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?
Enter cannabis: How does it affect dreaming?When it comes to determining the effects of weed on dreaming, the answer’s not clear-cut. “There are a number of sleep studies that show that cannabis can decrease or suppress REM sleep,” commented Dr. Tishler. “The larger question is whether this is good or bad. The answer is, as usual, ‘it depends.’”
Scientists are starting to tease out the effects of specific cannabinoids on dreaming.
THC, one of the main psychoactive components of cannabis, has been shown to suppress REM sleep, although it’s important to note that these findings have not been consistently replicated.
“Cannabis consumption, and specifically the consumption of THC, shortens REM sleep, eliminating most people’s ability to dream due to insufficient time in this phase,” said Kebra Smith-Bolden, registered nurse and CEO of CannaHealth.
A 2019 study found that cannabis consumers demonstrated less overall REM sleep than non-consumers, and more bizarreness when they recalled dreams, which was as often as non-cannabis consumers.