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.
Best Indica Strains For Sleep – Top 10 Indica Weed Strains for Sleep
As a cannabis aficionado, you must be familiar with the two categories of cannabis – Indica and Sativa. Sleep is thought to be the most common weed symptom, but that’s not an entirely correct assumption, depending on the weed category or strain, some weed can make you sleepy while others can have a quite opposite impact. The Indica category is known to induce sleep, whereas, the Sativa strains of cannabis have an uplifting effect that’s suitable for activities.
With the growing cases of sleep disorders, medical professionals and researchers are suggesting Indica strain for sleep with no side effects.
What is Indica?
Indica is a weed category known for its physically sedating, heavy, and sleep-inducing effects. Cannabis of Indica strain is also popular for its pain relief effects due to the body buzz it induces, relaxing every muscle in the body. It provides the perfect tranquilizing effects that deliver the users in a slumber that can last hours on end.
How Indica Helps with Insomnia and Sleep Apnea?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that’s becoming more widespread these days with 30-40% of people contracting this disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Sleep Foundation. 10-15% of people suffer from chronic insomnia. A patient suffering from the ailment has trouble falling asleep or maintaining sleep.
Patients with sleep apnea do not have trouble falling asleep, but the breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep, which can cause a lack of sleep in the patient.
Due to the lack of sleep, patients suffering from both the ailments contract other disorders that are a result of lack of sleep. Indica weed does not just help the user fall asleep faster, but it also helps patients with sleep apnea breathe normally. With sleep apnea, research is still in the early phases, but the signs so far look promising.
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Top 10 Indica for Inducing Sleep
Indica strain of cannabis is a great sleep-aid. The THC and CBD in cannabis provide the adequate physical relaxation and relieve the stress and anxiety of the user. With all these properties, the user experiences the quality of sleep like never before. So, what are the best strain for sleep?
- Big Bud
As suggested by its name, the big bud has a ridiculously large bud with an incredible amount of THC. This is the best Indica strain for sleep. A hybrid, the Big Bud is 85% Indica with 20% THC. This strain is the cross between Northern Lights, Afghani landrace, and Haze. Winner of the High Times Cannabis Cup, the aroma of the Big Bud is primarily dank and earthy with an undertone of fruitiness. The flavor is grape with a lingering sweet taste.
Big Bud provides a strong body high that takes several minutes to take hold. Once the high is at its peak, the user becomes completely relaxed wanting to sink into the couch. The high makes the user lethargic with the desire to do nothing other than relax. As the effects of the Big Bud starts to dissipate, it delivers the user in an unswayable sleep that lasts for hours.
- Granddaddy Purple
A relatively new strain, the Granddaddy Purple is the offspring of the aforementioned Big Bud and Purple Urkle. The strain takes its appearance from its parent Big Bud with large and compact buds. The complexity of its aroma with grape and berry adds to the alluring appearance of the strain. With a THC content of 17.5%, the effects of the strain are detectable on the mind and the body. At the peak of the high, the mind floats in a dreamy buzz while the body remains completely relaxed. Like most Indica dominant strains, the Granddaddy Purple is a couch-lock and night-time strain. The sleep-inducing effects of the stain make it great for insomnia.
- Northern Lights
A pure Indica, the Northern Lights is a favorite for insomnia and other sleep disorders. Descendent of the Afghani and Thai landrace, the buds have a sweet and spicy aroma. Mildly potent with the THC of 16.5%, the effects of the strain are predominantly a body buzz that pacifies the mind and relaxes the body. The comfortable laziness induced by the strain provides pain relief and sleepiness, while a good remedy to relieve depression symptoms and stress. The Northern Lights is a popular strain in the US and Canada for its sleep-inducing effects.
- Afghan Kush
The Afghan Kush is one of the all-time-favorite strains for insomnia. With a THC of over 20%, the strain provides a sedating effect that starts from the spine and spreads throughout the body. The smell of the Afghan Kush is a pungent earthy with slight hash. The user primarily feels euphoric and sleepy after administering the strain which makes the Afghan Kush an ideal strain for insomnia and inducing sleep.
A hybrid with a ratio of 50% Indica and 50% Sativa, the Skywalker has a THC of 15%. A lovely fruity aroma with the flavor that reflects a classic Indica, the Skywalker quickly delivers the users into a euphoria. Unlike the other strains, this cannabis does not lead to couch-lock; however, it does make the user feeling lazy and ensuing sleep. A great strain known for its relaxing effects that can immediately lighten the mood of the user making them happy and euphoric.
- Grape Ape
A predominant Indica with the cross of Afghani, Mendocino Purps, and Skunk, the Grape Ape has a ridiculously high amount of THC averaging at 25%. With a fruity flavor and a potent body high, the Grape Ape is a great choice for users looking for the best strain for sleep. The effects of cannabis take over slowly eventually making the user’s head and body heavy and lethargic. This weed completely relaxes the user without the desire to do anything. This makes the Grape Ape a nighttime strain with effective sleep-inducing effects.
- Blackberry Kush
A strong Indica with the reputation of causing couch-lock, the Blackberry Kush has a THC averaging 20%. This is a beautiful strain with buds covered in trichomes and tiny red hairs. You also notice a variety of other colors including yellow, purple, and black. Despite the lethargic effects of cannabis, the user also feels euphoric and happy after administering the strain. Blackberry Kush relaxes the muscles and removes anxiety and stress allowing the user to rest and sleep. Some of the feelings experienced by users after administering the strain include euphoria, sedated, sleepy, creative, and dizziness. This is another favorite for patients suffering from Insomnia. If you want an Indica strain for sleep, the Blackberry Kush should be on your list.
- 9pound Hammer
A perennial favorite of connoisseurs for its sleep-inducing effects, the 9pound Hammer is an Indica with the cross of Jack the Ripper, Gooberry, and Hells OG. With enticing flavors such as the lime and grape, the strain has a THC averaging 23%. An incredibly potent strain, the effects of 9pound Hammer is sedating, relaxed, creative, and sleepy. The strain hits you soon after consuming with a strong head high and sedation. As the effects progress, all pain and muscle tension disappears. In low dosage, the strain will not have much of a sleep-inducing effect, but in high dosage, the strain quickly puts you to sleep. For sleep, this strain is recommended only for users with a high tolerance level.
- God’s Gift
A California’s favorite strain, God’s Gift has some popular parents who are known for their sleep-inducing effects like the Granddaddy Purple and OG Kush. With an average THC of 25%, God’s Gift is a potent strain that delivers a strong high. This is a fast-acting strain that makes the user relaxed and dreamy. It delivers a happy and peaceful effect that clears the mind and allows the user to rid anxiety and stress. A strain that would make you want to lay on the couch for hours, this strain would eventually make you sleep.
- Blueberry Kush
As with most Indica-dominant strains, the Blueberry Kush also brings a heavy body-sensation that relieves stress and anxiety completely relaxing the user. The strain has an aroma of fresh berries with a hint of earthy making the Blueberry a delicious strain, but instead of being a mouthwatering delight for the taste buds, it makes you peaceful and serene. Apart from being useful in insomnia, it relieves a variety of medical properties such as dizziness, headaches, and paranoia. This is the last strain in our list but the Blueberry Kush is certainly not the last when considering the best strain for sleep.
Cannabis is a great alternative for patients struggling with sleep disorders. It has no side effects and provides a wide range of other health benefits. As more studies are conducted on cannabis, the results have been surprisingly positive. Indica is best known for its heavy and sedative effect, but sometimes that’s what needed.
What indica strains are best for helping you fall asleep? Our team did some research and came up with the top 10 indica strains that can help you and your sleep!