Can cannabis make you tired? As it turns out, there is more than one way that the plant can cause heavy eyelids. Various chemical compounds in the herb engage with cells in the human body, creating chemical interactions that Sound confusing? Let us explain; here’s why cannabis makes you tired:
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary compound that causes the cannabis plant’s famous psychoactive “high”. Yet, this compound may also be the culprit behind some of the herb’s sedative effects. THC hijacks the landing sites for other natural compounds that help regulate the body’s biological clock and pleasure centers. Specifically, the psychoactive mimics compounds that may interact with, at least in part, the sleep chemical melatonin. It also changes the concentrations of the pleasure and attention hormone, dopamine.
Let’s look at melatonin first. Melatonin is a neurotransmitter that tells you when its time for bed. The body ramps up melatonin secretion as the sun goes down and decreases its production throughout the day. While research on cannabis and melatonin is admittedly a little sparse, an early 1986 study suggests that THC may increase the release of melatonin shortly after consuming, with a peak melatonin concentration about two hours after inhaling the psychoactive herb. While some research suggests that the effect of cannabis on melatonin may be more complicated than this early study suggests, a boost in melatonin may be one of the reasons the herb causes drowsiness during odd times of the day.
THC’s effects on dopamine are more clear. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows you to feel pleasure from activities like sex, eating, and other enjoyable activities. Yet, the neurotransmitter also has a serious side. Dopamine also lends a hand in attention and drive. It’s dopamine that helps you stay on task and get things done. In low doses, THC can cause a pleasurable dopamine spike. If you consume the herb a little too much for too long, however, research suggests that the plant might contribute to an overall decrease in dopamine. For this reason, you may find yourself a little tired and unmotivated after overdoing it with the THC. Your best bet for avoiding feelings of fatigue after smoking? Consume in moderation.
There’s more to cannabis than just THC. Even some high-THC strains are more sedative than others. So, what gives? The answer to that question is pleasing to the nose. The cannabis plant can produce over 200 aroma molecules, called terpenes. It is the unique combination of these molecules that gives each cannabis strain its individual personality. As luck would have it, the cannabis plant features a large number of sedative terpenes.
When it comes to sleepiness, musky myrcene is a major player. This little molecule provides sweet musk aroma to some cannabis strains, and it is also thought to contribute to the hypnotic and couch-locking effects in some cannabis strains.
There’s some research to support this claim. In a 2002 study, researchers tested the effects of myrcene and two additional terpenes on mice. When treated with myrcene extracted from the Lippa alba plant, the mice slept an average of 2.6 times longer than untreated mice. The rodents were given 200 milligrams of the terpene per kilogram of body weight.
As mentioned above, CBD can have alerting effects in low to moderate doses. CBD can also mitigate some of the undesirable side effects of THC. Thus far, research suggests that the non-intoxicating compound can lessen the psychoactivity of THC. It may also decrease visuospatial memory impairments caused by the psychoactive, which may make you to forget things like where you set your keys or where you parked your car. Finally, CBD also seems to counteract some of the appetite-inducing effects of THC.
Consume Smaller Doses of pot
You certainly don’t have to get stoned in order to reap the full medicinal benefits of cannabis. Consuming too much weed is not only a recipe for couchlock, but it can also bring about anxiety-inducing effects that can leave you otherwise unable to function.
More and more studies suggest that the smallest therapeutic dose of cannabis you can take, the better it works. So, if you’re utilizing the plant regularly, it may be worthwhile to take a tolerance break or gradually lower the amount you are consuming.
Unless you’re prone to anxiety or panic disorder, drinking coffee or green tea can give you a quick boost of energy if weed has you feeling tired. Sometimes dubbed “a poor man’s speed-ball”, many people rightfully assume that mixing caffeine with weed confuses the body since one is a stimulant and the other is a depressant.
However, a 2011 experimental study found that caffeine enhanced the memory-impairing effects of THC in animals and in cell cultures. In fact, caffeine seemed to compliment THC so well that less THC was needed to achieve the same results of the original dosage of just THC alone.
While the research hasn’t been tested in humans, if you can get the same effects using less THC when caffeine is involved, what a great way to give yourself a little pick-me-up! If you’re hoping to avoid falling asleep, finding ways to limit your THC consumption is usually a good idea.