Here’s How Smoking Marijuana Before Bed Affects Your Brain, For Better Or Worse

Pairing marijuana with bedtime seems like a natural thing, like peanut butter and jelly or a Corona with lime on the beach. Unfortunately for all the stoners out there who like to take a casual bong rip before catching some Z’s, smoking marijuana before bed does in fact affect the way you sleep – however it’s not necessarily negative. It’s not necessarily positive, either. In fact what really matters is what YOU want to get out of your nightly round of sleep: longer deep sleep or more REM sleep?

MIC interviewed several experts in the medical marijuana field to find out how smoking before bed affects the way you sleep, and while there wasn’t an overwhelming consensus overall the experts did manage to agree on a few things:

  1. Marijuana helps you fall asleep, as long as it’s an indica and not a sativa

…Did I say “a few things?” Sorry, I meant “one. One thing and that’s it.” Other than that, scientists seem to be in disagreement over whether having deep sleep vs REM sleep is more important, both of which are affected by marijuana:

“The key sleep state is the REM sleep,” or stage 4, Dr. Kevin Hill, director of the Substance Abuse Consultation Service, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, told Mic. “That’s the restorative stage for your sleep. Evidence suggests that’s lowered by marijuana.”

Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer at HelloMD, a digital health care platform for medical marijuana, says it’s the third stage of sleep — deep sleep or slow-wave sleep — that seems to let your body renew and repair itself. Stage 3 is “the most sensitive to cannabis,” Solomon told Mic. “Marijuana seems to make that stage longer, and people get a more restful sleep when [slow-wave sleep] is longer.”

While Solomon (and a health report from Harvard Medical School) says that stage 3 sleep is probably what repairs your body the best, Hill says stage 4, or REM sleep, is what refreshes your brain. Weed makes that brain-refreshment stage less effective.(via)

So what matters to you more: that your brain is refreshed, or that your body is repaired? There’s even a third option, which is “I don’t really care about either I just like to smoke before bed,” in which case hooray! You read this whole thing and came out with absolutely no intellectual gain whatsoever.

In the end, make to take this all with a grain of salt though – the science is reportedly “inconclusive” due to the fact that medical marijuana research is still in its infancy.