Considering how relaxed you feel after getting high, you’d think smoking a bit before bed would do the body some good. But according to a new article, you’ve got it all wrong.
MIC recently interviewed several medical marijuana experts to determine how smoking weed would affect your sleeping habits, and everyone agreed on one single fact: marijuana helps you fall asleep, as long as it’s an indica and not a sativa. Ok cool. Now WTF does that mean? Indica is the relaxing kind of marijuana while sativa is the energizing kind. Ok got it, makes sense.
But as for everything else, they were all over the board.
Researchers were most in disagreement over whether having deep sleep or REM sleep is more important. Both are affected by marijuana use.
“The key sleep state is the REM sleep,” or stage 4, Dr. Kevin Hill, director of the Substance Abuse Consultation Service, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, told Mic. “That’s the restorative stage for your sleep. Evidence suggests that’s lowered by marijuana.”
Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer at HelloMD, a digital health care platform for medical marijuana, says it’s the third stage of sleep — deep sleep or slow-wave sleep — that seems to let your body renew and repair itself. Stage 3 is “the most sensitive to cannabis,” Solomon told Mic. “Marijuana seems to make that stage longer, and people get a more restful sleep when [slow-wave sleep] is longer.”
While Solomon (and a health report from Harvard Medical School) says that stage 3 sleep is probably what repairs your body the best, Hill says stage 4, or REM sleep, is what refreshes your brain. Weed makes that brain-refreshment stage less effective.
So the question remains: what matters more? That your brain is refreshed, or that your body is repaired? Do you even care? Will the answer stop you from smoking up before you head to sleep?
You tell us. We’re taking a nap.