can weed cause insomnia? An image of an individual in bed whilst wide awake, indicating that they are having trouble getting to sleep.

Getting enough sleep is very important for living a healthy and happy life, so people look for many ways to improve their sleep. But unfortunately, insomnia is a common problem in the UK – affecting one in three people.

Many people turn to marijuana if they’re having trouble with sleeping. Cannabis is the most commonly abused drug in the UK. In the latest ONS report, 3.1 million people aged between 16-59 used drugs in that year, and 2.5 of those people used cannabis.

The effects of weed on sleep have been debated, and, in some circles, it is considered a sleep aid. There are also arguments to suggest that something known as cannabis-induced insomnia exists, where marijuana use actually contributes to sleep disturbances.

It’s important to be informed on drug addiction, the relationship between marijuana and sleep and finding other ways to manage insomnia.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is when you have consistent problems with your sleeping habits. This could mean you struggle to get to sleep, don’t sleep enough, wake up regularly in the night, are tired after waking up, and wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

You can either have short-term insomnia or long-term insomnia, which means your problems last over three months.

Insomnia has many causes, including stress, work schedule, addictions, mental health problems, medical conditions and medication.

Beyond the symptoms above, other primary symptoms include being irritable during the day, finding it hard to concentrate, and being more error-prone.

Insomnia can have a significant effect on your life. It can increase the risk of mental health issues, result in poor memory and judgement and increase the risk of damaging relationships.

Can Weed Cause Insomnia?

Although it’s mostly believed to be a sleep aid, long-term cannabis use can increase the risk of insomnia.

A study in France around the topic of students smoking weed discovered that insomnia was found to be 45% higher in weed smokers compared to those who didn’t touch it.

How weed may cause insomnia relates to the two most known compounds in the drug, which are THC and CBD. CBD affects the central nervous and can act as a painkiller and relieve anxiety.

CBD may help you fall asleep and enjoy longer sleep, but over the long term, the helpful effects will lessen.

THC can disrupt and reduce REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep – the most important part of the sleep cycle. THC also causes the “munchies”, which affects your blood sugar. You need steady blood sugar and oxygen levels to enjoy a revitalising sleep.

Short-term vs. Long-term Cannabis Use on Sleep

The effects of weed on sleep differ depending on how long you take the drug. Occasional use of weed seems to help, depending on your issues. Long-term use of the drug will likely mean no improvement in your sleep problems.

Occasional Cannabis Use

Weed can help you if you are suffering from chronic pain or PTSD, inducing drowsiness and easing your pain. This will help you fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. Short-term use seems to increase the time spent in non-rapid eye movement sleep – these help you wake up more refreshed.

Chronic Cannabis Use

In the long term, cannabis insomnia is a possibility as weed can negatively impact your mental health, inducing the anxiety you may be trying to combat. Chronic use can damage your memory retention due to the decreased amount of REM sleep, and marijuana withdrawal will lead to more sleep disturbances.

How to Identify Cannabis-Induced Sleep Issues

Marijuana and sleep issues will show themselves to you in several ways. If you are worried about your cannabis addiction and what it is doing to your sleep, look out for these signs:

  • Disrupted sleep due to withdrawal
  • More irritable during the day
  • Less motivation
  • Experiencing cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches

If you believe your problems are directly linked to cannabis, then try stopping for a period before going to sleep. This may cause withdrawal and this will lead to sleep disturbances. Withdrawal is a clear sign of a larger addiction issue.

Managing and Treating Cannabis-Related Sleep Disturbances

If you are struggling with cannabis insomnia, there are steps you can take to manage it better. Just having a plan and steps to take can ease the burden that a lack of sleep is having on you.

Keep a Routine

Setting and keeping a sleep routine will greatly benefit your sleep. You should go to sleep and wake up consistently to help your body become used to the idea of sleeping at this time.

To reinforce this, you should set a time before going to bed when you start to wind down. This could involve putting on pyjamas, turning off your screens, and getting into a more calm and relaxed state of mind.

Develop Better Habits

What you do during your waking hours is vital to improving your sleep length and quality. Exercising and maintaining a balanced diet will make it easier to sleep at night and improve your overall health. Getting outside is also important, as sunlight has a positive impact on your internal body clock.

If you are a smoker, you should cut down as nicotine stimulates your body. You should also cut down on caffeine and alcohol as these substances disrupt sleep.

Create a Sleep Positive Environment

If the area around you is primed for you to enjoy a good night’s sleep, it is more likely to happen. Keep the room dark, have the room at a comfortable temperature, and use nice pillows, mattresses, and sheets if you can.

If you need music or ambient sound and earplugs, go for that, too. What’s important is where you are sleeping is calm and free of disruptions.

Addiction Treatment

If your weed use is serious enough, you may want to consider cannabis rehab. At places such as Step 1 Recovery, you can gain access to treatments and therapies that can help you achieve recovery from addiction and deal with your cannabis insomnia.

Get Support from Step 1 Recovery

So, can weed cause insomnia? In the short-term, it may help, but in the larger scheme of things, relying on substances to help sleep will lead to worsening your problems. If you have found that cannabis use is harming your sleep, then you should get help.

Step 1 Recovery provides expert addiction treatment that can help you move away from cannabis and onto the road to recovery. To learn more about us and how we can help, contact us at +44 (0) 800 012 6006.