Does smoking weed affect dreaming?
If you are reading this and are a daily cannabis smoker, you may have thought about this in the past. Do you ever notice that after nights where you smoke cannabis, you never really remember your dreams? Maybe you do sometimes, but not very often. Maybe that has you wondering… does smoking weed affect dreaming?
Insomnia or other sleeping disorders are a big reason a lot of people use cannabis. We all know after smoking a bunch of weed (for seasoned users) it’s much easier to fall asleep quickly than if you hadn’t smoked your evening spliff. Some people who suffer from PTSD or chronic pain or nightmares would trade a dreamless sleep for anything.
Does cannabis inhibit entering REM sleep?
Have you ever taken a break from using cannabis and noticed your dreams are ultra vivid or really crazy? Some researchers have suggested that using cannabis actually inhibits our ability to reach REM sleep. The interesting this is, when you miss out on REM sleep, your body takes note and stores that information. When you body has a chance to enter REM, it seems to try to catch up on all the time it has missed, hence the crazy, vivid dreams which are all over the place. Pretty nuts right?
The four stages of sleep
There are four (4) stages of sleep. First, is NREM stage 1, which is the transition period between wakefulness and sleeping. For normal sleepers, this lasts anywhere from 10-15 minutes. Second is NREM Stage 2. In this stage, the body temperature drops, and the heart rate begins to slow down. This phase lasts approximately 20 minutes. Third is NREM Stage 3. In this stage, muscles relax, blood pressure and breathing rate drop, and the deepest sleep occurs. The final stage is REM Sleep. In this stage, the brain actually becomes more active. The body is relaxed and immobilized, eyes move rapidly. This is the state in which dreams occur. Sleep professionals explain that this stage is essential to overall well-being. In this dream state, human beings process emotions and learning.
THC does affect your REM cycle
Although it has not been proven without a doubt, sleep experts suggest that cannabis consumption (specifically THC) shortens the REM phase of sleep. Insufficient time in this state means shortened or the absence of dreaming altogether. Don’t just take our word for it! Read this study for a more detailed explanation.
What should you do?
Are we telling you to not smoke cannabis at night? Absolutely not. Life is all about balancing things. At the end of the day, we understand that too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. All we are saying is it may be beneficial to your overall health to take a break from cannabis everyone once in a while, whatever “a break” means to you. It could be just one night off every once in a while, a week off, or a month. In any case it is prudent to consider that we don’t know enough about dreaming, but we do know many animals dream and it seems to be an integral part of life. Plus, in many cases, it’s a lot of fun! Even though you may dream all night and wake up mentally exhausted from your adventures, you will notice your body and mind is still refreshed. It’s important to stay in balance!