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How Your Body's Endocannabinoid System Creates Great Sleep

Reading Time: 4 min 46 sec

A Good Night's Rest 

You've likely heard that cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, are incredibly useful for getting great sleep. However, there's a complex process that occurs within your body to allow for such a result to exist. 

Read along to understand how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a crucial role in a good night's rest with the help of cannabinoids. 

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The ECS is composed of a multitude of neurotransmitters, receptors, and proteins that are found throughout the body. Due to their sheer number and distinct differences, researchers organized the receptors into two primary groups. The CB1 and CB2 receptor groups are the primary focus when discussing the ECS. 

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The CB1 and CB2 receptor groups are responsible for a host of functions and actions, such as regulating the immune system, motor skills, memory function, organ function, and much more. 

It's important to understand that cannabinoids, such as THC, act as agonists to the CB1 and CB2 receptor groups. In other words, cannabinoids initiate a physiological response within the ECS that affects a wide variety of issues within the body.

Why Sleep Is Important 

"Getting enough sleep is essential for helping a person maintain optimal health and well-being."

One of the issues that we're here to discuss today is the sleep-cycle and insomnia. Sleep is a crucial component for your health because it allows your body and mind to recover. Whether it's from a long day at the office, or exercise-induced inflammation - a minimum of 7-hours of sleep is a must-have per night.

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Research shows that the less sleep you have, the less your body can cope with diseases and injury. Less sleep also increases your risk of heart disease and illness.

With this in mind, let's take a look at how endocannabinoids work with your ECS to help you get a good night's rest.

It's All About Relaxing

"[Cannabinoids] may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness."

Once work is over and you're ready to relax, you may find it difficult, especially if it was a stressful day. In this case, your heart rate is elevated well into the night, which is why you may need to enlist the help of edible gummies to help you genuinely chill out.

After you've ingested one (or two) edible gummies or a mouthful of THC syrup, it's time to let your ECS do its job. You'll need to wait between 45-minutes and 2-hours to let your digestive system break down the food fully to release the cannabinoids into your blood unless you apply your cannabis sublingually or inhale it. 

Once that's complete, the cannabinoids are sent directly to the ECS, where they bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors. Depending on the THC to CBD ratio, you will experience differing effects that can be either psychoactive or non-psychoactive.

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During this process, certain mechanical functions within the ECS activate, assisting the sleep-wake cycle. The ability to fall asleep increases, while your desire to sleep during waking hours decreases simultaneously. 

In the case of THC-rich marijuana gummies, the CB1 receptors are affected primarily. THC binds to CB1 receptors and produces relaxing effects that ease muscle tension and decrease overall awareness. It's due to these factors that THC contributes to a lowered sleep latency, which means that you will most likely fall asleep quickly.

Ultimately, cannabinoids are incredibly useful in stimulating your ECS to produce a wide range of effects that are especially beneficial for relaxing, and thus, sleeping. 

Cannabinoids and Serotonin 

"Cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system are well known to be involved in the regulation of mood and depression and the modulation of the serotonergic system in the central nervous system."

On the flip side, that's not to say that THC is ideal for overall sleep quality. However, other cannabinoids, such as CBD, are likely to produce a state of sleep that THC negates. Dream sleep, which is also known as REM sleep, can be triggered by CBD.

Serotonin is a natural hormone and neurotransmitter found within the brain. It's commonly associated with feeling secure and happy; however, it also plays a crucial role in your sleep. More specifically, serotonin is a critical player in helping you fall asleep and achieving REM sleep, acting as a precursor to melatonin. 

Each individual has varying levels of serotonin. This fact is why some people fall asleep the moment they close their eyes, while others toss and turn for half of the night. 

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You may be wondering - what do CBD, the ECS, and serotonin have in common? Well, CBD can directly impact your serotonin levels because of its serotonergic signaling.

When CBD stimulates the ECS, it can produce increased levels of serotonin. An individual that consumes CBD before bed may potentially reap the benefits of increased serotonin levels. 

However, the process of increasing serotonin levels is also related to CBDs antidepressant activity. As the CB1 receptor group (along with various fatty-acid molecules) stimulate the central nervous system (CNS), a burst of serotonin is released. Therefore, CBD and the ECS create a two-pronged attack on depressive symptoms and insomnia.

Cannabinoids, The ECS, and Restful Sleep

If you're ready to stop counting sheep and knock out when you want to, then utilizing your ECS, along with cannabinoids, is your best bet. Research is ongoing regarding sleep; however, current studies show the influence that your ECS has on a variety of factors that affect your sleep. 

There's no better time than now to get the sleep you deserve. A great night's sleep is just around the corner, and all it may take is a single edible gummy or THC syrup to jump-start the whole process.

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