Unlike most cannabis stereotypes, there's truth to the trope of the sleepy stoner and the pot brownie. After the high of an edible has passed its peak, I often find myself pulled into dreamland by an extraordinarily powerful magnet behind my eyes that forces them to close. It's a running joke with my partner who, on numerous occasions over the years, has seen me fall asleep after about ten minutes into a movie at 8:00 p.m. on a Friday.
The heavily relaxing, often sedating effects of traditional edibles make them popular for cannabis products and brands geared towards inducing sleep or enhancing its quality. The edible method of consumption also lends itself to new consumers who want to reap the potentially medicinal, sleep-inducing benefits of cannabis without necessarily having to smoke anything or even experience the resulting high before sleep kicks in.
But do edibles actually help with sleep? And if so, why? The answer to this relies heavily on the edible in question, as the genre has ballooned into a massive industry of its own with a million sub-facets.
Why do edibles make you sleepy?
Traditional edibles that use THC bound to an oil or fat are processed through the liver, which transforms THC to 11-hydroxy-THC and yields a heavier, less predictable high than smoking flower or vaping. Edibles that use nano-emulsified THC are reported to avoid this downside. Nano-emulsified THC is a water-soluble form of THC that reportedly hits in 15 minutes and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and esophagus.
And while “strain-specific" or “indica/sativa" edibles are, for the most part, an inaccurate marketing tactic employed by brands, adding relaxing terpenes, like myrcene or linalool, may help an edible make you feel sleepy. Other drowsy plants and relaxing substances like valerian and melatonin are effective additions to sleep edibles as well.
The cannabinoid CBN is perhaps the most popular trend in the sleep edibles market. Posed as some kind of wondrous sleep molecule, this extremely expensive cannabinoid is actually just old, degraded THC. You know when you leave your weed out in the sun or it gets old and turns brown? That's THC that has turned into CBN.
Research has shown CBN to have similar effects to THC, though it's between four and ten times weaker, and that THC with CBN is no more effective than THC alone. Bottom line: THC is the most active cannabinoid in the sleep cycle. Because CBN is degraded THC, it can still make you feel relaxed and tired, but it's scientifically not as effective as THC — and it's typically way more expensive.
It should also be noted that cannabinoids only help with deep sleep and have been shown to hurt your REM sleep long-term. To foster a healthy night's sleep all the time, look for products that include other sleep-inducing medicinal plants and non-cannabis compounds to counteract this. And, as a general tip, try to avoid over-relying on edibles to help you get to sleep.
The best edibles for sleep
I've written about this topic extensively and have tried most of the sleep products on the market in my many years as a reviewer. This list is a good place to start if you're curious about incorporating cannabis into your sleep cycle.
Gummies by Dreamt
Dreamt is my favorite sleep aid brand on the market. Formulated and founded by scientist Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, Dreamt's gummies (they also make a vape pen and a tincture) feature a blend of THC, CBD, melatonin, GABA, and Valerian root that has worked for every single person I've ever recommended it to.
Deep Sleep by Rose Delights
Rose Delights is an artful and extremely high-quality edibles brand that creates Turkish delights infused with strain-specific rosin from organic fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants from local farms.
Deep Sleep is its first effect-based product, featuring passionflower, vanilla, and mulberries from Frog Hollow Farm, as well as rosin from Holy Tonic flower cultivated in-house at Rose. They possess the power to melt my anxiety into a dreamscape and are as good a gift for someone else as they are a gift for yourself.
Camino Midnight Blueberry Sleep Gummies by Kiva
The Camino Midnight Blueberry Sleep Gummies by Kiva are some of the most popular on the market, with countless positive reviews on any platform you check. Again, I try to shy away from CBN on principle, but this blend of 5mg THC and 1mg CBN is effective for me in part because they include chamomile and lavender extracts (which contain potentially relaxing, sleep-inducing terpenes like linalool).
Another selling point of these is that they are available almost everywhere because of Kiva's excellent distribution network, so no matter where you are, sleep is not far behind.
THC Releaf Chocolate by Papa & Barkley
While this chocolate bar isn't specifically geared for sleep, it's one of my favorite products for unwinding after a long day before slipping into sleep. They only feature THC — 5 milligrams per piece, 100 milligrams per package — but something about them is so luxuriously relaxing that they top my list every time.
Definitely worth checking out whether you're looking to unwind or pass TF out.
Sleep Gummies by New Phase Blends
The Sleep Gummies by New Phase Blends are an all-time favorite of mine. I have relied on these for years now and have recommended them successfully to tons of friends and family.
Something about the patented melatonin/CBD blend in these gummies, and its tincture counterpart, knocks me out within fifteen minutes, regardless of my mental state, and results in long, deep, and restful sleep.
Low Tide Gummies by Seaweed Naturals
The Low Tide Gummies by Seaweed Naturals is a fantastic new product, and the brand is worth supporting. A new cannabis endeavor by the Costeau family — yes, the ocean-exploring ones — Seaweed Naturals is as focused on creating healing cannabis products as it is on restoring the environment of both land and sea.
SN partners with regenerative cannabis farms and uses its own kelp farms to create omegas for the gummies that pull carbon out of the atmosphere. The blend of THC and melatonin works wonders, and by supporting brands that support planet health, you'll be sleeping like a baby in no time.
Tranquili-Tea (Chamomile Valerian) by Kikoko
Kikoko's Tranquili-Tea is great, especially for new consumers who don't want to get high. I love tea products in general, but I feel it's even more fitting for the sleep genre.
This magical blend is packed with potentially sleep-inducing medicinal plants like valerian root, chamomile, and lavender, as well as 6 milligrams of CBN and 2.6 milligrams of THC per bag. All of these ingredients work together, leaving me feeling buoyant and relaxed as I walk on the brink of dreams.
Tranquility Gummies by Kahna
No one loves an effects-based gummy more than Kahna, and its Tranquility gummies don't disappoint. While the brand relies heavily on CBN marketing-wise, these gummies have a ton of melatonin, CBN, THC, and CBD, as well as added terpenes. They work for me, period.
Editor's note: Weedmaps does not get affiliate revenue from the brands recommended in this article. All products are chosen independently. The only influence Weedmaps News is under is weed.