For some of us, a regular herbal nightcap makes slipping into sleep that much easier, and centuries of anecdotal evidence affirm the usefulness of weed as a sleep aid. Ancient Chinese pharmacology combined cannabis flower with datura to create the elegantly named “sagacious sleep powder,” or shui sheng san. Western medicine is now catching up, with research into cannabis and sleep on the rise.
But what about the effects of cannabis on dreaming? If you’re already well-acquainted with weed, you’re probably aware that periods of heavy consumption see your nocturnal imaginings diminish, if not vanish entirely. Conversely, intermittent periods of abstinence see an onslaught of bizarre dreamscapes.
So what’s the deal? How and why does cannabis impact the dreaming phase of sleep, and should you be concerned?