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So, Why Does Weed Make You Tired?

It’s a well-known fact, even among non-users, that one of the most notable effects of cannabis use is that it can make you feel tired.

Look at stereotypical stoners in TV and films, and they’re often portrayed as sluggish or even lazy – but is the stereotype accurate? If you find using cannabis makes you feel groggy, you’re not alone. Whether you smoke weed, vape, or consume edibles, the side-effect of sleepiness is something many people experience.

Grab a cup of coffee, and let’s take a look at why and how cannabis makes you feel tired.

Blame it on the THC

Don’t blame it on the sunshine,
Don’t blame it on the moonlight
Don’t blame it on the good times
Blame it on then Tetrahydrocannabinol

Sorry.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and as the primary cannabinoid, is responsible for the plant’s famous ‘high’. As well as producing the high, many cannabis users love, THC is the compound that is most likely causing those feelings of sleepiness.

THC activates by binding with CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, and this is where the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids such as Delta-9 THC are produced.

While CB2 receptors in the body’s immune system may contribute to feelings of tiredness, the consensus seems to be that CB1 activity is chiefly responsible for the feelings of fatigue. But it’s far more complicated than that, and there are many other factors at play. The percentage of THC in the strain of cannabis you’re using appears to affect drowsiness, with strains higher in THC (20% or above) more likely to have a sleep-inducing effect.

However, while the effects of THC include sleepiness, and it can help with sleep issues in the short term, it may reduce the amount of time spent in REM sleep, the phase during sleep when you’re experiencing dreams.

CBD Plays a Part

The next most common cannabinoid is cannabidiol or CBD, and its ability to affect sleep is a bit more complicated. Cannabidiol doesn’t produce the same psychoactive effects as THC. Still, it is known for its medicinal benefits, and many strains of cannabis prescribed for therapeutic use tend to have a higher concentration of CBD than THC.

It gets confusing here because it appears CBD can promote alertness in lower doses. Yet, it can promote deep sleep in higher quantities and seems to encourage a night of better sleep, perhaps by improving certain conditions that interfere with restful sleep rather than directly inducing sleep.

Terpenes

Terpenes are additional chemical compounds found not only in cannabis but elsewhere in nature. Terpenes are responsible for the striking aromas and flavours in plants but also play a role in shaping the effects you feel when you consume the plant, such as the stimulating effects of citrus or the relaxing qualities in lavender. In certain strains of cannabis, terpenes are partly responsible for inducing feelings of lethargy or sleepiness.

Sativa strains may contain more stimulating terpenes such as limonene and pinene, whereas indica strains may have a higher concentration of sedating terpenes like myrcene, borneol, and linalool.

If the latter terpenes are dominant in a specific strain, it stands to reason that a particular strain is more likely to cause feelings of tiredness. In addition to its sedative effect, myrcene helps to relax muscles and may enhance the sedative effect of THC.

Marijuana Strains and Sleep

There are two main types of cannabis plants – cannabis sativa and cannabis indica (as well as modern hybrid strains which cross qualities of each). Indica is traditionally described as the more relaxing and, therefore, the more likely of the two types to promote tiredness, whereas sativa is uplifting and energising. Those fairly binary descriptions apply less nowadays but remain a good rule of thumb when choosing strains.

Cannabis sativa and cannabis indica: differencies and health benefits infographic

The best way to select a strain to avoid sleepiness or promote it is by conducting thorough research via a reliable strain finder and reading about the most commonly reported effects of each. It’s widely reported that, for the most part, indica strains are more apt to induce feelings of tiredness, whereas sativa strains have the contrary effect.

You’re a Factor, too

Whether or not cannabis makes you feel tired is not just down to the cannabis – it’s also down to your body. How much you smoke/use marijuana, how often, and your body’s biochemistry, metabolism and general cannabis tolerance all play a part in shaping how you’re affected by the plant. Regular marijuana users with a high tolerance may be able to consume cannabis without experiencing that customary tiredness.

The Desired Effect

When it comes to cannabis, sometimes the effect of tiredness is the desired one. You, or someone you know, may have separate strains for different times of day, with a view to experiencing other effects.

If you’ve heard the term “night-time strain”, this likely refers to that strain’s particular efficacy as a sleep aid, and so it would be best avoided until evening for fear of heavy impairment during the day. With so many strains of cannabis available, it’s never been so easy to find a strain with desirable effects to match your needs, so if you feel your current strain is too heavy in terms of inducing drowsiness, switch up to something with a more invigorating description or save heavier strains for evening use.

Remember that those effects can carry on into the next day and use responsibly.

3 Different Strains to Wake You Up

Green Crack Auto

I mean, it’s even in the name. 

Green Crack Auto is an excellent strain for all growers, including novices and the connoisseur cannabis consumer. This sativa-dominant auto hybrid is fast, productive, flavoursome and imparts an energising, upbeat effect which is great for all social situations.

The taste of Green Crack Auto has a dominant mango flavour supported by floral and fruity notes, all of which are emphasised on the exhale. THC production is around 20%, with a low CBD of 0.7%. The overall effect is very uplifting, accompanied by euphoric sensations and creative energy for those possessed of such talents. Its positive nature makes it ideal in a range of social situations, a proper dopamine boost at any time of day. It’s also good for chronic pain. 

Durban Poison

Durban Poison originally entered Holland from South Africa during the 1970s as a pure sativa strain. However, during numerous generations of adapting to the outdoor conditions of northern Europe, some indica genetics from an unknown source has managed to combine with it. This influence is displayed in some wide, early leaf growth, although it will appear to be a sativa strain with long buds and narrow leaves by the end of its life cycle.

It’s a top-shelf strain at any dispensary and prescribed as medical marijuana for those suffering from mental health issues. It’s a classic for a reason. 

Jack Herer Auto

All hail the king. Seedsman’s Jack Herer Auto will blow you away with its THC levels and taste. If you’re not experienced with your marijuana use, smaller doses are recommended!

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Duncan Mathers