How Smoking Weed Can Alter Your Dreams
Cannabis acts as a prohibition of dreams by suppressing the sleep cycle in which dreams occur. It also suppresses REM sleep so much that many regular smokers can't even remember having dreams.
Cannabis prolongs the time between falling asleep and REM sleep (so-called REM latency), which can increase the turbulence of dreams people remember. THC also reduces the time spent in REM sleep, and as a result the dreams that occur are not as vivid. While cannabis can reduce the amount of time you spend in REM sleep and prevent you from dreaming, dreams are still possible in most cases, even if they do not seem to be affected.
This phenomenon is known as the REM reversal which happens when dreams become more frequent, vivid and strange as the body compensates for the decline in REM sleep after the use of cannabis. This effect is not well understood, but a 2017 review of sleep, cannabis and cannabinoids suggests that the dosage appears to affect dreams. Apart from an increase in dreams, a reduction in the REM sleep cycle has no negative effects on the body.
A study published in the Journal of Sleep  in 2008 suggests that heavy cannabis users spend less time in the REM stage of the sleep cycle than non-users. A 2017 review of sleep, cannabis and cannabinoids reported that higher CBD doses on day of administration raised the start of REM sleep, while CBD reduced it in the middle range.
REM is also called dream sleep, and we dream during NREM sleep. Some estimates suggest that 80% of dreams occur during rapid eye movement (REM) - in fact, we spend about 20% of our sleep time in this 1% of REM. Given that we dream the most in the REM stage of the sleep cycle, it seems possible that heavy cannabis users have fewer hours of REM sleep and dream less.
We can also dream during our REM sleep, which explains why many people who smoke weed say they don't dream. However, cannabis is known to suppress REM sleep, and after smoking people tend not to remember their dreams.
This tends to lead to dreams that are more intense after you stop using cannabis, which is known as the rebound effect. After a period of regular cannabis smoking, when you stop a sudden REM rebound is known and you will dream for several nights longer than normal.
This means that if you wake up at night during withdrawal, you are more likely to wake up during REM sleep, which increases the likelihood that you will remember what you dreamed. If you stop using marijuana, you are more likely to wake up from REM sleep, even if you cannot remember to do so, and this will leave you with more intense dreams and memories in the morning.
It should come as no surprise that sleep disturbances and vivid dreams are some of the most common reasons why people fall off the wagon trying to quit smoking. Some people who stop using marijuana suffer from insomnia, crazy dreams, and so on.
We now have a better understanding of how we sleep and how we dream, let's take a look at how cannabis can affect our dream cycle. The basic lessons about how and why we dream, combined with the question of how cannabis affects the sleep cycle, can help explain what happens.
When people dream, there is a phase of sleep dreaming associated with REM (rapid eye movement) in the human sleep cycle. REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, is when one dreams that one's body is entering the stage of paralysis, but is not actually paralyzed and can live out one's dreams in real life.
Marijuana use can reduce REM sleep and reduce the time you can dream at night. The good news is that you can't prevent your crazy dreams by stopping the weeds, but you can affect the quality of your sleep. We do not know to what extent weeds have an effect on sleep, whether it is a hangover or wakes up somewhat cloudy and disoriented at 9am. But you know that the feeling is real : use weeds as a sleep aid, but make sure that you move and listen to your body : dream, dream, dream, and dream, dream, and dream.
As a result of missed restorative deep sleep, cannabis users are more likely to wake up from placebo nights or light sleep, meaning they are more likely to remember dreaming one morning in the wild.
As in most fields of cannabis research, we still don't know much about the effects of cannabis and CBD on sleep and dreams. In reality, there are no clear answers to the puzzles of cannabis or its complex interactions with our sleep cycles, dreams and mind. Unlike THC, no studies were conducted on the effect of CBD on dream suppression in a dangerous sleep disorder called REM behavioural disorder (RBD).
A 2011 study on withdrawal symptoms of cannabis found that those who reported sleep disturbances, nightmares and strange dreams had problems. Another study found that cannabis usage led to significant improvements in sleep quality, frequency of nightmares, PTSD and hyperexcitement symptoms. These findings are supported by a 2015 review that found that 41% of participants reported sleep disturbances in a study of marijuana withdrawal and sleep, and 34% had strange dreams.
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