The Best Cannabis Strains for Sleep and Insomnia
Bailey Rahn for Leafly
Insomniacs, this list of sleepy cannabis strains is for you. You’re tired, but your eyes just won’t close. You toss and turn until you’ve tried every humanly possible position. You wake up lethargic and irritable. Insomnia is the worst, but luckily cannabis is shown to be an effective and safe sleep aid for many people. It can slow racing thoughts, dissolve pain, relax muscles, and deliver its own sleepy chemicals to help you fall and stay asleep. However, as many have testified, finding the right strain is key.
We put together a list of 5 particularly sedating strains to give you an idea of what to look out for on your next visit to the dispensary. But first, some tips to keep in mind:
- Edibles can help you stay asleep longer. Though inhaling cannabis yields faster effects, edibles last a lot longer.
- Go easy on the high-THC strains if it’s anxiety keeping you up. A light dose of these strains can float you to sleep, but larger doses can worsen anxiety in some. You may also want to try a strain with some CBD in it if you’re sensitive to THC, as it often eases its anxious side effects.
- Browse Leafly and find out which strains other Leafly users have described as “sleepy”.
Keep in mind that no strain or product affects everyone the same, and finding the solution for you may require a little trial and error. The below strains were selected based on user-submitted reviews and data, but everyone’s experience is different.
Tahoe OG Kush – Smoking or vaporizing this strain can yield fast-acting effects that let muscles relax, easing that need to roll around in your blankets all night. Tahoe OG is also known to slow racing thoughts so you can float into sleep with a calm and peaceful mind.
Granddaddy Purple – This classic strain is fairly easy to find, and Granddaddy Purple is shown to exhibit high levels of the potentially sleepy terpene myrcene. It’s a favorite among patients whose pain keeps them up at night.
Northern Lights – Imagine yourself on a winter night, wrapped in a warm blanket as green lights dance above you. This isn’t altogether unlike the experience provided by Northern Lights, an old-school strain that has been lulling minds to sleep since its inception in the mid-1980s. Commanding sleep with a heavy hand, Northern Lights uses its high-THC content to annihilate pain and insomnia.
Querkle – Querkle seems to attack insomnia at its many sources. Anxiety calms, nausea dulls, and depression evaporates, leaving you in a meditative state as you gently coast into restful sleep. That being said, this strain may not be the one you rely on for forcing your brain into sleep; rather, it pre-conditions a tranquil mindset so sleep comes easier when it’s time to shut the lights out.
9 Pound Hammer – This strain is perfect for insomniacs who can’t escape the prison of their mind while lying in bed. Its mild CBD content is just enough to pacify the mind and relax the body, like a counterweight to the mental speediness sometimes caused by THC. ✦
Over 40% of People Using CBD Report Taking it for Pain Management – But Are They Getting the Most out of Their CBD Regimen?
The CBD (cannabidiol) craze continues to sweep the nation; over 29 million American adults are using at least one CBD oil product. It’s gaining undeniable traction and notoriety and seems to be available anywhere and everywhere these days. And while millions of Americans are including CBD in their routines, are they choosing brands that help them to get the most out of it?
Those living in or around the Pacific Northwest that are interested in wellness products may have heard of one local brand – Fairwinds. Their award-winning CBD products (tinctures, topicals, capsules, and more) have established this Vancouver, Washington company as the best-selling, most trusted source for cannabis wellness products in the
PNW. This fall, they’re taking a selection of their best products nationwide with the launch of Fairwinds CBD!
The most common reason that people report using any CBD product is to assist with pain management (40% of users, according to a recent poll conducted by Gallup in June 2019), followed by anxiety (20%) and sleep (11%). While CBD can certainly help with each of these three things (and several more as well), most CBD brands simply provide one product that people can take regardless of what they are hoping to target. A blanket treatment may work to an extent, but Fairwinds takes a different approach. With solution-specific products like Digestify (digestion support), Deep Sleep (sleep support), and Release (anxiety support) the company produces a wide range of options, allowing customers to choose which specific product is most likely to help with their individual needs.
Since their start in 2015, Fairwinds has placed their primary focus on the philosophy and science of wholebody wellness. Through formulating their products at the crossroads
where ancient herbalism and current technology intersect – blending and balancing the worlds of traditional and modern medicine – they create CBD products unlike anything else on the market today. By working to strike this balance, Fairwinds is able to ensure they are getting at the heart of why people are using their products; far from being a simple CBD oil, their products are formulated using a blend of herbs, essential oils, and cannabidiol (CBD) extract to target specific reasons people may be interested in trying CBD.
Developing products that work for you is part of the Fairwinds promise. As with anything else, it’s so important for people to be able to find a brand that they can rely on and feel good about when it comes to CBD products. Whether you’re considering CBD as a general supplement or looking for help with something specific, your needs come first. But with new CBD companies launching seemingly every week, it can be easy to get bogged down in the ever-growing number of options available if you’re seeking a starting
point. Fairwinds has years of experience crafting award-winning, patient verified products; while their hemp CBD line may be new, the formulas are familiar – and the products loved by Washingtonians for years will now be available for their friends and family across the US. ✦
The Best Cannabis Strains for Sleep and Insomnia Bailey Rahn for Leafly Insomniacs, this list of sleepy cannabis strains is for you. You’re tired, but your eyes just won’t close. You toss and turn until
5 Best Medical Marijuana Strains for Insomnia and Sleep Ailments
Do you have troubling sleeping? Here are the 5 best medical marijuana strains for insomnia to help you fall into a deep sleep.
One in four Americans experience acute insomnia each year, while one in ten suffer from persistent sleep problems and chronic insomnia, according to a recent study from medical researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. These statistics translate into millions of people losing sleep each night, only to feel grumpy and tired the next day.
Despite the importance of sleep in our overall health, there are still high rates of dissatisfaction with conventional pharmaceutical sleep aids, particularly regarding adverse side effects and the risk of dangerous drug interactions.
Fortunately, cannabis is shown to be a safe, natural sleep aid for many sufferers. Provided you’re using the right strain, cannabis can calm racing thoughts, relieve pain, and relax muscles sending you into a snoozy slumber.
What is Insomnia?
Clinically speaking, acute insomnia is defined as difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep for at least three nights per week over two consecutive weeks. Acute insomnia is often related to a life event such as an inability to switch-off after a stressful day at work, or if you struggle to sleep the night before an exam.
Chronic insomnia is when poor sleep occurs at least three nights a week for more than three months straight. Chronic insomnia can have many underlying causes, such as shift work, poor bedtime habits, and certain medications.
Is Medical Marijuana Effective for Insomnia?
Studies published as early as the 1970s demonstrate that medical marijuana may be an effective treatment for insomnia. One statistically significant double-blind trial involving a group of insomniacs found that the major psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), facilitates sleep, while also reducing the number of interruptions throughout the night. 
More recently, clinical trials have shown that smoking marijuana increases non-REM stage 3 “deep” sleep, which is the deepest form of restorative sleep possible. 
Early clinical trials also found that THC-heavy strains can reduce REM sleep, an undesirable phase of the sleep cycle characterized by rapid eye movements and a propensity for dreams, nightmares, and sleepwalking. 
People with mood and sleep disorders often spend a lot of time in REM and not enough in “deep” sleep. Due to these connections, neurobiological researchers are now investigating the potential for THC to improve sleep cycles in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.  One of the highest-quality studies (a double-blind, randomized controlled trial) demonstrated that nabilone, a synthetic form of THC, significantly reduced the occurrence of distressing nightmares in Canadian military personnel with PTSD. 
THC vs. CBD for Insomnia
When it comes to treating insomnia and other sleep disorders with cannabis, it’s important to understand that not all strains are created equal. You’re probably familiar with the two major cannabinoids found in marijuana: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the major psychoactive cannabinoid known to promote appetite and improve nausea, while also acting as a natural sedative and analgesic. CBD is the main non-psychoactive cannabinoid recognized for its therapeutic effects, including reducing inflammation, anxiety, and depression. As such, strains that are high-THC and low-CBD provide the user with a “high”, while strains that are high-CBD and low-THC generally don’t. But what type of strain is best for insomnia?
As demonstrated above, studies in humans clearly show that THC has a sedative effect that facilitates sleep. THC acts on CB1 receptors to increase sleep through our body’s endocannabinoid system via an adenosine pathway in the brain. 
Evidence surrounding the role of CBD in sleep is less clear. For example, some studies show that CBD has alerting properties . In fact, CBD is shown to activate neurons within the hypothalamus and other regions of the brain responsible for waking.  However, other studies have demonstrated that CBD alleviates symptoms of anxiety and inflammatory pain helping many people get a restful night’s sleep. 
One study provided greater clarification with results that suggested CBD has different effects on sleep depending on the dosage. Lower doses of CBD have a stimulating effect, while strains with higher doses of CBD have a sedating effect. In the study, insomniacs received three different daily doses of CBD or a placebo. The highest dosage of CBD (160mg/day) significantly increased total sleep duration and decreased the frequency of waking during the night. 
Indica vs. Sativa for Sleep
When it comes to treating insomnia with cannabis, it’s important to understand that no two strains are created equal. Indica and sativa, for instance, are two subspecies of the cannabis plant with different origins and effects.
Many dispensaries will tell you that indica strains are more relaxing and sedating due to the higher concentrations of CBD, while they will recommend sativa strains for daytime use due to the uplifting and awakening effects of THC. You can also find many hybrids strains that take advantage of both indica and sativa properties to create a balanced effect.
With that said, the indica or sativa distinction is not the most reliable way to predict the effects of any given strain. It’s much safer to ask about the cannabinoid content. Most medical marijuana professionals will recommend strains with less than 20% THC. High doses of THC can cause hallucinations and mild “hangovers,” in which you may experience residual drowsiness that leaves you feeling lethargic and dehydrated the next day.
Best Strains for Sleep
We’ve compiled a list of particularly sedative strains to guide you on your next visit to the dispensary. However, keep in mind that individual strains affect each person differently and finding the solution for your insomnia may require some trial and error.
Offering a mellow descent into dreamland, Granddaddy Purple is arguably the best indica strain for sleep, especially if pain keeps you awake at night. Cherished by insomniacs for its high levels of the sleep-inducing terpene myrcene, this indica analgesic produces a powerful cerebral high along with whole-body sedative effects that dissolve pain and anchor your body for sleep. Individuals report using Sativa strains to reduce nightmares. 
Tahoe OG Kush
Described by patients as a “true replacement for prescription sleep meds”, Tahoe OG Kush has sedative effects that tend to be stronger and faster-acting than your average hybrid strain. It rapidly reduces muscle tension, leaving you with a heavy body sensation that eases you into a deep sleep. It features an earthy, lemony taste, and is a must-try for anyone in need of a good night’s sleep who doesn’t want a hangover the next morning.
The child of Granddaddy Purple and OG Kush, God’s Gift is a true “gift” for insomniacs. With high-THC content (up to 27%) and a low-CBD content (1%), this hybrid strain wipes away all your worries in one foul swoop. It’ll leave you feeling euphoric and relaxed so that you can ease off into peaceful sleep. However, due to the high THC-content, God’s Gift is not recommended for beginners. Individuals prone to anxiety or panic attacks with high THC-strains should approach God’s Gift with caution.
Picture yourself on a cold winter night curled up in a blanket beneath a sky of green lights. This isn’t distinctively dissimilar to the experience delivered by Northern Lights, a traditional indica strain that’s been sending people to sleep since the mid-1980s. With its high THC content, Northern Lights dissolves pain and sends you off into a deep sleep. However, novice cannabis users should also approach this potent strain with low dosing to avoid the potential THC hangover.
Afghan Kush is a pure indica strain with roots tracing back to the Hindu Kush mountain range, near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a typical Afghani indica, meaning it has heavy, body-focused effects that pacify pain, hush anxious thoughts, and move the body into bed. Due to an abundance of CBD, Afghan Kush is one of the best strains for insomnia with people that tend to experience anxiety associated with high-THC products.
Working with Your Medical Marijuana Physician for Sleep Ailments
If you are seeking an effective medical marijuana strain for sleep work with your medical marijuana physician to get the recommended dosage and strain. From there, your physician will be able to make a recommendation to your dispensary so that you can pick up your products and try them out. Note that not all dispensaries will have every strain mentioned above, so you may need work within the confines of your medical marijuana doctor’s recommendation along with the supplies of your local dispensary.
If you are located in Florida contact THC Physicians today.
Do you have troubling sleeping? Here are the 5 best medical marijuana strains for insomnia to help you fall into a deep sleep.