Cannabis for Sleep: The Best Strains and More

There’s no end to the list of reasons people access cannabis. For some, it’s for its ability to help us fight pain and inflammation. For others, it’s to reduce anxiety and stress. And for others still, it’s to relax, kick back with friends and family, and enjoy the relaxing sensations our favorite plant provides.

But as the friendly budtenders at our Mission family of dispensaries can tell you, one of the top reasons people ask about cannabis is for one of the simplest: Using THC for sleep.

What happens when you sleep while high? Many things, including a complex string of interactions in our brains and endocannabinoid systems.

Confused? Trust us: There’s no need. In today’s post, we’ll share everything we know about harnessing the power of cannabinoids for sleep, including a list of a few of the best strains for sleep. By the time we’re done, you should be well prepared to use this potent plant to get better rest.

Using THC for Sleep: An Introduction

Most of us tend to take sleep more or less for granted. That is, until it’s hard to find. According to the CDC, some 70 million of us are affected by sleep issues at any given time. And while there’s seemingly no end to the prescription and over-the-counter remedies that promise relief, the ugly truth is that none of them are entirely effective. Could using cannabinoids for sleep offer some help?

The answer is: Yes, but it’s complicated.

One major reason why some researchers believe that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD might help us sleep has to do with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s one of the body’s most important regulatory networks, and it helps govern such crucial processes as appetite, metabolism, immune response and memory. The ECS contains specialized receptors that interact with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, in addition to the cannabinoid-like compounds that our own body creates called “endocannabinoids.”

Scientists know that the ECS plays a role in regulating our sleep patterns, so it follows that THC and CBD might have a role to play. The question is: Are they helping or hurting sleep? And just as no two people are the same, the answer to that question is highly personal.

As you probably know, THC is the cannabinoid that’s most responsible for the cannabis plant’s psychoactive intoxication, or in plain English: “being high.” What happens when you sleep while high? One sleep study found that high-THC cannabis reduced the proportion of test subjects’ rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the stage in which people experience dreams. The theory is that fewer dreams could lead to more time spent in restorative “deep sleep.” On a side note, a reduction in REM sleep also means fewer nightmares, which are a major cause of sleep disruption. But all that said, THC may not be a sustainable solution. Research suggests that regular THC use can reduce the quality and duration of our rest.

How about CBD, the “second cannabinoid” that doesn’t make you feel high (but imparts several potential medical benefits)? One 2017 study suggests that  CBD reduces REM-related sleep disorders without causing grogginess the next day. And because anxiety can be a major contributor to insomnia and restlessness in general, a study finding that CBD helped reduce anxiety was greeted as big news in the sleep-health community.

Are Indica Strains The Best Strains for Sleep?

“Indica” and “sativa” are botanical terms, and they’re one of the most popular ways to classify cannabis products. We’ve written about indica strains before, the “classic” style of cannabis known for imparting a heavy, body-centered experience. It follows that they’d be best for helping you get a solid night of sleep, and anecdotally, most people tend to agree. Why? Sativa strains tend to impart a more cerebral, energizing high. Some people even compare them with espresso, and that’s not something you’d typically want at bedtime!

That said, you’ll also see high-CBD strains listed here. As we mentioned earlier, there’s strong clinical evidence that this non-intoxicating cannabinoid may actually be the better choice when it comes to inspiring sustainable slumber.

Hindu Kush

This indica is recommended for moderate to experienced users who can handle the heavy sedation associated with this classic strain.


A high-CBD choice, Harlequin typically boasts roughly equal amounts of CBD and THC. It’s a good option if you’re new to cannabis or combating pain-related sleep challenges.


A bona fide high-CBD powerhouse, ACDC is a great choice if you’re trying to avoid grogginess the next day.

Grandaddy Purple

A beloved (and highly potent) indica strain, Grandaddy Purp (as it’s also known) is known for imparting sedative and muscle-relaxing effects.

You’ll find plenty of other options on our online menus. Simply choose the dispensary closest to you and enter terms such as “indica” or “high-CBD.”

THC for Sleep: Wrapping Up

We hope today’s post sheds some light on what happens when you sleep while high. At the end of the day, of course, your particular physiology will determine the best strain and cannabinoid ratio for your own body.

Here’s something else: Research indicates that the majority of people actually derive greater benefit from lower dosages of cannabis. You may well find that less is more when it comes to THC for sleep, meaning that your cannabis dollars will stretch further.

Next time you visit any of our family of dispensaries, ask your budtender for more information on the endocannabinoid system, the best strains for sleep, and how to get the best results from cannabis. We look forward to seeing you!