The cannabis plant is complex and has more than 400 chemical compounds. Out of all those compounds, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and (cannabidiol) CBD are used for medicinal purposes.
They treat a wide range of conditions and symptoms such as sleep, chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, PSTD, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer.
When consumed, CBD has a calming effect while THC is stimulating and gives the “high or stoned” feeling. The two have a counteracting force.
Because of its calming and relaxing effect, CBD is used to help relieve stress, anxiety, pain, and sleep problems.
The cannabis plant has two common strains — Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.
The Indica-dominant strains have more CBD content, so they are more relaxing and are the best choice for treating insomnia. They typically make you feel sleepy, and you will find yourself drifting to la-la land in no time.
Sativa strains, on the other hand, are mentally stimulating and will make you more woke.
How to access marijuana for treating insomnia
Restrictions on possession, use, and sale of marijuana have existed since the early 20th century.
But this situation is changing.
By mid-2019, marijuana was legal for medical or recreational use in at least 46 states in the US and 30 countries worldwide. The number is increasing, making it easier to access.
If you want to inhale, two conditions apply. One, it must be legal in your state, and two, you must get a patient license. The patient license or ID card allows you to legally buy and use the pot from a medical marijuana dispensary.
You can get the license only through a prescription recommendation from your doctor.
Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, meaning it is highly prone to abuse. So doctors will usually think twice before they give you a prescription.
Confirm if your state law provides for prescription of marijuana for insomnia.
Different states have a list of medical problems and conditions for which cannabis is allowed, which mostly excludes insomnia.
However, disorders such as anxiety, PSTD, and chronic pain (which may cause insomnia) are permitted. Your doctor will have to decide.
How do you get your pot ID?
Here is the process.
How to apply for a medical marijuana card
To be eligible for a medical marijuana card, you must fulfill the following conditions (the conditions might vary slightly from state to state):
i. You must be above 18 years old. Minors need recommendations from two doctors plus written consent from their parent or legal guardian.
ii. Be a resident of the state you are applying in
iii. Get a recommendation or prescription from a medical doctor. Some jurisdictions have cannabis specialists, or “medical marijuana doctors” who will evaluate and recommend you. Still, some states have telehealth laws that allow you to consult with a doctor and get approved online. Google “medical marijuana card” to find out what is legal in your state and how to apply for the card
iv. You must have a medical condition which the state laws recognize as being treatable by the use of medical marijuana. Get the list of qualifying diseases conditions from your state department of health
Once you meet the above requirements, visit your physician to fill the physician certification form, which will accompany your patient application form. Then submit them to your state health department.
Usually, you will pay an application fee.
If all the information you provide is correct, approval takes about 1–3 days.
Is marijuana safe to use?
There are some concerns that the regular use of marijuana can lead to a form of dependency for some people.
It might increase anxiety, panic, and even increase the risk of cardiac arrest for vulnerable individuals.
Some consumers might lose touch with reality.
However, compared to other legal and illegal substances that we ordinarily use, cannabis is very safe.
No known dose can kill humans.
Most people will recover rapidly after being stoned.
However, it matters how you take it.
Traditionally marijuana is consumed through smoking. And smoking can lead to respiratory problems which you want to avoid.
There are alternative ways to take marijuana.
You can consume cannabis and its concentrates through vaporization.
You can also eat it in food and drinks — almost like popping a pill.
When to take marijuana to help you with insomnia
Take marijuana one and a half to two hours before bedtime. You can use a vaporizer, the tinctures, or munch the edibles.
Do not take cannabis together with other drugs, because you cannot know what the resulting mix.
The danger is that CBD affects the liver system, which is also involved in the metabolism of many drugs.
For instance, if you take marijuana and alcohol, the effect of both increases.
How effective is marijuana against insomnia?
The jury is still out. Some studies indicated that insomnia could enhance sleep, shorten the time to fall asleep, and, enhance deep sleep.
On the other hand, other research shows that chronic use of cannabis hurts sleep quality in the long run, and worsens insomnia. But less frequent usage will not.
Consumers are also divided. Some can swear in the name of cannabis, while others say it does not affect their sleep.
Indeed, this is a debate that will not end soon. It will be settled, hopefully, through more controlled medical trials.
But what do you say?
What is your experience? Drop your comments here. I will be more than happy to hear them.
Resources used for this post
- American Psychiatric Association, (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
- Belendiuk, Kat & Babson, Kimberly & Vandrey, Ryan & Bonn-Miller, Marcel. (2015). Cannabis species and cannabinoid concentration preference among sleep-disturbed medicinal cannabis users. Addictive Behaviors. 50. 178–181. 10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.06.032.
- Cousens, K. & DiMascio, A. Psychopharmacologia (1973) 33: 355. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00437513