Cannabis can help with insomnia in one of two ways; firstly, through the workings of the Cannabinoid CBD. This compound acts on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by increasing the concentration of anandamide (a cannabinoid naturally produced by our body). This process, in turn, helps to regulate our natural sleep cycle. THC is also known to have to relax and offer sleep-promoting effects, by binding to the CB-1 receptors of the ECS, however, in high doses and long-term use, THC may (on its own) have adverse effects on our sleep cycle. The terpenes linalool and myrcene also have sedative effects and aid the working of CBD and THC through the Entourage Effect.

Secondly, both THC, CBD and the terpenes linalool and myrcene have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce the reasons why you might experience an imbalance in your sleep cycle.

We can all relate to the feeling of not being able to get to sleep at night familiar and the feeling the following day when your body struggles to function because of a lack of quality sleep. Indeed, around 1 in 3 people are currently living with at least a mild form of insomnia. Unfortunately, with a multitude of different causes, this condition is a particularly difficult one to treat.

With traditional over-the-counter or prescription, treatments can prove to be useful for some; typically, they come with a litany of side-effects. As such, a growing number of people are now beginning to consider alternatives to these kinds of treatments.

One of those, which is now being recommended by a growing number of healthcare professionals, is medical cannabis.

The Science Behind Medical Marijuana for Insomnia

There are now a wide variety of medicinal cannabis strains available on the market today. Some strains are known to ‘perk you up’ while others are said to be effective in inducing rest and relaxation. But why is it that different strains have different effects on your brain and body?

It all comes down to the blend of cannabinoids and terpenes in a particular strain. Cannabinoids and terpenes act in synergy (known as the ‘Entourage effect’) and depending on the balances of each, determine the effect it has on the human body.

So, what are the main things to look out for in a strain to help combat insomnia symptoms?

Cannabidiol (CBD) 

The increasingly popular CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that acts on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by increasing the concentration of anandamide, a cannabinoid naturally produced by our bodies. This effect can help to regulate our sleep cycle, facilitating the ability to fall asleep naturally.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 

The most well-known compound of the cannabis plant, THC is responsible for the high feeling and sedative effects one gets from consuming recreational cannabis. It is also well known for inducing sleep and relaxation by binding to the CB-1 receptors of the ECS. 

Research has indeed indicated that cannabis strains containing high levels of THC can help to reduce the amount of REM sleep you get when you fall asleep. It is thought that consuming THC can allow for a form of more restful sleep known as deep sleep cycles.

This type of sleep is known to be far more restorative, thus helping to improve your overall quality of sleep. Less REM sleep can prove to be beneficial for those who struggle to sleep due to recurring nightmares as we tend not to dream when we enter deep sleeping cycles.


Various concoctions of terpenes are present, along with hundreds of cannabinoids in marijuana. Together, through the ‘Entourage Effect’ they can have varying effects on bodily functions by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

Different concentrations of these compounds mean different strains are more effective at combating various ailments. For example, the terpenes linalool and myrcene are known for their soothing effects and are thought to synergise effectively with the therapeutic qualities of THC and CBD. 

THC, CBD, Linalool, and Myrcene are also known for their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce potential secondary causes of interruptions to the sleep cycle.

Best Cannabis Strains for Insomnia

So, for those of you suffering from insomnia or chronic insomnia, where do you start in your search for a strain to solve your sleep problems? Research suggests that Indica strains for insomnia are particularly effective in obtaining that elusive deep sleep. To assist you in your quest to find the right strain to combat insomnia, we have picked out three of our favourite cannabis strains for insomnia, based on their cannabinoid and terpene content.

Tahoe OG Kush 

Well known for its analgesic, pain-relieving properties, Tahoe OG Kush is a slightly indica dominant hybrid marijuana strain that is considered to be one of the best strains for insomnia. This impressive flower is a phenotype of the original OG strain and boasts many of the OG traits that have made the plant such a popular one. 

For those with problems sleeping, Tahoe OG Kush could be an ideal choice with many medical users claiming this to be one of the best strains for getting a good nights sleep because of its fast-acting, soothing effect.

Indeed, as this strain was bred specifically for its therapeutic qualities, it has proved highly effective for many people treating stress and pain as well as insomnia. With THC levels around 20%, Tahoe OG is undoubtedly a potent and powerful strain that embodies many of the recognisable indica effects as well as a sativa-like euphoric boost. And thanks to the presence of the terpenes limonene and caryophyllene, Tahoe OG offers an aroma and flavour that is a somewhat reminiscent pungent blend of citrus and diesel. 

With Tahoe OG known of its relaxing and soothing effects, this potent strain can help your mind to relax and allow you to drift off quickly into a long and rewarding rest.

Afghan Kush 

Our second selection is another member of the famous Kush family that has gifted several potent and medicinally effective strains, Afghan Kush. 

Another indica dominant hybrid, this legendary strain hails from the Hindu Kush mountain range near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It has been used to make Charas and Black Hash for as long as there have been humans living in that area. 

Famed for its stress-relieving qualities, this indica dominant choice contains a medium to high level of THC (upwards of 20%) and helps to induce the relaxation needed to get a peaceful nights sleep. 

Terpenes found in this strain include myrcene, limonene and caryophyllene which are thought to be therapeutically useful in treating insomnia, as well as providing this strain with its distinctive citrusy, peppery flavour and aroma.

If you’re suffering from poor sleeping patterns or insomnia, a little Afghan Kush could just help you on your way to the land of nod. 

Northern Lights 

Ok, we’ve all heard of this one, and while it is one of the most famous cannabis strains of all time, Northern Lights fame is not without justification. This potent indica strain is known for its ability to relieve pain and provide total relaxation that can help to aid a truly blissful nights sleep. 

With its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, Northern Lights is considered by many to be one of the most soothing medicinal cannabis strains on the market today with many people claiming to have found relief in using it as a treatment for insomnia.

A descendant of indigenous Afghani and Thai landrace strains, Northern Lights is the parent of famed hybrids including Shiva Skunk and Super Silver Haze, and with THC levels approaching 20%, Northern Lights continues to allure the cannabis connoisseur for both its recreational and medical value.

This Pungently sweet yet somewhat spicy plants terpene profile includes limonene and myrcene which give this strains its citrus, piney flavour and aroma. 

It is recommended that Northern Lights should be used in the evening as it is one of the purest indica strains on the market today, which also makes it a particularly sedative strain.  For those of you living with insomnia, given its indica potency, Northern Lights could provide the perfect antidote to your sleeping issues. 

If you are having trouble with insomnia, we recommend trying a few of these strains of medical marijuana as sleeping aids and seeing which one works best for you.

Don´t forget to visit our growing community and webshop to learn more about cannabis and insomnia. We have a wide selection of strains available including other members of the kush family such as; Bubba Kush, Critical Kush and Kosher Kush as well as famed strains like Purple Urkle, and MK Ultra.

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