Everything You Need About Delta 8 for Sleep
According to a 2021 Gallup poll, nearly half of all adults have tried marijuana at least once. With countless THC and CBD products hitting the shelves that promise to cure everything from anxiety disorders to chronic pain and beyond, it’s no surprise that there are strains available for insomnia as well.
Among those is delta-8 which is a form of THC known for its calming effects and ability to help you sleep. But before you reach for your vape pen or pop an edible, it’s important to do your research. Not all users react the same way to certain strands of cannabinoids. The more you know about this substance, the better informed your decision will be.
So, keep reading for everything you need to know about delta-8 and its potential effects on your sleep quality.
What is Delta-8 and How Does it Work?
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly referred to as delta-8 THC is a psychoactive substance produced from the Cannabis sativa plant. This is the same plant that produces hemp and marijuana. The Cannabis sativa plant is composed of over 100 natural cannabinoids, including delta-8. Of all the cannabinoids found in the sativa plant, there are only trace amounts of delta-8. For this reason, delta-8 is usually produced in concentrated amounts and manufactured from CBD (hemp-derived cannabidiol).
The psychoactive compounds in delta-8 THC work by attaching to the cannabinoid receptors in your brain that affect your central nervous system. This alters the way you perceive things and the emotions you experience. Delta-8 users report feeling relaxed and euphoric with some even claiming to experience pain relief. Delta-8 has a lower potency than some other cannabinoids, which means you’ll feel less of the “high” feeling while still experiencing the calming benefits. This makes delta-8 a good choice for beginners or inexperienced THC and CBD users.
Delta-8 products interact with the CB1 receptors in your brain. The human body has an endocannabinoid system which is located in its central regulatory system. Here, the body produces two types of cannabinoids – type 1 and type 2 – plus other enzymes. Many of your basic bodily functions are controlled by this system including hunger, internal body temperature, mood, emotions, pain, memory, fertility, immunological responses, and sleep, among many others.
Products containing CBD and THC (like delta-8) which are just a few of over 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants, interact with the CB1 receptors, changing how your body perceives and processes these functions. The result is often reduced anxiety, elevated mood, increased hunger, and improved sleep quality.
Delta-9 vs Delta-8
These two compounds have similar names but slightly different effects on the human brain and body. Delta-9 is the primary psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant and is much stronger and more potent than delta-8. The medical benefits and sedative effects, however, are very similar. Some people describe the potency of delta-8 as a mix between CBD and THC. Because of these differences, delta-9 products are more highly regulated compared to delta-8. Delta-8 is also great for beginners or anyone looking to ease insomnia symptoms minus the euphoric effects or “high” associated with products containing higher levels of THC like delta-9.
Can Delta-8 Help You Sleep?
Depending on what’s keeping you up at night, the answer is yes. Plenty of people swear by delta-8 products for achieving deep, restorative sleep. Users credit the substance’s calming benefits for reducing the stress and anxiety that leads to sleepless nights. Scientifically, delta-8 activates the same neurotransmitters in the brain that promote consistent sleep patterns. For example, delta-8 can help increase how efficiently your body synthesizes melatonin and dopamine, calming anxious thoughts at night and reducing the frequency of nightmares.
Here are a few more ways the effects of delta-8 may promote sleep for those suffering from insomnia and other common sleep disorders.
Helps You Fall Asleep Faster
If you’re one of those people who tosses and turns all night or stares at the ceiling for what feels like hours waiting for the sweet release of sleep to wash over you, delta-8 might be able to help. Delta-8 works by attaching to the CB1 receptors in your brain which play an important role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle and preparing your body for sleep. Delta-8 may also mimic the relaxing effects of melatonin while simultaneously increasing your body’s natural production of the sleep hormone.
The high levels of dopamine created by delta-8 are also said to increase melatonin production, creating mild sedative effects. Even the trace amounts of THC found in delta-8 are enough to send messages to your body signaling deep sleep and making it easier for you to fall and stay asleep. The faster you fall asleep, the healthier and more consistent your sleep patterns will be. You’ll also be at a much lower risk of developing a chronic sleep disorder. Certain cannabinoids like delta-8 are also said to restore balance and harmony to your circadian rhythm.
Anxiety and stress are the two leading causes of insomnia in most people. Delta-8 may indirectly reduce both stress and anxiety that’s keeping you up at night. Delta-8 and THC are said to increase levels of a chemical in the brain known as anandamide. This chemical, which is also referred to as the “bliss molecule” regulates your mood and emotions including your body’s response to pleasure and fear. Higher amounts of anandamide improve your body’s stress response and trigger mood elevations that can increase feelings of calmness, happiness, and relaxation.
Pain Relief and Reduced Inflammation
Chronic pain is another trigger for sleepless nights, with as many as 80% of pain sufferers also reporting ongoing sleep troubles. By increasing anandamide levels in your brain, delta-8 also creates a higher pain threshold in most users. This means your body is better able to handle and cope with the pain that once kept you up at night. There’s also sufficient research that indicates THC lessens pain by reducing the pain signals in the brain and improving communication between immune cells. If you suffer from inflammation, delta-8 also contains anti-inflammatory properties which can bring much-needed pain relief.
Improved Overall Sleep Quality
Outside of anxiety and pain relief, delta-8 can help most people achieve better quality sleep while also reducing the frequency of nightmares and other nighttime disturbances. Using delta-8 before bed can reduce how much time you spend in REM sleep, which is where the most vivid and troubling dreams occur. By spending less time in the REM sleep stage, you may be less likely to wake up due to nightmares, though this isn’t true for every user. Remember, REM sleep is also an important part of your sleep cycle. This is when your brain works to consolidate memories and information, process emotions, and support healthy brain development. For this reason, delta-8 should be used periodically as a sleep aid and not consistently.
Tips for Using Delta-8 as a Sleep Aid
Whenever you incorporate a new medication or supplement into your daily routine, you need to consult with a medical professional. This is especially true if you have underlying health conditions. The same holds true for delta-8 and other products containing THC or CBD. Once you get approval from your doctor, you can start enjoying the benefits of this hemp-derived product.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Take delta-8 within 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed for the best results. This is when the active ingredients in delta-8 peak, helping you easily transition to sleep.
- Try the best consumption method for your needs and personal preferences. For example, some people react better to vaping while others prefer consuming edibles. Keep in mind that vaping delta-8 will yield results much faster, whereas gummies and other edibles can take several hours to take effect and may last longer, making them a good option for users who wake up often during the night.
- Try adding delta-8 to other sleep-promoting products and substances. For example, production companies are now incorporating natural ingredients like melatonin and lavender into their products and supplements to help facilitate relaxation and sleep. Many of these products are organic, as well.
- If approved by your doctor, don’t be afraid to use other cannabinoids in combination with delta-8. When used together, CBD and THC offer maximum results so read the labels of all products carefully to see how much of each substance they contain.
- Check your local laws before purchasing products containing CBD and THC. While the use of medical marijuana and products containing CBD and THC are becoming legalized worldwide, there are still some regions where the use and purchase of these substances are illegal.
Incorporate delta-8 into your wind-down or nighttime routine to create healthy sleep habits and establish a consistent and reliable sleep schedule. This helps balance your body’s circadian rhythm, signaling your brain and body that it’s time for sleep.
The Best Strains of Delta-8 for Sleep
There are three types of CBD you need to know about – Sativa, Indica, and hybrid. As the name suggests, hybrids are a mix of sativa and indica and may include balanced amounts of each or be Indica-dominant or Sativa-dominant.
These tall, slim plants offer stimulating benefits and a high concentration of THC. On the potency spectrum, Sativa is the counterpart to less potent Indica strains. Sativa is generally used for its energy-boosting and mood-lifting benefits, including anxiety and stress relief. Others use it for mental clarity and to treat certain types of depression.
Milder and containing higher concentrations of CBD than THC, Indica-strains are bushy and plump with dark green leaves. Their high CBD levels offer calming benefits and full-body effects. Many users claim Indica-strains help slow their racing thoughts, calm their minds, and help them sleep better at night.
Hybrid strains combine the benefits of both Sativa and Indica strains to create a well-balanced and effective strain used to treat a variety of ailments. Many hybrids are created and used to treat very specific conditions, for example, pain, anxiety, or depression. The characteristics of these strains vary depending on the original “parent” plant it’s derived from. One downside to using hybrid strains is that they offer such vast effects that it can be difficult to fully explain, categorize, and explain each one.
Under the umbrella of these three CBD strains exist certain types of delta-8 designed to ease insomnia symptoms. Here’s a quick look at some of the best and most effective.
The Best Sativa Strains of Delta-8
A potent Sativa strain of delta-8 that’s fairly high in THC is Strawberry Cough. Users instantly recognize the fruity, pungent flavor and aroma. The uplifting and stimulating effects deliver a euphoric feeling that helps your worries and anxiety melt away. Strawberry Cough is considered one of the best Sativa strains of delta-8 available and best suited for experienced users.
Another popular and potent Sativa-strain to try is Green Crack. Derived from a mix of Skunk #1 and another unknown Indica-strain, this strain of delta-8 also goes by the name Mango Crack or Green Cush. This savory fruit strain helps ease stress, anxiety, and pain, making it versatile and universally appealing.
The Best Indica Strains of Delta-8
Perhaps one of the most well-known and widely recognized Indica-strains of delta-8 is Grandaddy Purple. Whether it’s the name or the sedating effects, insomnia sufferers can’t seem to get enough of this delta-8 strain that offers a pleasant buzz and physical sedation. Not only that, but Grandaddy Purple works to ease anxiety and prevent restlessness. The fruity, sweet flavor makes it a clear winner across all categories and a great way to cap off your night and fall into a deep slumber.
Another popular Indica-strain to consider is Bubba OG which is a cross between Ghost OG and Pre-98 Bubba Kush. This hybrid Indica-dominant strain contains relatively low levels of CBD and higher levels of THC ranging from 22% to 25%. Users report a decrease in stress, improved sleep, and an insatiable appetite!
Potential Side Effects of Delta-8
One of the biggest concerns or hesitations people have when it comes to trying any products that contain THC or CBD are its potential side effects. Because most delta-8 products are higher in CBD than THC and it’s THC that gives you the “high” associated with marijuana, CBD products are relatively safe with few risks or side effects. It’s important to note, though, that research is ongoing and not everyone will react the same way.
Some potential side effects of CBD use include
- Stomach upset
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Weight changes
- Overall discomfort
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
FAQs About Delta-8
If you’re still unsure that delta-8 is the best sleep aid for you, check out these frequently asked questions to help clear up some confusion. And, as always, speak with your doctor or another medical professional before using any new drug or medication.
What forms does Delta-8 come in?
Delta-8 is available in a variety of easy-to-use products including edibles (gummies), vape cartridges, oils, and tinctures. The type of product you use is completely up to you and determined by a few things.
For starters, it’s about your preference. Some people like the taste and ease of popping a gummy before bed while others prefer smoking or vaping the product. Each type of consumption method works differently and takes effect differently. For example, your body needs time to break down gummies and other edibles, so you may not feel the effects for up to 2 hours, whereas vaping delta-8 yields results almost immediately. Keep this in mind when using delta-8 before bed or to facilitate sleep.
Is Delta-8 or Delta-9 better for sleep?
As mentioned before, delta-9 is much stronger and more potent than delta-8. It also contains higher levels of THC. Although it takes longer for users to feel the effects of delta-8, research suggests it works better as a sleep aid and anxiety reducer than its stronger counterpart, delta-9.
How much Delta-8 do I need for sleep?
When it comes to dosage and ingesting CBD or THC products, it’s best to go low and slow. Especially if you’re new to using these types of products. Start with a low dose and wait to see what the effects are before increasing. Delta-8 comes in a variety of strengths, most of which are measured in milligrams. Check with your doctor and read the label carefully before deciding on the proper dosage for your needs, body type, and ailments.
Is Delta-8 legal?
There’s no clear-cut answer to this question since it depends on the region where you live. In 2018, a bill was passed on the federal level that states any product containing less than 0.3% THC can be sold legally. On the state level, however, some laws are more strict. As of this writing, at least 18 states in the US have outlawed any items containing delta-8 due to controversy over how it’s manufactured. Before you purchase products containing delta-8, be sure to check with your local state laws.
Find a Formula that Works for Your Unique Sleep Needs
When it comes to overcoming insomnia and other common sleep disorders, it comes down to your unique needs and medical history. Not all sleep disorders are treated equally and many need an individualized approach. While delta-8 may be a viable option for treating certain sleep issues, it could cause adverse effects in others.
If you want a detailed, personalized approach to treating your sleep troubles, Somnus Therapy can help. Find out more here!