DISCOVER CANNABIS

How to Use Edibles for Sleep

Are you one of 4 in 10 Canadians who suffer from sleep problems? Many have tried self-medicating with alcohol or prescription drugs, but either didn’t get the desired results or didn’t like the side effects. Could cannabis edibles be a gentler way to get some rest?

Just like eating well and exercising, getting enough sleep is vital to our well-being. Over time, sleep deprivation can lead to problems with our immune system1, memory2, mood3 and weight regulation4.

According to one study, at least 40% of Canadians suffer from insomnia5. Sufferers may have trouble falling asleep, wake frequently or pop out of their night’s rest too early. In desperation, many have tried some form of self-medication, such as alcohol, or prescription sleeping pills, but found either the relief wasn’t what they’d hoped for they encountered unwanted side effects.

Cannabis edibles offer an alternative—a relatively gentle new tool for people who suffer from insomnia to try. But are they right for you?

Can Cannabis Help You Sleep?

Cannabis has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, and many people report that it helps them sleep6 7 8 9.

The science around cannabis and sleep is growing. Although there has not yet been any specific research on patients with insomnia, results from cannabis for other conditions, like cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have found that cannabis therapy can help patients get more rest. THC and CBD have helped people get more sleep by easing anxiety, pain and nightmares that were keeping them awake10 11 12.

A team of researchers in Australia is working on the world’s first trial to explore using cannabis oil for chronic insomnia13. The results of this study will be important to decide whether cannabis could become a formal treatment for sleep conditions.

What we know for sure right now is that with short-term use, cannabis and THC products do seem to help people fall asleep more quickly14 15.

 

Using Cannabis Edibles to Help Sleep

Are Edibles a Good Fit for Sleep Support?

When cannabis is eaten, the effects can last up to 6 hours or longer16 17. This makes edibles a great fit for sleep—long-lasting sedation and relief from pain or anxiety can help you get a long, deep night’s rest.

How Can You Use Edibles for Sleep?

● Start with a small dose of an edible, roughly 5 mg of THC. Edibles are more potent than inhaled cannabis, so you’re likely to feel surprisingly strong effects18 19. More experienced users might start around 10 mg of THC, though you should always take a “Start low, go slow” approach.
● Cap your dosage at a low-to-moderate level. Too much THC can make you feel anxious and overwhelmingly high, and one study found that even a moderate dose of 15 mg THC can negatively impact sleep20.
● If your starting dose isn’t enough, increase in small increments every couple of days to find your “sweet spot.” This will be a dose that gives you just enough support to get to sleep without tipping you over into an anxious night, a groggy morning or a sleepless rebound the next day.
● Avoid drinking alcohol with your bedtime THC. The combination can increase the intoxicating effects of the bud21 and make you feel unpleasantly high, even at a moderate dose.
● Most people start to feel the effects of THC sometime between 30 to 90 minutes after taking an edible22. To make sure the sleepiness comes on when you’re ready, plan to take your edible 1–2 hours before bedtime. Also, don’t take another dose while you’re waiting for the first to kick in.
● Plan to use cannabis only short-term for sleep problems. Some studies have found that over the long-term, both CBD and THC can become less effective for promoting sleep23.
● As with anything regarding your health and well-being, talk to your doctor first.

Back-Up Your Edibles With Other Sleep-Supporting Foods

CBD can be a great partner for sleep. On its own, it can help ease anxiety24 25 and some people find it helps them let go and drift off at night. A few drops of CBD oil in herbal tea, hot cocoa, or an oatmeal cookie can be a lovely way to slip down to drowsy town.

 

Read More: How Terpenes Work with CBD to Help Relieve Anxiety

 

Interestingly, some people find that CBD wakes them up, especially at low doses (around 15 mg)26. Studies have found that for sleep, doses between 25-160 mg CBD tend to be more effective27 28. Experts recommend starting on the lower end of that range. CBD is not intoxicating, but using an unnecessarily high dose can be expensive.

If you need an extra boost from THC to fully relax, consider a 1:1 THC and CBD mix. The THC will help you fall asleep faster29 and the CBD will help counteract some of the unpleasant intoxication and potential anxiety from THC30 31.

You can gently strengthen the effects of your edibles by mixing cannabis oil with sleep-inducing foods. Some recommended snacks for bedtime include ingredients that regulate your sleep cycle, like melatonin32 (found in oats and walnuts) and serotonin33 (kiwis), tryptophan34 (milk, bananas and turkey) and magnesium35 (bananas and almonds).

Terpenes are another helpful compound for improving sleep. These same fragrant oils that make certain varieties of cannabis extra relaxing (like myrcene, linalool and limonene) can also soothe us in foods. Edibles made with mango (which contains myrcene), lavender or mint (linalool) or citrus rind (limonene) can increase the relaxing and anti-anxiety powers of edible weed36.

With careful dosing, the long-lasting effects of edibles can be a comforting way to ease yourself to sleep. Although cannabis isn’t meant as a long-term sleep aide, the calming and relaxing effects of THC and CBD are there when you need them, and they blend beautifully with other foods that soothe your brain and body to sleep.

Recipe: Infused Turmeric and Vanilla Bedtime Steamer

Calgary Chef Elycia Ross, from Lil’ Truck on the Prairie, has created a comforting, fragrant recipe for us. Crack open your spice cupboard and make yourself a sweet cup of drowsiness.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1 
THC content: 10mg THC per serving

We used a homemade infused coconut oil with approximately 4 mg/ml of THC. Adjust based on your tolerance, aiming for 10mg THC or less per serving.

 

Ingredients

- 1 cup almond milk or other milk substitute
- 3 tsp pure maple syrup (add more or less at the end to suit your palate)  
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cannabis infused coconut oil (adjust based on your oil’s concentration)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric 
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg 
- 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper 
- Pinch of salt 

 

Directions

1. In a small sauce pot pour your tsp of infused coconut oil and place it on medium heat
2. Add your spices and stir to combine with the oil
3. Add vanilla and maple syrup 
4. Crack black pepper and add a pinch of salt, stir 
5. Once all of the spices, oil and maple syrup are combined, slowly pour your almond milk or other milk substitute into the pot
6. Heat slowly while you stir
7. Enjoy! 

 

 

References

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