Many western countries, as well as Australia, have begun adopting herbs, specifically Cannabis, as a method for helping you fall asleep. There already have been many clinical trials and research studies that point to how Cannabis will help with insomnia.
However, what about how Cannabis can affect dreaming? Some people have reported that large doses of weed can cause your dreaming to be completely gone or reduced. Some have stated that going off weed brought back intense dreams and nightmares.
So what’s the reason for all of this? We dive into this topic to learn the effects of Cannabis indica on your dreams.
The Process of Dreaming
First, we must understand how dreaming works in the first place. There are four stages that a person goes through while sleeping. In the first stage, the person is in very light sleep, and the cycle only lasts about 5 percent of the entire cycle. In the second stage, you get into an even deeper sleep, and your temperature and heart rate begin to fall precipitously. On average, about 50 percent of your sleep is conducted in this stage.
In the third stage, you are in very deep sleep, and you’ll likely be cognitively impaired as well as feel dazed when waking up. Most of the most important human repair and cell growth happens in this stage. In stage 3, the immune system strengthens, and any tissue repair occurs here. Lastly, the fourth stage is where you achieve REM sleep. In this stage, you will be dreaming, and up to two hours can be spent here.
Benefits of Dreaming
According to Dr. Matthew Walker, there are a myriad of benefits to dreaming. REM sleeves help with your emotional wellbeing by removing the sting attached to traumatic episodes. Dreams have also been proven to help with your creative side and even improve problem-solving skills. There have also been several studies linking the correlation of a lack of REM sleep with impairment in spatial memory.
Does Cannabis Affect Your Dreams
THC, the main psychoactive element of Cannabis, has been proven to suppress your REM sleep. This means that Cannabis can shorten or eliminate some of your dreaming time. THC can have an adverse effect on dreaming. On the other hand, CBD can have quite a positive effect.
Case studies have pointed to show that a high dosage of CBD can enhance REM sleep. Some users have reported that CBD has caused their dreams to be more lively and vivid than ever. Users can even recall many of their wildest nocturnal dreams. CBD works like kava in that it impacts the REM sleep by modulating the anxiety receptors in the brain.
There’s also evidence that CBD can treat people with REM sleep behavior disorders and PTSD patients.
If you’ve been using Cannabis with a lot of THC substance, or high sativa strains, then you may experience a REM rebound. This means you’ll experience vivid dreams once your brain is reintroduced to REM sleep again. In this case, these people may experience much more frequent and heavy nightmares and long REM sleep cycles.
What if You Use Cannabis as a Sleeping Aid
If you use Cannabis as a sleeping aid, primarily THC, then you should avoid going in and out of REM sleep suppression, the act of REM rebounding. Insomnia isn’t good, and neither is shortchanging yourself or REM sleep.
There is a solution. You need to watch the overall dosage of your Cannabis when going to sleep. If you take small doses of Cannabis, you can still fall asleep well without the lack of REM cycles. Low doses are the best, and it’s vital to speak with your doctor to gauge the dosage.