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If you have ever smoked a fat blunt or a few big bong hits, you probably noticed that you got sleepy afterwards. Sure, some people get really fried, and then get sleepy later on, maybe 30 minutes or 2 hours later.
It’s referred to as the burnout, when you start burning out and getting super sleepy and lethargic. But why does this happen, why does weed make you sleepy?
- 1 The Short Answer
- 2 Weed & Tiredness – The Burnout
- 3 Indica vs Sativa Strains In Relation To Tiredness After Smoking
- 4 High THC Contents Affect Dopamine Levels In The Brain
- 5 Using Pot To Combat Insomnia
- 6 Weed & THC Can Reduce REM Sleep Time – IT CAN STOP NIGHTMARES!
- 7 Conclusion
The Short Answer
What we are going to say right here and now is that there does need to be more real and large scale scientific research done here, as there are a number of theories out there as to why weed makes you sleepy. Some are more or less proven, but nonetheless, some research is also inconclusive.
Some reasons are that THC heavy strains, especially strong indica strains, naturally make you tired and sleep.
Also, the way in which THC interacts with the brain, and causes a lower production of dopamine can have something to do with it, and then there is the matter of the terpenes contained in marijuana too.
It’s actually a pretty complicated subject to tackle, but we will do our best to simplify it as much as possible right now.
Weed & Tiredness – The Burnout
Alright, so just to be clear, when you get all tired from weed, it is most often referred to as the burnout.
It can happen a few minutes after taking a small hit, or if you get really baked, it might happen a couple hours later.
However, chances are almost 100% that at some point after smoking a decent quantity of weed, you will get burnt out and tired.
Now, how tired you get may depend on various factors, mainly how much you smoke, as well as your body weight and metabolism, but pretty much everybody is going to get burnt out.
Indica vs Sativa Strains In Relation To Tiredness After Smoking
Something else to keep in mind here is that different strains and types of weed might make you more or less tired. In terms of the two main types of weed, indica and sativa, there is a difference.
Generally speaking, sativa is known for being a daytime weed, a type which makes people more creative, alert, and energetic, although, after smoking lots of sativa, after a few hours, you will probably still experience the so called burnout.
On the other hand you have you indica strains of marijuana. Indica is of course known for being much more of a couch potato weed. If you smoke a big indica joint, chances are you are going to get lazy and tired, sink into your couch, and get the big time munchies too.
Unfortunately, exactly why indica makes you so much more sleepy and tired than sativa is not exactly known. It could be because some indica strains are much heavier in their THC and terpene content.
However, as we mentioned in the introduction, more research does need to be done on this topic.
High THC Contents Affect Dopamine Levels In The Brain
Alright, so now we are getting into the science of it all, and once again, this has not been confirmed 100%, but there have been some studies done, and it is thought that the reason why weed makes you sleepy has to do with dopamine levels in the brain.
What Is Dopamine And How Does It Work With THC?
Dopamine, for those that don’t know, is a chemical which is produced by the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical known for reducing tiredness, producing feelings of elation and euphoria, and for making people more energetic and motivated.
It’s like a runner’s high. Runners get more energetic, happy, and motivated because exercise causes increased dopamine production in the brain.
Now, what has been shown is that excessive marijuana use, like if you smoke a fat blunt, all of that THC causes your brain to produce less tyrosine hydroxylase, which is an enzyme required to produce dopamine.
Therefore, the more weed you smoke and the more THC you inhale or ingest, the less dopamine your brain will produce. The less dopamine your brain produces, the less motivated and energetic you will be.
It is not necessarily that less dopamine makes you tired per day, but it does cause decreased motivation, which can definitely make it seem like you are tired.
Once again, some more concrete and large scale studies are required to totally confirm this.
Terpenes May Have Something To Do With It As Well
Something else that may have an effect in this regard are terpenes. Terpenes are contained in all marijuana, with indica strains generally having more and stronger terpenes.
Terpenes are known for being responsible for producing the odor and taste which your weed has. The more terpenes your weed has, the stronger it smells or tastes.
There are dozens, if not hundreds of different terpenes contained in weed. Some have these terpenes and some have those, and the individual ones are responsible for the scent, such as a flowery, musky, skunky, sweet, or whatever other kind of scent your weed has.
A Note On Terpenes Research
Now, there has not been all that much research done into this topic, but there has been some done into certain terpenes. One such terpene is myrcene, which is known for giving some strains of weed a musky, and mango-like aroma.
It has been shown that this particular terpene can produce a relaxing effect, it relaxes both the brain and muscles, and can even produce a so called hypnotic effect.
This, combined with the effects of THC and reduced dopamine levels, then causes a feeling of tiredness and laziness.
Using Pot To Combat Insomnia
So, something to note here is of course that cannabis is often used as a medicine, not just for recreational purposes. One of the biggest noted benefits of cannabis is that it can help people sleep.
People who suffer from insomnia or other sleeping disorders often benefit from smoking or ingesting marijuana.
As we have surmised by now, due to a number of reasons, pot does indeed make you feel sleepy, and therefore it makes for a great sleep aid. However, there is a little more to it than that, and it’s what we want to talk about below.
Weed & THC Can Reduce REM Sleep Time – IT CAN STOP NIGHTMARES!
What is really cool about using weed to help you sleep is that it can actually reduce the amount of REM sleep you get. This is the rapid eye movement sleep phase, more or less the deepest form of sleep.
Now, the fact that smoking weed before sleep reduces the amount of REM sleep time you get is a good thing and a bad thing too.
It can be a good thing because it is shown that REM sleep is when people dream and have nightmares. For anybody that suffers from nightmares, using weed to sleep, and therefore reducing REM sleep time, can stop these nightmares from occurring, thus producing a much more peaceful sleep.
However, on the other hand REM sleep, since it is the deepest form of sleep, is also the most restful. So, smoking a lot of weed before bed, because you get less REM sleep, can make you feel tired even when you wake up.
It’s a two way street indeed, and although you can prevent nightmares this way, chances are you’ll need an extra hour or two to feel truly rested and ready to take on another strenuous day of smoking weed.
Edibles Can Make You Much Sleepier Later On – The Edible Hangover
The final thing that we want to quickly mention here today has to do with edibles. With edibles, the THC is processed a little differently, mostly by your liver, and it makes the THC way stronger, several times stronger.
When you eat weed edibles, THC stays in your system for many hours more than if you smoke it, and the effects are much stronger too.
Well, this also goes for that tired feeling, and this is often called the edibles hangover. If you eat edibles in the afternoon, then go to sleep regularly in the morning, you will wake up feeling tired, like you were awake all night, to the point where you can barely open your eyes.
Yeah, edibles are fun and they get you super baked, but the morning after, although you don’t feel ill like with a booze hangover, you will feel really tired.
So, if you smoke a bunch of weed, chances are huge that you will get sleepy and tired, whether earlier, or later, it is going to happen. Keep in mind that eating weed edibles is going to make this effect much worse, but of course, edibles are also super fun.
In terms of why weed makes you tired, although some more research is needed here, it seems that a combination of effects related to THC, dopamine, and terpenes is to blame.