Cannabis itself is a stimulant, and its consumption is often associated with a firing of creativity and imagination while awake. Fans of cannabis have long claimed that they don’t remember any dreams while consuming, but then have especially vivid dreams the first night they give it a break. Does marijuana fill your dreaming mind with new connections and crazy new ideas, or does it do away with nocturnal hallucinations altogether? Perhaps recent research can provide a scientific explanation for this phenomenon.
Cannabis Consumption and Dreamless Sleep
Many marijuana users have long reported that when they smoke before bed that they can’t remember their dreams. Whether this is because they don’t dream or because they simply can’t remember can be hard to determine. What they do know is that they wake up in the morning without any strange nocturnal memories.
The Explanation: Less REM
Humans have developed a regular biological routine, based on a 24-hour cycle, called the circadian rhythm. It’s this routine that dictates when you wake up in the morning and when you feel like retiring to bed. It also accounts for the five stages of sleep that you experience once you turn out the light. The fifth stage is called REM sleep and is responsible for dreaming. Studies conducted with brain scans on sleeping subjects have shown that THC disrupts the REM stage of sleep, which would explain why marijuana may inhibit dreaming.
Take a Night Off for a Return to Dreamland
If you’ve been using marijuana on a regular basis and you miss dreaming, try taking a night off. Many people have reported that a break from cannabis not only restored their ability to dream, but made their sleepy subconscious feel more vivid. This is because the body responds to the sudden return to dreaming with a vengeance. After days, weeks, or months of suppression, the body naturally creates the previously stunted phenomenon even stronger than before.
Effect Occurs Across Strains
It doesn’t seem that any particular strain of marijuana affects REM sleep more or less than others. The lack of dreaming coincides consistently with cannabis consumption, regardless of the strain. This means that no amount of shopping around will likely yield an option that allows you to smoke your fill and dream the night away.
How to Deal with the Effects of Cannabis on Dreaming
If you’re someone who loves and looks forward to having interesting or exciting dreams at night, perhaps you should save the marijuana for special occasions. But if you don’t mind having dreamless nights (or you use cannabis as a sleep aide), know that marijuana consumption may be the contributing factor to this.