Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Does Cannabis Affect Your Dreams?

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If you’ve ever heard of people using cannabis to improve the quality of their sleep or to get over their sleep disorders, you’re not alone.

Cannabis really has turned into a solution for it all. From symptoms of anxiety and depression, chronic pain and inflammation, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and sleep disorders of course (along with many others), cannabis is being recommended for a wide range of medical conditions.

However, when it comes to its use to help patients sleep, a few questions often arise. While cannabis can help you fall asleep faster and for longer, does it really improve the quality of your sleep? How does it affect you in the long term? And does cannabis have any impact on your dreams?

In this article, our main focus will be on the impact of cannabis on REM sleep – that phase of your sleep when you dream. However, before we get into the details of how cannabis impacts that part of your sleep cycle, let’s learn why it is important.

Sleep Stages

When we’re on our way to dreamland, we first make pit stops at 3 other stages of the sleep cycle.

Beginning at the first and the lightest stage, this occurs when you’ve dozed off but even a slight movement or sound around you can pull you back into consciousness. This also lasts for the shortest period.

Following this stage, we fall into a comparatively deeper zone where our body temperature and heartbeat begin decreasing.

Finally, we enter a stage of the deepest slumber which accounts for the most restful stage. Our body goes into the repair and development stage during this phase, Waking up from this stage can leave us feeling groggy and disoriented.

All the three stages mentioned above are part of the non-REM stages giving way to the 4th stage of REM sleep. This is where you experience a rapid eye movement in your sleep, hence REM.

This is where you and I, and everybody else are most likely to dream. So what makes this stage so important?

Well, the dream sleep stage plays a crucial role in your development and well-being. Ever heard of the phrase “sleep on it?”

We usually use it to avoid making irrational decisions when stimulated by our emotions or any trauma we’ve just experienced. Well, it’s not just said for the sake of it, but is actually backed by science. How?

  • This is when you process your emotions and traumatic events of the day.
  • This is the creative phase where you tend to resolve issues and find solutions to a previous problem.

This makes the REM stage especially crucial.

Consuming cannabis can alter your REM experience along with other sleep stages as well.

So what happens when you consume cannabis before falling asleep? Let’s find out!

 

Cannabis and Sleep

Multiple users depend on cannabis to improve their sleep cycle and sleep disorders. And as their anecdotal evidence goes, cannabis can be associated with improving the quality of sleep in patients suffering from insomnia.

Cannabis has two major cannabinoids that play a crucial role when consumed. Cannabidiol or CBD is the nonpsychoactive compound that helps consumers relax and feel relief. Tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta-9 THC on the other hand is what leads to a high. It is also the cannabinoid more closely associated with the sedative impact of cannabis.

Adding a minor cannabinoid-like CBN to the mix can strengthen the sedative effects of cannabis, leading to better sleep for consumers.

However, the use isn’t without some implications.

Consuming cannabis a little before bedtime can definitely help you get over your insomnia. You sleep longer and deeper than you did before. However, patients who consume marijuana often express that they either do not dream or do not remember what they dreamt.

THC, a crucial part of cannabis that helps you fall asleep is also associated with reducing and shortening REM sleep. This leads to a shorter period of dreaming during sleep and most consumers are unable to recall their dreams.

This means that regular and long-term use of cannabis can negatively impact that part of your slumber that allows you to resolve your emotions.

So does that make cannabis an inappropriate supplement to help with sleep?

Not necessarily. The truth is, that most medications or supplements prescribed for sleep disorders tend to affect this stage in a similar fashion. Keeping in mind that cannabis might be less addictive when compared to most of these opioids makes it a preferable choice.

Also, the hindrance in the REM stage isn’t exactly a negative side effect of cannabis but can even prove to be beneficial. This is especially true for patients diagnosed with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder and PTSD.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

On a general note, our dreams can get pretty graphic and unpleasant sometimes but even then, it’s not too often that we physically act out the actions taking place in our dreams.

However, patients diagnosed with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder do. Patients suffering from this disorder tend to physically act out their dreams which can include screaming, shouting, flailing of hands and feet, or even hurting themselves or the ones sleeping beside them.

In situations like these, a cannabis product reduces and shortens the REM stage, not allowing patients to go through such ordeals.

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Real-life traumatic events can often haunt your dream world too. And unfortunately, you might have even less control over your dreams than you do in reality. For patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, heightened reactivity and nightmares are the most common.

Unfortunately, these patients are also vulnerable to night terrors and sleep paralysis. In such conditions, a patient might feel that there is another presence in the room with them or hallucinate without being able to move or get out of the situation.

When it comes to such medical conditions, the use of cannabis to inhibit REM sleep works in favor of the patient.

 

Conclusion

Whatever your reason for using cannabis is, we recommend that you consult a physician before switching to it. You can apply for an online medical card and consult the doctor about all possible consequences and side effects. Ask your doctor if the substance is beneficial for targeting your condition and if it can possibly interact with your prescribed medications.

RELATED:  Good vs Bad: How to Spot Good Weed (plus New Strains to Try Out)

 

 

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