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The Sandman and the Greenman

“Mr. Sandman bring me a dream…”  Sometimes it’s not that easy.  According to the NIH 10-15% of adults complain of chronic insomnia, with as many as 40% suffering in the short term throughout the year.  This is no laughing matter.  Sleep is a very important bodily function.  It allows the body to relax and recuperate from the stresses that make up daily life.  It is necessary also to keep the mind healthy.  Insomnia can lead to many neurological disorders including hallucinations, memory failure, psychotic episodes and many more.  “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Stay awake long enough and that will happen sooner rather than later.

For those who suffer from sleep disorders, there are many treatments available.  Some problems can be solved with a change of diet or behavior.  Other people benefit from meditation and relaxation techniques.  For many others, the only solace lies in a doctor’s prescription.  Many narcotics, such as Valium, are derived from opiates.  They are effective, but do have their drawbacks.  Most sleeping medications, like Lunesta, Ambien, Rozerem, and Halcion can be habit forming and need to be carefully regulated.  And a common problem with any drug, taken over extended periods is tolerance.  As the body grows used to it, more and more of the drug is necessary to achieve the desired effect.  On a long enough time scale, or at high enough doses, all of these drugs can be lethal or can cause dire withdrawal symptoms.

There is a natural alternative to these pharmaceuticals, and that alternative is Marijuana.  Actually, there are many other naturally-found sleep aids available, such as Melatonin, but today let us discuss the wonder plant cannabis.  Many patients prefer cannabis because it not only has sedative properties and causes drowsiness, but because it helps stimulate a sense of personal well-being.  Many people’s insomnia is partially due to anxiety, and this reduces that feeling while also bringing on sleep.  But how does it work? Luckily, this is a time where science is bringing all its tools together and our understanding of the plant is growing in leaps and bounds.  The chemicals in marijuana, amongst them cannabinoids and terpenes, are numerous but many studies are underway to gain further knowledge of them.  Terpenes are lipophilic (from latin “fat” + “love” so they work well with fats, just like cannabinoids) compounds found in almost every plant.  They are the essential oils that are responsible for the odors we smell, such as pine, citrus and marijuana’s unique fragrance.

THC, the most famous of marijuana’s active compounds, has been shown to cause anxiety in some patients, but when it works in synergy with the many other compounds has sedative effects.  When combined with the terpene Myrcene, THC can be sedating and acts as a muscle relaxant; Also, studies show it to “potentiate sleep time,” helping people to stay asleep. Some users refer to this as “couch-lock,” the feeling that they are melting into the couch, which is generally enjoyed by the cannabis crowd, and decried by its many detractors.  Two other terpenes enjoy the “entourage effect” (synergy) of THC; they are Nerolidol and Linalool (also found in lavender).  These are not the only interactions scientists have found.  Limonene (found highly in lemons) works with CBD (cannabidiol) as an anti-anxiety compound to counter THC’s anxiety causing effects.  And Nerolidol (also found in oranges) combine with THC and CBN (cannabinol) to augment the sedative qualities.  CBD also works to counter the accelerated heartbeat that many users feel when smoking, an effect of the THC.

These are just a few of the 300+ chemicals and compounds found in marijuana. They work in conjunction to create the many effects that people feel when they medicate with cannabis.  This is why many patients did not warm up to Marinol (Big Pharma’s pill) when it was released in the 1980′s.  THC is not the only thing going on in that plant which helps so many people.  One patient’s testimony, “I used to take Ambien for sleep, but I’d wind up sleepwalking. And in the morning, I’d be so groggy I could barely function.  When I vape a little before bed, I feel peaceful and sleep well.  Sometimes I am a bit foggy when I wake, but as soon as I get moving, the fog lifts and the day awaits.  Before that, I slept poorly for years. I wish I could get a prescription for it where I lived.”  With proper, regular sleep many of the little aches and pains that bother people from day to day vanish.  When the Greenman meets the Sandman, people sleep at night and prosper in the day.

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30 Responses to “The Sandman and the Greenman”

  1. avatar
    Nick April 7, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    What an informational article! I was aware of some of these things, but had no idea how the chemicals worked together for the desired effect. I will be doing more reading about this topic for sure.

  2. avatar
    ManicSurfer April 7, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    It’s just amazing how the chemicals compunds in marijuana react with each other, vs just by themselves. No wonder Marinol didn’t succeed as planned.

  3. avatar
    WhipperSnapper420 April 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    That explains all those times waking up on the couch in the middle of the morning with all the lights on! lol I actually started smoking because of insomnia. NOTHIING Is more frustrating then couting the slats on the digital clock up to when you have work trying to sleep! Reading helped for a while too, but had to be boring. MJ helps me significantly

  4. avatar
    Pakalolo April 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Great article! i wondered why strains smell so different. its the terpenes. really cool how they’re learning how all the chemicals work together and against each other to have those effects on us. I’d much rather have the buds around then a lil pill bottle. They smell good and they’re so pretty to look at.

  5. avatar
    Daytimetoker April 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    I appreciate the knockout buds but since i usually like to medicate during the day, i stick with sativa’s. Alot of people usually think all bud knocks you out, its not true… there’s no many strains out here that all react uniquely with the individual. blue dream def works for daytime

    • avatar
      WeJuana April 8, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      I find that it also depends on the individual. Some of my patients for lack of a better term are wired differently, whether it be the brain chemistry, or perhaps a misfire between synapses but they do not react the same way most of us do to marijuana,

    • avatar
      HempHammock23 April 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

      Yeah I get pretty wiped during the day but am always looking for that killer blend of super stoney but lacking the drag. I dig headband and jack especially for that. Always gotta keep trying new meds

  6. avatar
    Chief IronLung April 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Most people think all Indica make you sleep. This is not true. If you not scared and try many others, you can find heavy hitting non sleeper, which are my favorite!

  7. avatar
    CookieMonster420 April 8, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Greenie indica! sleepy time and deep sleepy time. BEST FOR WEEKEND USE! they do have sativas which are great for park or beach days not operating heavy machinery lol

    • avatar
      calicoast420 April 10, 2012 at 5:57 am #

      i dont know ive had a greenie sativa that knocked me outttt :P

  8. avatar
    CaGuy209 April 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    I really do suffer from chronic insomnia badly when I don’t have my green-man. It drives me crazy!!!

  9. avatar
    JT101 April 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    I can not take PM or other night time sleep aids and function the next day. A little green good night and up the next day ready to take it on. I know many other people like this.

    What does that tell you about the stuff they put in those sleep aids.

  10. avatar
    LegalGrower909 April 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Quite an amazing read, I learned alot.

  11. avatar
    KirbySmokes April 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Cannabis is the only thing that will put my restless mind to sleep…

  12. avatar
    Wally G April 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    When I can’t fall asleep I count Lamb’s Bread.

  13. avatar
    frigidaire April 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    A good GDP does the trick

  14. avatar
    samson April 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    I’m glad that I don’t have any trouble sleeping. If I did, I just eat some my masters medical marijuana stash.

    • avatar
      calicoast420 April 10, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      be careful samson make sure you know how much you are eating! it is a different amount for a little kitty like yourself!

      • avatar
        Jumping Jelly Bean April 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

        eat it! eat it!

  15. avatar
    BurnoneDown April 10, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    The problem I find with any sleep medication is that its so hard to wake up the next day! Yea it puts you to sleep but sheeeeet man ive slept thru alarms cause i was OUT. With herb, even if I sometimes get that morning haze feeling im still able to shake it off. And just smoke more :P

  16. avatar
    Trailblazer420 April 10, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    I’m usually very active and don’t have too much trouble sleeping because from bike rides or jogging it out I am pretty spent by the end of the day. Too many times i get stuck at work or cant get out to exercise and feel all bunched up and can’t sleep. in those cases i just take one pull off my bubbler and am right as rain and drifting to sleep :)

    • avatar
      SonicBoom420 April 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      I’m exactly the same way , I don’t usually need MJ to sleep but it helps! And sometimes gives me crazy dreams :P

  17. avatar
    Wally G April 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    If you are having trouble sleeping I recommend getting your back checked! Spinal alignment is really important.

    • avatar
      Jumping Jelly Bean April 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

      it saved my life

  18. avatar
    Love4Tr33s April 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Grand Daddy Purps is my GO TO when i need to sleep! never fails me <3

  19. avatar
    stonedhands April 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    cool article. finally a more descriptive explanation then pot knocks you out! I want to explore other indica’s that are NOT super heavy, i thought they all knocked you out before this. Actually I had a cool budtender at a place i went to that explained not all indicas are knockouts, i just didn’t believe her and thought she was just trying to sell higher med’s to me… may have been both

  20. avatar
    Jumping Jelly Bean April 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    mine opposite. sativas get me tired and indicas wake me up

  21. avatar
    One Blazed Bitch April 12, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Nothing like a nice blunt of my favorite hard hitting indica to wipe away the sh*t stains of the day from human interaction…. never seems like one strong enough. This strain library is legit. Why are more people not all over this? other sites suck balls and have no info just copy and pasted names. good work!

  22. avatar
    Alien Toker April 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    All the humans are asleep. This plant does more to wake the human mind and open consciousness than most things men put into the world. For the right brain chemistry it can be most stimulating.

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