Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Why Does Marijuana Make You Tired
As a medical marijuana patient, you may deal with frequent drowsiness due to your medication. Or, perhaps you want to try cannabis medicine, but you worry it will make you too tired to function. Either way, you want to know everything you can about cannabis and tiredness so you can medicate yourself in the best way possible. While marijuana can cause drowsiness, there are of ways to manage it. We’ll give you the low-down.
About Medical Marijuana Side Effects
Just like any other medication, weed can cause unwanted side effects. But, due to its versatility, medical marijuana has some side effects that certain patients consider a benefit. For instance, some folks want marijuana to make them tired so they can get a good night’s rest. Other possibly beneficial side effects include increased appetite and reduced saliva production.
Other side effects generally don’t help patients, but they tend to be mild and easy to handle. These include giddiness, anxiety and memory issues.
Overall, the positive effects of medicinal cannabis are typically worth the potential side effects. Marijuana has low potential for addiction, many ingestion methods and the ability to tackle a lot of symptoms at once.
How Does Cannabis Make You Sleepy?
To understand how marijuana causes tiredness, we have to delve a bit into the chemistry behind it. Cannabis contains numerous components called cannabinoids. When we talk about cannabinoids, we usually look at the two most prevalent ones in the marijuana plant: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
While THC causes the “high” we associate with cannabis, CBD does not. In large doses, THC can make you tired after you feel the initial high. It communicates with the receptors in your body and brain related to your sleep/wake cycle. As it interacts with those receptors, it causes a feeling of sleepiness.
Scientists also think a compound called myrcene contributes to weed’s ability to sedate you. Some studies suggest that myrcene has a sedative effect and relaxes the muscles. It also seems it can enhance the effects of THC, making its sedative effect stronger.
Which Kinds of Cannabis Medicine Can Make Me Tired?
Just about any kind of marijuana product can make you feel sleepy, but some are more likely to do so than others.
The biggest defining factor for sedation is the type of marijuana strain used in the product. Indica strains have a higher chance of making you drowsy than the other type of strain, sativa.
Also, medications that affect the entire body or brain tend to cause sleepiness more than other ones. These include edibles and patches.
Managing Marijuana-Related Drowsiness
If you don’t use marijuana medicine as a sleep aid, you have many options for managing the drowsiness. Patients who deal with sleepiness from weed medication usually don’t have to discontinue their treatment once they figure out how to handle it.
The best way to manage cannabis sedation is simply to pick a strain that doesn’t make you tired. As opposed to indica strains, sativa strains boost your energy levels. If you don’t want that extra lift, you can choose a hybrid strain that balances the effects of sativa and indica strains.
In the case that you must use a medication that causes sleepiness, you can try taking it before your bedtime. You can sleep off the drowsiness. If you can’t take your medication before bed, take the same precautions that you would with any drug that causes sleepiness. Don’t operate anything that can cause harm like a car or heavy machinery.
Marijuana-related drowsiness mostly only impacts your short-term ability to perform tasks. As long as you manage it effectively, you don’t have to worry about its impact after you finish taking cannabis medicine. Patients shouldn’t worry about this side-effect having a long-term effect on their life.
Learn About Cannabis’ Perks
As you can see, marijuana-related exhaustion is nothing to worry about. Check out the benefits of medical marijuana that make up for this side effect, and talk to a doctor who knows about cannabis for more information.Learn why some cannabis users experience drowsiness as a side effect and how to combat side effects to get the most out of your cannabis.
Please Shut Up About Indica Versus Sativa
You’re Starting to Sound Like You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About
“Scientists are just starting to understand how these terpenes affect people”
Oh, ok, please let me shut up and listen to the people who know everything. Very convincing.
So is there any experimental evidence that terpenes in pot do what people think they do, either?
Sure, mixtures and stuff, but you could recreate a synthetic blend of compounds you think are relevant.
(My suspicion is differences in psychoactivity are due to various cannabinoids, not terpenes. I know what limonene does and doesn’t do to my consciousness when it comes in lemon peel.)
For that matter, is there any real proof that different strains do have different effects in blind tests? That would be good to confirm.
Here’s an illustration: A low THC indica like The Remedy will have little to no “stoned” effect on me. It simply calms me down. A sativa with a similarly low THC level will also have the same effect. It’s all about the chemical profile of the strain for me, not so much about a particular species of cannabis.
I’ve tried adding drops of Terpenes to different strains. A limonene one (Strawberry Lemonade) felt more clearheaded(than that strain by itself) and a Grapefruit one(sorry not sure what the actual name of the terpene is/are) made me feel sleepier than that strain by itself. Overall, the terpene effect, besides the added taste and smell, does change how a strain feels, and for me, it enhances it a bit. I like to say that terpenes also “encapsulate” the high, as in you’re aware of it more. But all in all, everyone will respond differently. To each strain and each terpene.
The energetic type heavy indicas make me super stoned for example. Some people smoke all day and work. Those people don’t understand that not everyone that smokes can do that.
If you really want to find out what’s right for you, you just have to try a few different things. Use the knowledge out there as a guideline, but don’t be surprised if something is having a different effect on you than what someone said it would, because they’re not you. It literally took me 15 years to find the right “medication,” and the right weed for “recreation” through trial and error. Now I know what’s right for me, and if you want, you can too.
This seems like one scenario where focus testing could be useful. Give a varied team of people your new strain, and a survey card for a few key data points (You know, 1-10, where 1 is sleepy and 10 is alert, and so on), then collate it all and look for common high/low scores for the strain. Put those on the label, and also a link to a company website with the full data, so people can chart their own experiences against the focus group. Use the customer-submitted data to improve the accuracy of your labeling, and also look for larger trends, like a particular strain having a widely reported effect, for more targeted breeding.
I don’t think this would be terribly expensive. The website would be the most expensive part, and that could be made pretty bare-bones."As we move forward, there will be no such thing as sativa or indica," a leader in the cannabis industry says. ]]>