If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you already have an idea of why I think terpenes are so important. If you haven’t read them yet, give them a look here: The Wonderful World of Terpenes: Digging Deeper
Previously I talked about how to get the weed you want, and I talked a little bit about what I think of as ‘daytime terpenes’. In this post, we’re going to talk about getting some much-needed sleep with, you guessed it, more terpenes!
A good night’s sleep is, as an adult, sometimes the most elusive of luxuries. Life is busy, your head is spinning, you get home after a long day of work, do what you have to do and get in bed. Eyes wide open and staring at the ceiling you start thinking about that work project that’s due, maybe a homework assignment that you feel a little behind on, maybe some interpersonal issue you’re dealing with, and then: you find yourself frustrated and trying to sleep. In my experience, that’s not the most fun way to end the night and usually leads to tired and grumpy mornings.
CANNABIS AND SLEEP
Now I should make this clear, I’m a layman. A doctor I am not. So I’m not really going to get too deep into the research about the effects of cannabis on REM sleep or the pros and cons of that but to summarize the research: most doctors are in agreement that THC leads to a reduction in REM sleep, which has both positive and negative effects.
On the one hand, a reduction in heavy dreaming is helpful for people that have nightmares, night terrors, nocturnal anxiety and the like. However, REM sleep is important for cognitive functioning. So doctors are slightly divided on whether to consider THC positive or negative for helping with sleep patterns.
Essentially it depends on why you are having trouble sleeping.
CANNABIS IS NOT A SLEEPING PILL
CBD strains are pretty consistently viewed positively as a sleep aid. That being said, CBD isn’t likely (in my experience) to make me super sleepy. The goal of smoking weed before bed though isn’t necessarily to knock me out. Cannabis is not a sleeping pill. What I am looking for is something that will calm me down and make me feel sleepy. It isn’t taking a bong rip before shutting my eyes that’s helpful for me, it’s more sitting on the couch and watching tv after work and getting ready for bed that I find cannabis does its best work.
TERPENES FOR SLEEPY TIME
For me, I’m looking primarily for two terpenes when I’m picking a good “after work/getting ready for bed” sort of weed. This doesn’t mean that other terpenes can’t also be helpful for a nice trip to Uncle Nappy’s house, but for me, these two are the combo that I’ve found most helpful for dealing with insomnia.
The first of the two is Myrcene. It’s a relatively abundant terpene, and you can find it in lots of strains, and lots of things that aren’t Cannabis. Myrcene is found in hops, bay, thyme, lemongrass, and most notably: mangos. You may have seen things on-line where people say eating a mango is going to make you get higher.
I truly can’t say I’ve ever tried the experiment, but I do like mangos a lot, so maybe there’s some potential to do my part for science in the future. From a flavor perspective, you’re going to get a lot of earthy and fruity tones. But most important, is that Myrcene will chill you right out. It’s a very sedative sort of high, one that I generally avoid during the day, but it has a high correlation to calming and sleepy vibes. It’s also known as a muscle relaxant and pain reliever, so also great for after working on my feet for eight hours. Myrcene strains always remind me of taking a nice warm bath.
Linalool is the other terpene I’m looking for. Like Myrcene, Linalool is also known for its sedative effects. Not surprising when you realize the other things that Linalool is found in. Lavender is one example you find linalool in but it is also found in a variety of other herbs and spices including coriander/cilantro.
Even dogs find lavender relaxing.
pro tip: if you’ve got a pup and they don’t like fireworks get some lavender extract, and put a couple drops behind their ears.That and cbd treats are what get my pup through the explosions in the sky.
But as a Cannabis terpene, you’re going to find Linalool strains give off a very floral flavor. It’s a really nice, easy, mellow flavor before bed. Like Myrcene though, it has strong sedative effects. But while Myrcene is going to help your body feel nice, Linalool has a lot of anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects. So while you have that Myrcene quieting your body, the Linalool will quiet your mind.
NIGHTTIME TINCTURES & SLEEPY TIME EXTRACTS
A lot of people favor tinctures and edibles before bed, but the problem with those is they’re likely to just say something like ‘sleepy time extract’ or ‘nighttime tincture’. A lot of head shops sell CBD ones without any activated THC in it. Again, not a doctor or scientist, so I won’t wade into the controversy about whether or not CBD is effective without THC, but it seems most people agree it’s less effective without THC, to say the least.
The reason I personally don’t like taking edibles before bed is because I find that I often am very groggy on the backend. So if you’re the type of person who really knows how much edible you’re going to need to get to sleep, go for it.
If you don’t know how much edible you need to sleep, then the next time you’re in Kush 21, talk to the budtenders about terps that will offer the best calming and relaxing outcomes.
As you’re discovering what works for you, my suggestion is actually a vape pen. It’s highly controllable and consistent. I can get super high and sleep great, but not everyone is like that. So taking just enough puffs off your vape pen to get to bed is a good way to figure out what works for you.