How to Avoid Feeling Sleepy When Using Cannabis

Tina Magrabi
Tina Magrabi - Content Writer

Aug 25 2021 - 4 min read

How can you stay alert when using cannabis? Many cannabis strains provide a pleasurable mellow feeling, and some people even use marijuana to combat insomnia. But maybe you would prefer to experience more energizing effects and function in top form throughout your day.

Based on a blend of scientific and anecdotal evidence, here are our best tips on how to avoid feeling sleepy when using cannabis. First, let’s clarify what causes cannabis to make you feel tired.

CBD (cannabidiol) and cannabis to help you sleep better.

Why Does Cannabis Make Me Feel Sleepy?

Cannabis is a psychoactive substance which exerts different effects based on various factors, including the consumption method and the individual. Therefore, the urge to fall asleep (known in the cannabis world as the “couchlock effect”) is just one possible result of using marijuana. Alternatively, you may feel capable of running a marathon and, with some cannabis strains, a combination of sedation and rejuvenation.

Sativa strains are known for their energetic effects, while indica strains have a reputation for being relaxing. But anyone who is more than a cannabis novice knows that this explanation is simplistic. The reasons for marijuana making one person feel high and another feel low may boil down to body chemistry more than sativa vs. indica.

Above all, the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis influence how you feel after a smoke or vape session. Although the cannabinoid CBD is frequently used to treat anxiety and may induce relaxation, THC exerts its own sedative effects during absorption into the bloodstream. In conjunction with certain terpenes, like myrcene, that can have a hypnotic effect, high-THC cannabis may leave you ready for a nap.

How to Avoid Falling Asleep after Smoking Weed

Medical marijuana users often like to start their day with a cannabis smoke session. If you use marijuana in the morning, chances are you want to go on with your day rather than shutting the blinds and falling back into slumber.

Here are some strategies you can try to stay alert when using marijuana no matter what time of day or night it is.

Choose a Cannabis Strain Low in THC

Choosing a strain low in THC offers several benefits, including the ability to stay awake. These are some low-THC strains recommended for beginners or anyone seeking a more energetic cannabis experience:

    • Blue Dream
    • Cannatonic
    • Harlequin
    • Northern Lights
    • Blueberry

Not only will these cannabis strains help beginner users avoid the “couchlock effect,” but they are also good for novice cultivators due to their ease of growth.

Download Free Guide to THC

Balance out CBD and THC

Another surefire way to stave off lethargy is to carefully balance your CBD and THC ratios. The ratio of 1:1 is a popular place to start, but you may opt to choose a cannabis product heavier in CBD. To ensure that your ratios and dosages are precise, talk with a qualified physician and always make your purchases from a licensed dispensary.

In all instances, make sure that your cannabis doesn’t tip the scales towards THC, especially with potent edibles. High-THC marijuana edibles can have unpredictable effects on different people, with some feeling zoned out and others experiencing a high of uncomfortable proportions. Some users of predominantly THC edibles have even reported psychotic episodes, due to the way the body metabolizes the cannabinoid after ingestion.

Furthermore, not all scientific evidence is in agreement that CBD has the ability to temper THC. Some studies have shown that CBD may have a beneficial counteractive effect against THC, but more research is needed. Again, when in doubt, seek the counsel of a doctor specializing in medical marijuana.

Download Free Guide to CBD

Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco Products

For numerous health reasons, you may like to eliminate alcohol and tobacco from your life. But limiting or forgoing consumption of these substances can also facilitate a more pleasant cannabis experience. Alcohol in particular can magnify the fatigue that may emerge after using marijuana.

Plus, alcohol dehydrates the body and can contribute to any dry mouth sensation you have from consuming cannabis. In short, cannabis and alcohol don’t mix well.

What Should I Do if I’m Tired after Using Marijuana?

If all else fails and you still feel sleepy after using cannabis and are experiencing a “weed hangover,” here are a few things you can do to get bright-eyed:

    • Get moving and try some full-body yoga stretches while breathing deeply. The simple act of inhaling brings new life into the system and can give you an instant boost.
    • Better yet, get out into the fresh air and take a walk. Be sure to hydrate, as a bottle of water will help get your blood pumping and get rid of any cotton-mouth feeling you might have.
    • Whether it’s eggs or tofu, grab a high-protein meal to shake off that lazy feeling. Avoid sweet and starchy foods which will make you feel even sleepier and possibly lead to a sugar crash.
    • If there are any aches and pains accompanying your weed hangover, apply a CBD topical to relieve the symptoms. A cooling CBD gel may work especially well to ease discomfort and refresh you simultaneously.

As for what you should not do to recover from a weed hangover, steer clear of caffeine. Though it might feel like the most natural thing to brew a cup of coffee, there is evidence from animal studies that caffeine combined with THC may negatively impact memory. In addition, caffeine is a stimulant with psychoactive properties of its own, so it’s safest not to combine it with another psychoactive substance like marijuana.

Feeling Good when You Use Cannabis

Whether you’re a medical or recreational user, most likely you turn to cannabis to feel good on every level. Learning which strains and doses work best for your body will help keep your cannabis experience enjoyable.

The experienced physicians at Leafwell are here to consult with you and personalize a cannabis regimen. Reach out and we’ll help you navigate the process of applying for a medical cannabis card.

Written by
Tina Magrabi
Tina Magrabi

Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women's health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero's Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.

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