Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the keys to staying healthy and feeling your best. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults of all ages get at least seven hours of sleep per night. And yet more than 35% of American adults say they aren’t able to do so.
Roughly the same amount struggle with symptoms of insomnia, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Said symptoms include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up too early
- Feeling tired upon waking (due to poor sleep quality)
Marijuana as a sleep aid
Treating insomnia can be difficult; oftentimes it involves a lot of trial and error. For many people, cannabis is a big help. Indeed, medical marijuana is routinely self-prescribed for that purpose. But there are hundreds of marijuana strains out there, and finding the one that works best for you also entails trial and error. Not to mention a bit of research.
For example, should you go with an indica or a sativa? Which is better for sleep? Which has fewer side effects? And what about hybrids?
This article is intended to make the process of selecting the right marijuana strain easier. Or at least less daunting. When you’re finished reading, you’ll be armed with a shortlist of the best strains for sleep—plus an explanation to why they’re the best. Let’s begin.
Read more: CBN, Sleep & Insomnia: Dream or Reality?
Which Is More Sedating: Sativa or Indica?
Historically, cannabis is divided into two principal subgroups: indica and sativa. The original basis for this distinction was the appearance of the plants. They’re both Cannabis sativa, but indica tends to be shorter and wider. Sativa has a taller, more spindly look.
While Indica/Sativa/Hybrid is the traditional classification that most marijuana users know, we actually think terpene profiles are a much better way to sort strains.
Read more: Using Terpenes to Overcome the Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid Myth
The differences don’t end there. The important contrast between the two is to be found in their effects. Generally speaking, sativa is associated with an intense “head high.” You can expect feelings of euphoria, exaltation, energy, and heightened awareness.
Indica strains, on the other hand, engender a calming, full-body high that eases pain and makes users feel subdued and at peace. In short, indica is famous for its sedative effects. This makes it a go-to for individuals who need to decompress and relax after a stressful day.
Given that, we’ll be concentrating on marijuana strains of the indica variety, as well as indica dominant hybrid strains.
Does Indica Make You Sleepy?
For many people, indica can induce sleep. This is owing to a particular ratio of THC to CBD. Research has shown that both of these cannabinoids can improve sleep by helping to restore the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Additionally, THC and CBD are known to relieve common causes of insomnia, such as anxiety and chronic pain.
A scientific paper published in 2008 stated that THC reduces REM sleep (that means fewer dreams) and increases the amount of time spent in Stage 4 sleep—the deepest and most restorative phase of sleep.
In general, strains with high THC content are going to function better as sleep aids. With that said, everyone tolerates THC differently; it can cause side effects in some users. If you’re one of them, the solution could be a strain with more CBD content to balance out the THC.
Indica Strains For Sleep
Here are seven of the best indica and indica dominant hybrid strains for sleep.
Also known as GDP, Granddaddy Purple is a popular indica strain with high THC content (>17%) and a negligible amount of CBD. Aromatically, it contains hints of berry and grape. Users of GDP report feeling physically and mentally relaxed.
A relative of GDP, God’s Gift imparts a grape-dominant aroma along with notes of fresh citrus. Its THC content is around 17%. Expect a soothing, calming high.
An indica cross of Thai and Afghani strains, Northern Lights is renowned for its potent yet comforting effects. Users turn to it to help alleviate a range of symptoms, including insomnia.
Tahoe OG Kush
With a THC content of around 18%, Tahoe OG Kush delivers a sensation of deep tranquility and sleepiness. It has long been a favorite of users who have trouble falling asleep at night. On the palate, Tahoe OG yields hints of lemon layered on top of a robust earthiness.
This indica dominant hybrid delivers a powerfully therapeutic high thanks to a THC level exceeding 20%. Its terpene profile is led by limonene, lending it a strong citrusy flavor and aroma. Wedding Cake is good for chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia.
Blue Cookies is another highly potent indica dominant hybrid strain. With a THC content hovering around the 20% mark, it is among the best strains for inducing sleep. Initial feelings of euphoria quickly give way to an overall serenity.
Purple Punch is another relative of Granddaddy Purple. It contains around 20% THC and low CBD levels. Because it provides an all-encompassing sense of ease and calm, Purple Punch is frequently used to help treat insomnia symptoms. Its flavor profile is sweet and fruity with rich notes of grape and berry.
Do Indica Strains Give You A Hangover?
We’ve established that indica strains can help you achieve those crucial seven or eight hours of shut-eye—and we’ve narrowed it down to seven strains to get you off on the right foot. Now, what about the morning after? Should you expect a hangover?
There’s no definitive answer to that question. It bears repeating that medical marijuana affects everyone differently. A strain that works wonders for one person’s insomnia may not help another person at all. Likewise, one user may experience an unpleasant hangover from a particular strain while another wakes up feeling like a million dollars.
Cannabis hangover symptoms can include things like grogginess, headache, brain fog and sluggishness. Whether you’ll experience any of this depends entirely on how your system reacts to the strain in question. There’s only one way to find out for sure. Just be careful not to consume too much too quickly, particularly if you’re new to marijuana.