Dr. David Pompei, PharmD, MS
Have you ever felt drowsy or like you couldn’t keep your eyes open after smoking weed? Have you ever eaten an edible and felt tired the next day? Why does weed make you sleepy? Drowsiness is defined as a strong urge to sleep or feeling that you can’t keep your eyes open. In medical contexts, drowsiness is generally considered to be abnormal tiredness or sleepiness during the day.
Many people use cannabis with the goal of improving their sleep, so - for those people - feeling tired after smoking weed is the goal. And in some contexts (like for night shift workers), using cannabis to feel drowsy and fall asleep during the day can be beneficial. However, many people use cannabis to enhance their focus and creativity or to stimulate their appetite, and don’t want to fall asleep mid-creative project or mid-meal.
What causes drowsiness after smoking weed or using a cannabis product? And what can you do to mitigate drowsiness from cannabis?
Marijuana makes you sleepy because of the way the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant affect you. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in circadian rhythms and regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
Studies have shown that cannabis alters the sleep-wake cycle, increases the production of melatonin, and can “inhibit the arousal system by activating CB1 receptors in the basal forebrain and other wake promoting centers.”
Cannabinoids like THC are consistent and well-established in helping initiate sleep, or helping you fall asleep, while certain terpenes like myrcene may have sedating properties and contribute to the sleep-promoting effects of cannabis. For an in-depth look at the science of cannabis and sleep, check out our article Can Cannabis or CBD Help You Sleep Better at Night?
Here are some general suggestions on how to mitigate side effects from cannabis, and then we will explore some specific suggestions about how to fix drowsiness.
Try a new product
Different cannabis products will contain different chemical compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes, which may exert distinct effects. Use Jointly’s Product Finder to discover new top-rated products.
Try a new ingestion method
Additionally, the way you ingest a product will change how it affects you. Smoking a joint of cannabis flower may produce slightly different effects versus vaporizing it, desipte both ingestion methods involve heating cannabis and inhaling the active compounds. Each ingestion method has its own advantages and may produce different effects or side effects. To learn how different weed ingestion methods produce different effects, read our article The Best Way to Take Cannabis for Wellness Purposes.
Add in a companion food
Did you know that weed companion foods can enhance your cannabis experience in different ways? Mangoes, dark chocolate, green tea, and thyme are all weed companion foods. Chemical compounds in these foods may alter your cannabis experience, and potentially mitigate adverse side effects like drowsiness. To learn about these foods and how to add them into your cannabis wellness routine, check out our article Do These Foods Get You Higher?
Find your minimum effective dose
Most adverse side effects from cannabis are caused by ingesting too high of a dose of THC. While you cannot die from ingesting too much cannabis, a THC overdose is a real risk. The single most effective way to mitigate side effects is to microdose and titrate up your dose until you find the minimum effective dose of cannabis to get the effect you want.
Turn the dials on 15 factors
According to cannabis experts, there are at least 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience and play a major role in whether a cannabis product is giving you the feeling you want, or producing adverse side effects like drowsiness. There is a good chance that the amount of sleep you got last night has the greatest impact on whether cannabis gives you this side effect or not. Or maybe you will discover that a quick workout before using cannabis eliminates any drowsiness.
We have gone over some ways that you can mitigate side effects in general, but what is the best way to not get tired after smoking weed? How can you avoid falling asleep when you are high?
If you have tried the general suggestions, but you are still experiencing drowsiness even with your minimum effective dose, you could try using cannabis earlier in the day or even in the morning.
According to cannabis experts, using weed at different times of day can produce different effects or side effects.
You could also try using CBD with THC. While many people use CBD to facilitate sleep, research has shown that CBD has “wake-promoting” properties, meaning it wakes you up. Additionally, CBD buffers the psychoactive effects of THC slightly, so you may experience less dramatic sedating effects than you would normally.
If you are not sensitive to caffeine, you could try consuming caffeine or dark chocolate alongside cannabis and see if those companion foods mitigate any tiredness or drowsiness.
Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.
With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.
The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience.
So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.