good sleep hygiene, etc.
How long does insomnia last when you quit smoking joints?
Insomnia due to quitting smoking generally disappears after about 48 hours (sometimes more depending on the person and consumption).
Insomnia is one of the possible symptoms of marijuana withdrawal syndrome (which people who have become addicted to cannabis suffer from when trying to quit the substance).
fortunately, insomnia from quitting eventually goes away with the rest of marijuana physical withdrawal syndrome (in most cases, after a few days, a few weeks in the most serious cases).
It should be kept in mind that each case is different, and that in addition to the chemical effects of marijuana, attention should be paid to the sleep habits of the person. If he used marijuana for sleep consistently, it’s very possible that he had poor sleep habits (which he tried to compensate for by using marijuana).
How to Beat Insomnia (Without Using Marijuana or Other Drugs)
If you suffer from marijuana addiction, it is urgent that you consult a specialist.
I call Luis Miguel Real, and I am a psychologist specializing in addictions. If you need help overcoming your addiction to marijuana or insomnia issues arising from its use, contact me.