So you use pot. You know how much of the world sees you, right? You’re usually stoned out of your gourd, falling asleep on the couch with glazed eyes after devouring a box of cereal or a bag of chips.
We’re not here to debunk myths about stoners that grew out of a few movie scenes played for easy laughs. We’re not even here to debate the relative merits of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Doritos.
We’re here because, as we all know, the “falling asleep on the couch” part isn’t necessarily close to the truth.
Just like everyone else, cannabis connoisseurs often have trouble sleeping – whether they naturally suffer from insomnia or sleep apnea, they’re stressed out, or they’re wired after partying a bit too hardy. Despite the beliefs or prejudices of non-smokers, just rolling a doob isn’t a prescription for eight hours of blissful sleep.
However, some weed strains are definitely ideal for nudging you – or in some cases, shoving you – into dreamland. Here are the best.
Types of Pot That Can Help You Sleep
It’s easy to generalize about the benefits of Indica and Sativa strains. We’ve all heard the simplistic explanation for years: Indica is relaxing, Sativa is energizing. Those rules of thumb aren’t overly useful in most cases, and they help even less when considering pot’s ability to help you sleep.
Why do we have to dig deeper? There are several reasons, all of which involve the actual content of a marijuana strain.
- Research has shown that the key to promoting sleep is the cannabinoid content of a strain, and a number of Indica or Indica-dominant strains are surprisingly high in psychoactive THC.
- THC not only gets you high but also has sedative effects and can particularly help those with sleep apnea. But it also impacts the sleep cycle as THC reduces the length of REM cycles, and cuts down on the number and length of dreams needed for healthy sleep.
- Even though most CBD-heavy Indica strains promote relaxation, many promote alertness as well. Alertness isn’t exactly a prescription for falling asleep quickly.
- A third, lesser-known cannabinoid may be the most important of all. CBN has strong sedative effects which seem to be increased when combined with THC.
- Some of the terpenes in cannabis, like myrcene, terpineol, and linalool, may have as much to do with inducing relaxation and sleep as do the cannabinoids it contains.
That leads to several conclusions.
- “Indica” and “Sativa” aren’t enough to let you judge the ability of a strain to help you sleep. The actual cannabinoid and terpene content is what matters most.
- A balanced strain, with good amounts of both THC and CBD, is the best choice for inducing the healthiest and most relaxing sleep.
- CBN content also matters. That number isn’t always on the label (and if you’re buying from a dealer, chances are good that he’s never even heard of it), but it’s a good indicator of effectiveness.
Here’s one other tip before we move on: edibles, because they work more slowly than smoke or vapor, will help you stay asleep longer.
The best way to know whether a strain is one of the best for sleep, though, is through experience. Here’s what we’ve discovered first-hand.
The Best Weed Strains for Sleep
Tahoe OG Kush
There’s kush, there’s OG Kush, and then there’s Tahoe OG Kush. It’s one of the most potent members of the family thanks to its impressive THC/CBD ratio content; this strain (which leans toward Indica but is well-balanced) usually contains more than 20% THC and very little CBD. It’s also high in the sleep-friendly terpenes limonene, myrcene, and caryophyllene.
It doesn’t take long for Tahoe OG Kush to work its wonders. The experience starts with strong brain relaxation, quickly moving on to full-body relaxation – and unless you take advantage of the small euphoria it produces right away, you’ll be whisked away to a comfortable dreamland. Just remember, as mentioned earlier, this type of THC-induced sleep will cut into your healthy REM cycles, so you won’t wake up quite as refreshed as you might like.
This strain can also be quite effective for treating muscle pain and anxiety, as long as you don’t have to get back to work after the analgesic effect hits.
Here’s another powerful knockout punch that relies on a high THC content, and if you’re familiar with famous strains, all we have to tell you is that it’s a cross between OG Kush and Granddaddy Purple (another popular bedtime favorite). God’s Gift leans heavily Indica but almost always has well over 20% THC content (sometimes hitting 25-27%) with very little CBD and not as much CBN as Tahoe OG Kush. Linalool and myrcene are the predominant terpenes, each known for inducing sleep.
What can you expect? A very strong euphoric high to start, but after a few tokes, you’ll already feel relaxed and ready for sleep, since this is an extremely fast-acting strain. Don’t plan on getting much accomplished after hitting the God’s Gift hard except, of course, for making it to the couch or the bed. Will you sleep all night? That mostly depends on how much you consume.
This Indica strain also has a high THC content, usually approaching and often exceeding 20%, with low CBD and CBN numbers. However, its linalool, myrcene and caryophyllene terpene content is high, which is another important consideration when it comes to inducing sleep.
The #1 reason many people choose Purple Kush is its ability to relieve pain, but those suffering from chronic pain often can’t sleep until they find some relief, so this sweet-tasting strain does double-duty for them. For everyone else, it induces an extreme full-body relaxation that sometimes is accompanied by psychedelic effects. Keep smoking, though, and you’ll move past that stage into the land of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
Some call Northern Lights the most popular Indica of all time. In part, that’s because it makes you feel happy and content; it can also increase focus for some users. But it’s also extremely popular because of its ability to produce a sedating, heavy body high which can relieve chronic pain, stress, and anxiety – and help you sleep.
The THC content in this strain won’t blow you away, numerically or physically, compared to some of the others we’ve already mentioned. But its relatively strong CBD and CBN content, plus a good assortment of helpful terpenes, helps to maximize the cerebral high which will lull you into a sleep which may be more restful than those produced primarily by lots of THC.
9 Pound Hammer
The names of some products perfectly convey what they’re all about; we probably don’t have to spend much time explaining what “9 Pound Hammer” is meant to indicate. This fruity Indica will knock you over with its heavy sedative effect; some have compared its full-body effects to those of a narcotic, depending largely on its THC content which can be as low as 21% and as high as 30%. There’s not much CBD, but the terpenes are sleep-inducing as well.
Two phrases are commonly heard when you ask users about 9 Pound Hammer: couch lock and munchies. We’d strongly suggest you round up the latter before the former fully hits because you won’t be getting up for a while.
Sweet and Sour Widow
We include this strain for those who are sensitive to the effects of THC since Sweet and Sour Widow contains less than 10% THC with a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio. It won’t knock you out like some of the THC-heavy alternatives, but there’s enough THC in there to help enhance the soothing, relaxing effect of this strain – letting you drowse off peacefully at night.
Sweet and Sour Widow is also known for its sexual arousal properties, so it may be let you enjoy yourself first before you calmly rollover (or cuddle) and get a good night’s rest.