As already recognized by 23 states and counting, marijuana has medicinal benefits, such as appetite stimulation and pain relief, the New York Times reported. But contrary to popular belief, there's little evidence that smoking weed or consuming marijuana before bed is a sustainable method to get better sleep.
Studies have found that, at first, smoking marijuana can help you fall asleep faster and deeper, since its active ingredient, THC, suppresses the REM stage of sleep, which is when dreams occur, Lifehacker reported. So regular smokers also probably don't regularly dream. And like other drugs, stopping causes a withdrawal effect, in which dreams are oddly intense for up to a few weeks and it's difficult to even fall asleep. Marijuana also causes our NREM 3 stage, which is the satisfying deep sleep, to increase at first and then drop, eventually worsening our sleep quality.
Messing with your REM cycle, which is when the brain processes and files away memories, can leave you dazed the next day, according to Vice.
Research also associates long-term regular marijuana use with multiple sleep problems, such as difficulty falling asleep and daytime sleepiness, according to Medical Daily. A 2014 study found a correlation between insomnia and long-term marijuana use, the Daily Beast reported.
"Perhaps marijuana is sedating and relaxing, but maybe it is not effective for insomnia in most people," the study's lead author, Dr. Michael Grandner, told the Daily Beast.
Anecdotally, many people report needing marijuana as a sleep aid, the New York Times reported.