Cannabis is a plant that has been used for centuries. It is known for its medicinal properties but has recently gained attention for its use in dreaming. How does cannabis influence dreams, and what are the risks and benefits for people who use it?
Cannabis can affect your dream state. It often reduces REM sleep, which is when dreaming occurs.
Research suggests cannabis may help PTSD sufferers by reducing nightmares.
While cannabis can improve sleep quality for some, it can disrupt sleep for others.
It's important to be aware of the potential risks of using cannabis, including dependency.
The side effects of cannabis can vary from person to person and can include dry mouth, dizziness, and altered mental states.
Does using cannabis affect my sleep?
Using cannabis can affect how you dream and can affect your dreams by suppressing REM sleep. REM sleep is the stage when most dreams occur and achieve it's name because in this phase your eyes move rapidly. This stage is when your brain becomes active and when you are more likely to have vivid and memorable dreams.
When you use cannabis, it can interfere with REM sleep and can lead to fewer and less vivid dreams.
Cannabis and dreams
Cannabis can affect everyone differently, including how it affects dreams. For some, cannabis suppresses dreams, while others may have more vivid dreams. The effects are based on the amount of cannabis used, sleep habits, and body chemistry. If you are considering using cannabis to improve your sleep quality, talk to your doctor first. They can help you to determine if cannabis is right for you.
Benefits of using cannabis for sleep
There are also some potential benefits of using cannabis for sleep, including:
- Reduced nightmares
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Help with sleepwalking
More research is needed on the benefits of using cannabis for sleep, however, current research is mostly positive.
Using cannabis for PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that arises from experiencing an event, which can result in disturbing nightmares and flashbacks, leading to difficulties with sleep. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has acknowledged the usefulness of cannabis in treating PTSD but emphasizes the need for further research.
Using cannabis for nightmares
There is some evidence that Cannabis might help to reduce nightmares. It's been studied as a possible remedy for night terrors, especially among people suffering from PTSD or other trauma-based conditions. Certain studies indicate that specific cannabinoids could help with fear reactions and nightmares.
Using cannabis for sleepwalking
There is some evidence that cannabis can help to reduce sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is a complex sleep disorder that involves activities during non-REM sleep stages. Even though cannabis affects sleep patterns, there is not enough research on its effect on sleepwalking. People who sleepwalk should talk with a doctor before using cannabis for sleepwalking.
Using cannabis for sleep quality
The impact of cannabis on sleep quality can vary, presenting both negative effects. With short term use it may contribute to improved sleep quality by alleviating anxiety and stress levels. It shows promise in reducing nightmares and limiting episodes of sleepwalking.
In the long run cannabis can negatively impact the quality of sleep by reducing REM sleep and causing daytime drowsiness. It may also result in difficulty waking up in the morning.
Risks of using cannabis
Just as there are potential benefits, there are also risks associated with cannabis use, including:
- Memory problems
- Impaired judgment
- Increased risk of accidents
- Lung problems (if smoked)
Side effects of cannabis
The side effects experienced from using cannabis can vary from person to person and depend on factors such as the amount used, individual body chemistry, and sleep habits. Some common side effects include;
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Increased heart rate
Studies about cannabis and sleep
There are limited studies on the use of cannabis and sleep. The ones that are available show that there is a decrease in dreams and improved sleep. However, more research in this area needs to be performed.
There has only been one study on the effect on PTSD in a randomized control trial with synthetic THC. The study showed that male military members had significant relief in PTSD symptoms. Other studies performed were observational and also showed a decrease in symptoms.
A study on cannabis flowers and people with insomnia was performed on 409 people. This study showed that the use of C. indica flower, a cannabis flower known for its sedative quality, led to significant improvements for patients who suffered from insomnia.
Another study discovered that cannabis users experienced reduced REM sleep, leading to fewer dreams, and showed a longer sleep latency than non-users. Participants in this study provided reports about their dreams at intervals during the night and upon waking up. Interestingly, those who did have dreams while using cannabis reported increased dream content.
Tips for people who want to use cannabis for sleep
If you are considering using cannabis to enhance sleep and dream experiences, it's important to exercise caution and moderation. Consulting a healthcare professional before making any significant changes is recommended. Tips for people using cannabis to improve sleep quality and dreams:
- Start with a dosage. Begin by taking an amount of cannabis and gradually increase it until you find the optimal dose for your needs.
- Timing matters. Avoid consuming cannabis to bedtime as it may disrupt REM sleep if your goal is to enhance your dreaming.
- Choose strains. Opt for strains known for their calming effects which can promote a more sedative type of sleep.
- Consider alternative consumption methods. Explore options, than smoking when using cannabis.
Consider using tinctures or edibles of smoking cannabis flowers to reduce lung damage. It's important to stay mindful and look for signs of addiction or substance use disorder. Having a conversation with a healthcare professional, such as your doctor, is crucial, especially if you're taking medications concurrently.
Cannabis has effects on dreams, both positive and negative. It varies from person to person and depends on multiple factors. If you're thinking about using cannabis to enhance sleep quality or dream experiences, it's essential to consult with your doctor. They can assist in determining if cannabis is suitable for you and guide you on how to use it.
- AIMS Neuroscience. Cannabis in the management of PTSD: a systematic review.
- Journal of the American Medical Association. Effects of Cannabis Use on Human Behavior, Including Cognition, Motivation, and Psychosis: A Review.
- Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. The Cannabis sativa Versus Cannabis indica Debate: An Interview with Ethan Russo, MD.
- Sleeping and Breathing. Cannabinoids and Sleep: Helpful or Harmful?
- Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. The use of cannabinoids for sleep: A critical review on clinical trials.
Show all references
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. PTSD: National Center for PTSD.
- Psychoneuroendocrinology. The efficacy of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, in the treatment of PTSD-associated nightmares: A preliminary randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over design study.
- Medicines. Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia under Naturalistic Conditions.
- BMJ Open Respiratory Research. REM sleep and dream reports in frequent cannabis versus non-cannabis users.