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Have you ever gone straight to sleep after eating a delicious, cannabis-infused edible? Wow. It’s quite possibly the best sleep you’ll ever experience, and we don’t say that lightly. Let’s explain why so many are turning to edibles to get their zzz’s.
First of all, the effects you feel from edibles last a really long time, approximately 6-8 hours! This is because your body has to digest it before the cannabinoids are activated, and as you go through the digestive process, you’ll continue to feel the effects as the cannabinoids work alongside your body. Edibles are an amazing tool for sleep because of this; they will continue to break down and fully absorb in your bloodstream throughout the night, flooding you with a continuous stream of cannabinoid goodness.
Remember, it takes awhile for edibles to kick in. Have you ever consumed an edible and out of nowhere it hits you, maybe even an hour or two later? Yup. That’s because, like we mentioned above, your body needs to digest it before you feel the full effects. It can be a little startling if you’re not expecting it, but absolutely perfect for sleep and for those who require long-lasting effects.
Plan to eat your edible at least 30 minutes before going to sleep, some people require up to two hours before it’s fully absorbed and feeling the full effects. You’ll want to go to sleep once you feel it kick in to avoid wasting the cannabinoids on areas of concern, thus preventing your body from using them to improve sleep. The awesome thing about cannabis is you can use it for virtually any situation, it just depends how you force your body to move and work. If you want to just sit on the couch all day long, you’ll do it. It’s not cannabis forcing you to do that. If you want to sleep, you’ll do it. Your body is very smart, it knows what to do if you give it the right environment - even after consuming cannabis!
CBN entered the cannabis scene and put everyone to sleep. Seriously, it did - and that's why people are loving it! CBN has been shown to potentially improve sleep, but THC and CBN combined is thought to be especially powerful.
We've talked a little bit about the entourage effect before. The entourage effect is the idea that cannabinoids, like THC and CBN, work better together instead of apart. The entourage effect is an idea that still needs to be explored, though preliminary research supports it. Dr. Ethan Russo is a former adult and pediatric neurologist, but now spends his time focusing on cannabis research. Dr. Russo is the author of "Taming THC", where he emphasizes THC and CBN for better sleep.
Pantry's Late Night Bite will have both THC and CBN, so you can take advantage of the entourage effect and sleep well.
We also suggest not eating anything else after consuming your cannabis-infused edible. We all know how good food tastes after consuming cannabis (thanks to THC’s effect on our brain), so just go to bed once you feel tired! Don’t get caught up in the temptation of late night snacking, because it’s really hard to stop - especially when cannabis’ tendency to heighten sensory perception makes food taste so good! You also might consider consuming your edible after a gentle wind down workout. Tiring your body and consuming cannabis right afterwards to reduce the inflammation is the double-whammy you need for a solid night of rest. Careful not to exercise too hard, you might yield the opposite effect and wind yourself up! Gentle, slow stretches and light cardio or strength is the route to go before bedtime.
You’ve no doubt heard about people consuming cannabis for sleep. It’s one of the most common reasons people turn to the friendly green plant. This study, for example, talks about THC’s potential advantageous effect on sleep latency, aka how fast you fall asleep at night. “CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness, while nabilone may reduce nightmares associated with PTSD and may improve sleep among patients with chronic pain,” reads the study. Nabilone is a synthetic drug that mimics THC. It’s typically prescribed for nausea when other treatments don’t work, but researchers are exploring it elsewhere too, like sleep!
There is research suggesting cannabis consumption reduces REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, though the results are still mixed. REM sleep is the phase where you dream, and according to experts, it’s very important for our brain’s development and health. Dreaming is thought to store our important memories and information we acquired that day, as well as discarding the memories that aren’t important to us.
THC specifically is the cannabinoid thought responsible for suppressing REM sleep. It’s important to note these findings have not been consistently reproduced, we shouldn’t be quick to criticize THC for potentially suppressing REM sleep, since we don’t know that conclusively.
Regardless of THC’s possible effect on REM sleep, studies show CBD actually increases REM sleep, so you might consider a high-CBD product if you have any hesitations. This 2017 review shows high-dose CBD to increase REM sleep when consumed the same day, and a decrease in REM sleep occurred the day after administering mid-ranges doses of CBD.
Let’s also talk for a minute about cannabinol, also known as CBN. CBN has exploded in the cannabis world, and for great reason. CBN is aged THC, it’s what happens when THC oxidizes and decomposes. It sounds like CBN is almost an afterthought, what good is left of oxidized and decomposed THC? Actually, a lot! It’s still a cannabinoid, and therefore interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system to generate homeostasis and regulate our body. This study was conducted in 1975, supporting CBN and THC for sleep. Although older (sorry, Gen X), this study is still a foundational piece of research contributing to the need to learn more about cannabinoids, and specifically how they interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system.
When consuming cannabis for sleep, start low and slow to see how you respond. Edibles are easy to microdose because they are usually able to be easily broken off and dosed, so don’t take too much if you don’t have to.
If you’re currently taking sleep aids, we highly recommend talking with your doctor before introducing cannabis into your routine. While harmful effects with cannabis are truly rare, most experts dare to say impossible, cannabis can interact with certain medications. You might also experience non-harmful (but definitely unpleasant) like paranoia or a racing heart, so chatting with your doctor is always the best course of action!