Has counting sheep become your nightly norm? Wave bye-bye to those woolly jumpers and say hello to a snooze fest with Mother Nature’s lullaby: Indica strains! This article is your dreamy guide to the best Indica strains for sleep. From the fragrant Northern Lights to the velvety Granddaddy Purple, we’ll explore strains that are basically bedtime stories in plant form. Get your PJs ready, folks – it’s time to sleep like a log.
How does weed help you sleep?
- THC’s impact on sleep is dose-dependent, meaning it varies based on how much you take. At lower doses, has been found to work some sleep magic. It can make you fall asleep quicker and increase the deep, restorative phase in your sleep, and extend your total sleep time. Higher THC doses on the other hand can actually diminish REM sleep.
- CBD exhibits a dual effect on sleep. At low doses, it can have stimulating effects, keeping you feeling alert and awake; but when you crank up the dose to higher levels, CBD taps into its sedative powers and becomes sleep-inducing, increases your total sleep time and reduce nighttime awakenings.
Together, THC and CBD have shown to improve self-reported sleep scores. Other compounds found in weeds, such as terpenes, are also found to have sedative and anti-anxiety effects. Self-reported data also suggests that the below terpenes help improve sleeps:
What type of cannabis strains is best for sleep?
According to the buzz in the cannabis community, Sativa strains, packing a punch of THC, tend to give you that energizing and mind-expanding “head high”; while Indica strains, with their CBD richness, bring on a delightful full-body relaxation, as if you’re sinking into a marshmallowy cloud. So, when it comes to catching some quality ZZZs, Indica takes the crown for battling sleep issues and insomnia, whereas Sativa are often sought by those struggling with nightmares.
Many of the differences that people talk about between sativa and indica strains of cannabis could be mostly based on personal experiences and not so much on science. Some brainy researchers(2) suggest that instead of getting hung up on whether it’s Sativa or Indica, what really matters is the mix – like, how much THC and CBD are in there, along with other compounds in that particular strain.
What are the best Indica strains for sleep?
Although the sativa vs. indica distinction isn’t winning any gold medals in the precision department, but it’s not a bad starting point. It could help you navigate through the jungle of choices until you find the right weed strain for you. Indica and Indica dominant hybrids are still a crowd-favorite for pain relief, winding down, and scoring some dreamy sleep.
When counting sheep isn’t cutting it, the below Indica strains and Indica dominant hybrids may help wrestle down sleep disorders and insomnia.
1. Granddaddy Purple
Grandaddy Purple is a potent Indica stunner with a full-body stone that’s super smooth and balanced. Enjoy this nighttime smoke as the colors around you appear more vivid and bright. Patients suffering from stress, pain, anxiety, headaches, muscle spasms, insomnia, anorexia, and acne frequently seek Grandaddy Purple which is why it is known to be one of the best Indica strains for sleep.
2. Gorilla Glue
> 600 G/SM
This Indica superstar is here to make your senses go “whoa” and your mind drift away into a blissful haze. With its heavy sedation and mind-melting high, it’s like the ultimate relaxation potion that flows through your body, gently coaxing you into the magical realms of dreamland. They don’t call it potent for nothing! It’s one of the strongest strains out there, making it a top pick among Indica enthusiasts in search of sweet slumber and unwinding time.
Get ready to meet the extraordinary Harlequin! Although it’s a Sativa, we had to bend the rules because it’s one of the best strains for insomnia. This blissful cross combines the qualities of four sativa-dominant strains into a mind-blowing experience. With Harlequin, you’ll sleep like a champ.
This well-balanced hybrid will relax your body, soothe your mind, and its mellow high makes it perfect for first-time adventurers. Embrace the magic of Harlequin and drift off into dreamland!
4. Northern Lights
Northern Lights had to secure a spot on our list of the best Indica strains for sleep. This 90% indica dominant hybrid is perfect whether you want to kick back and relax or get a restful night’s sleep. Its powerful full-body relaxation will have you melting into your mattress in no time.
This insanely popular strain is revered for its delicious taste and ability to deliver a cozy, numbing buzz, offering the perfect combination of pain relief and relaxation. It’s an irresistible choice with a permanent place in cannabis history.
5. Bubba Kush
Enter Bubba Kush, the heavyweight Indica strain that works wonders for body and mind. A magical fusion of a rare New Orleans landrace Indica and a mysterious Kush variety, Bubba Kush has been blessing the cannabis community with its relief-inducing powers for over a decade. Prepare for the legendary sweet and earthy flavor that has captivated cannabis fans worldwide, along with the long-lasting, full-body relaxation it brings.
Bubba Kush is a well-rounded strain. Get ready to feel mentally and physically relaxed. Bubba Kush is here to embrace you in its tranquil embrace.
6. Girl Scout Cookies
Girl Scout Cookies, a legendary strain hailing from California, is an indica dominant hybrid, blending OG Kush and Durban Poison. With its pine and fuel aroma, vaporizing this strain brings a powerful body high, perfect for peaceful slumber. It induces relaxation, focus, uncontrollable giggles, and creativity. Starting euphoric, it gradually leads to deep relaxation for a restful sleep.
7. The Doctor
Meet The Doctor, a classic sleep aid with a perfect combination of rock-hard buds, flavor, and an enticing Indica high that keeps you coming back.
Its beautiful fragrance of balsam and juniper helps relax your body, but beware of its potent effects. Novices may be swiftly knocked out.
Beyond sleep, users have report its use to ease off pain, nausea, and stimulates appetite. With genetics from Super Skunk, South Indian, and Great White Shark, this potent Indica ensures peaceful drifting, making it one of the best weed strains for sleep.
Gelato, loved by both old school and new generation cannabis enthusiasts, brings forth a potent Indica high accompanied by a soothing euphoria. Its energizing effects swiftly transition into a dreamy state of calm, making it one of the best strains for insomnia and physical discomfort. Prepare to float off to bed with its overall relaxed body sensation.
Be prepared to be couch-locked by Gelato’s powerful effects. Dry eyes and mouth are common, so keep hydrated with a nearby water bottle. But don’t worry, these minor inconveniences won’t overshadow the robust experience Gelato has in store for you.
9. Hindu Kush
The widely acclaimed Hindu Kush is renowned as one of the world’s most beloved Indicas, cherished for its potent sedative effects. Carefully chosen for its distinct characteristics and flavor, this pure Indica strain emits a sweet, earthy aroma with spicy undertones, perfectly complementing its soothing properties.
Named after its mountainous place of origin, Hindu Kush will deliver an intense high. Its ability to deeply relax both body and mind aids in quick sleep onset, making it a top contender for the best weed strains for sleep.
With its dense buds and profound relaxation, Hindu Kush provides a long-lasting, “stoned” sensation that is ideal for bedtime. It offers immediate relief, easing strain and stress, particularly in the evening. While suitable for social occasions, it’s not recommended for daytime use. Get ready to embrace a night of tranquility with this high-quality strain.
10. Skywalker OG
Known for their exceptional pain-relieving qualities, OG strains have a well-deserved reputation. This strain, a cross of Skywalker and OG Kush, lives up to expectations with its remarkable effects. Its calming and soothing attributes make it a preferred option for those dealing with insomnia.
Among the top cannabis strains, Skywalker OG stands out with its impressive 80% Indica lineage. Its profound body high is ideal for winding down in the evening and setting the stage for a restful sleep.
Risk and side effects to consider when using cannabis for sleep
Since research is still preliminary, it’s advisable to approach cannabis use for sleep with caution and seek medical advice.
Studies have revealed some potential health-related pitfalls relating to long term cannabis use. One of the risks is the possibility of reduced gray matter volume in the brain, as found by this group of researchers (3). And that’s not all! If you consume weeds by smoking, there’s an increased risk of chronic bronchitis (4) an infection of the main airways of the lungs.
Using cannabis as a sleep aid over an extended period of time isn’t all sweet dreams and rainbows. Higher THC doses can actually diminish REM sleep, which is crucial for memory and learning. Over time, the body can develop a tolerance to the sedative effects of cannabis; and what used to do the trick may no longer be sufficient, leading you to require higher doses for the same desired sleepiness.
Now, these are the potential consequences heavy and prolonged cannabis use can have on your sleep:
- Reduced overall sleep time
- Decreased time spent in deep sleep
- Longer time taken to fall asleep
- Lower sleep quality with more frequent wake-ups throughout the night
(1) Vaillancourt, R., Gallagher, S., Cameron, J.D. and Dhalla, R. (2022). Cannabis use in patients with insomnia and sleep disorders: Retrospective chart review. Canadian Pharmacists Journal / Revue des Pharmaciens du Canada, 155(3), pp.175–180.
(2) Piomelli, D., & Russo, E. B. (2016). The Cannabis sativa versus Cannabis indica debate: An interview with Ethan Russo, MD. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1(1), 44–46. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28861479/
(3) Battistella, G., Fornari, E., Annoni, J. M., Chtioui, H., Dao, K., Fabritius, M., Favrat, B., Mall, J. F., Maeder, P., & Giroud, C. (2014). Long-term effects of cannabis on brain structure. Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 39(9), 2041–2048.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24633558/
(4) Tashkin, D. P. (2013). Effects of marijuana smoking on the lung. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 10(3), 239–247. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23802821/