Finding the best strain of marijuana to help ease your insomnia is based a lot on what the cause of your sleeping problems are. The causes of insomnia can be rooted in a variety of different psychiatric or medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits or other biological factors. Insomnia can be caused by issues such as acid reflux, hypertension, chronic pain, depression, stress, anxiety or a recent trauma such as the death of a loved one.
Insomnia can also be due to engaging in late-night activities that cause spikes in adrenaline such as exercising after work. As well, drinking caffeine in the late afternoon or evening can be a potential cause of insomnia as can working, watching TV or eating in bed. And traveling across time zones or simply having an erratic sleep-wake cycle can cause insomnia.
It's estimated that one in three people have some form of insomnia. Insomnia can cause:
Roughly 95% of people who have insomnia take some kind of medication to help them with sleep. A number of prescription sleep medications such as Ambien can be very addictive.
Test your knowledge
If your insomnia can be resolved simply by adjusting your bedtime routine, then by all means, make those changes. However, if you're suffering from insomnia due to other issues such as pain, depression, stress or anxiety, then marijuana can help. A 1973 study published in Human Pharmacology found that [subjects had a significant decrease in the amount of time it took them to fall asleep when given THC](http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00437513# page-1). Meanwhile, a 1981 study also found that when patients with insomnia took a 160 mg dose of CBD, the length in which they were able to sleep increased compared to those who took a placebo.
Some strains of marijuana are better at easing insomnia caused by chronic pain, whereas others are better at targeting anxiety-induced insomnia. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known for its sedative qualities, especially the indica varieties of cannabis.
However, if you're having trouble sleeping due to anxiety, cannabidiol (CBD) may do a better job of helping with your insomnia. Regular use of a high CBD cannabis product, or at least including some CBD to balance out the psychoactive effects of THC, will be more helpful in bringing an end to sleepless nights.
Meanwhile, cannabinol (CBN), a lesser known cannabinoid, is five times more sedating than THC, so it's something you may want to look for to help you get a good night's sleep.
Because everyone has a unique biochemistry and endocannabinoid system, cannabis will work differently from individual to individual. This means you'll need to experiment with a few strains to see what works best for you. It's also important to consider the right balance between the levels of THC and CBD, keeping in mind many strains have almost no CBD.
As well, the method of administration and ingestion is an important factor to consider when seeking relief for your insomnia. Marijuana edibles take effect much more slowly since they first need to be digested and then processed through the liver; this makes them effective at helping people stay asleep. In contrast, vaporizing or smoking cannabis produces faster effects that could help people fall asleep more quickly. Here are some of the best marijuana strains for insomnia relief.
This is a 75% sativa-dominant hybrid cannabis strain. Harlequin is high in CBD with a ratio of CBD to THC that's 5:2. The strain is known for its ability to relieve pain, stress, anxiety and depression. Though it's sativa-dominant, Harlequin is known to be a calming strain that helps people fall and stay asleep. It's particularly good for people who have anxiety-driven insomnia because it has very little to no pyschoactivity.
Cookie Jar is a hybrid of Platinum Girl Scout Cookies and White Fire Alien OG. This marijuana strain may help with anxiety and headaches, but it's best known for its full body relaxation effects. For this reason, Cookie Jar is a great choice for those suffering with insomnia.
Girl Scout Cookies is an indica strain with 20% THC and 2% CBD. Used to help with depression, it's known for its sedating, full body relaxation effects, making it a good choice for those suffering from insomnia. Girl Scout Cookies is a very potent strain, so people are advised to go slowly, because it can produce strong psychoactive effects.
This balanced hybrid marijuana strain is known to be more cerebral and relaxing while providing a well-balanced psychoactive effect. It has about 20% THC and 2% CBD. White Widow is particularly helpful for insomnia associated with pain and depression.
Grape Ape is an indica cannabis strain that produces what's known as a heavy high or "couch lock." However, its effects are known to come on slowly, which makes it good for helping people fall asleep and stay asleep. The effects of Grape Ape are said to be both sedative and relaxing, and it's also known to be helpful at relieving anxiety.
This is a high CBD strain that's known to be relaxing and therapeutic. Due to its high levels of CBD, Afghani CBD is particularly helpful at reducing anxiety while producing a calming effect that can help people fall asleep. Afghani CBD is also very good at easing chronic pain and reducing muscle spasms, which can help people with conditions like Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.
A-10 is an indica strain with a high THC and CBD content. It's known for its ability to fight chronic pain, reduce anxiety and numb migraines. Its high THC content makes it helpful in eliminating sleeping problems. Meanwhile, A-10's high CBD content also helps people stay asleep while balancing out any psychoactivity from the high levels of THC. A-10 is known for its long-lasting potency, which helps promote a good night's sleep.
This strain is an 80% indica-dominant hybrid that's a mix of Hawaiian and Purple Kush. Hawaiian Purple Kush has about 15% THC with low levels of CBD. It's known for promoting muscle relaxation and having pain-relieving qualities. Hawaiian Purple Kush's ability to induce an overall relaxed state makes it a good choice in helping with insomnia.
Hindu Kush in an indica with about 14% THC content. Known for its ability to quell severe pain and headaches, Hindu Kush is a great choice if you're suffering from insomnia caused by pain. The cannabis strain is also helpful at relieving stress-related disorders and nausea. Hindu Kush is known to induce a deep calming effect that can help people relax and fall asleep.
This is a hybrid strain that's a mix between Mendocino Purps and Killer Queen. Kryptonite has high levels of THC, which can climb to 25%. An indica-dominant strain with sedating effects, Kryptonite can help reduce pain and anxiety while providing relaxation to help people fall asleep. It's important to note that some people find that this strain can cause stimulation. The effects of Kryptonite vary based on the person: Some people find it creatively stimulating, while others find it the perfect marijuana strain to help ease them into sleep.
Do you have questions about marijuana for insomnia? Ask a question on HelloMD's Answers page. A doctor or member of our community will answer.