It’s not uncommon for people who struggle to fall asleep to give themselves a helping hand with a cheeky little bedtime spliff.
But how does this little aid actually affect your sleep? Mic spoke with some marijuana experts about the benefits and drawbacks of getting high before bed.
The experts agreed that Marijuana probably does help you fall asleep but only if it’s the type categorised as ‘Indica’ – the relaxing type of marijuana.
Basically, Indica strains can play an important role in controlling anxiety and keeping our ‘fight-or-flight’ responses to a minimum – that’s why weed can calm you down enough to fall asleep.
But it’s after you actually nod off that things become less certain.
It all depends on which ‘stage’ of sleep is more important – and it’s here that the experts disagree with each other.
Dr. Kevin Hill, director of the Substance Abuse Consultation Service at McLean Hospital – a Harvard Medical School affiliate – told Mic:
The key sleep state is the REM sleep – stage four. That’s the restorative stage for your sleep. Evidence suggests that’s lowered by marijuana.
However, Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer at HelloMD, a digital health care platform for medical marijuana, says it’s the third stage of sleep — deep sleep or slow-wave sleep — that seems to let your body renew and repair itself.
He told Mic:
Marijuana seems to make that stage longer, and people get a more restful sleep when [slow-wave sleep] is longer.
Dr Solomon believes that stage three is what repairs your body the best while Dr Hill says stage four – REM – is what refreshes your brain, and he thinks marijuana has a negative effect on REM sleep.
Basically, it depends which type of sleep is more important to you – if you smoke weed, you’ll probably be more physically rested, but that foggy feeling you wake up with after a dreamless night is probably because you didn’t get enough REM sleep.
It seems like a case of ‘whatever gets you through the night’.