Looking for a sleeping aid that works just as well as melatonin, but doesn’t leave you all groggy and hungover the next morning? Or maybe you require something a bit stronger to deal with your chronic pain or other conditions that make it more difficult for you to get good-quality shut-eye?
Enter Delta 8 THC. Little known only a few years back, the popularity of this particular cannabinoid has absolutely exploded to the point where it is now one of the hottest commodities in certain sectors of the wellness and alternative medicine crowd. But why is that? How can it help? And what is the best Delta 8 strain for sleep? Let’s find out in this comprehensive guide!
Is Delta 8 Good for Sleep?
So what is Delta 8 good for, and how can it help you sleep?
From a chemical perspective, Delta 8 is closely related to Delta 9, the more common and widely-known variant of THC. The two share a lot of effects, though the way in which these effects are expressed in practical, day-to-day use can be quite different.
Still, Delta 8 shares many of Delta 9’s strengths, including its ability to suppress pain and calm the body and mind. It does this by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, a part of our nervous system that is responsible for pain, pleasure, moods, energy levels, and much more. But it doesn’t stop there. Both the ECS, as well as other areas of the body affected by Delta 8, regulate and affect our circadian rhythm.
As you may know, that rhythm sets the internal clock for our bodies, so any small change there can result in drastic repercussions for our sleep quality. This is partly why Delta 8 has been shown, like other cannabinoids, to be an extremely powerful sleep modulator that not only makes it easier to relax but enables you to get more rest by improving the quality of your sleep holistically.
This is in contrast to many medications which only “improve sleep” insofar as they relax your muscles to allow you to doze off more easily. While that can and often does help find relief, it’s only a piece of the puzzle. Healthy sleep combines both quantity and quality; the latter depends mostly on your biochemistry and how your brain makes use of the time you spend asleep to recuperate, heal, and energize. Delta 8 is perfect for ensuring just that!
What Makes a Delta-8 Strain Good for Sleep?
But just what lies behind Delta 8’s sleep superpowers? As the cannabinoid hasn’t been on the market for long, large-scale research on it is scarce. So it’s important to remember that nothing definitive can be said yet about its effects on sleep. However, especially when drawing comparisons to the similar Delta 9, we can infer some clues from the current state of the science.
One reason for Delta 8’s effectiveness is obviously something that it shares with many other cannabinoids: the effects it has on the endocannabinoid system. Studies have shown time and time again that the way cannabis stimulates the ECS leads to a reduction in pain signals, more relaxed nerves, and a generally calmer mind. All good things for better sleep, no doubt. But it goes further than that!
All cannabis plants contain dozens, sometimes hundreds of terpenes. These are special chemical compounds that also exist in almost every kind of food we eat and help give each of them their unique tastes and aromas. But terpenes have also been shown to have something to do with how foods, and in this case cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC, affect our health.
Some terpenes, like caryophyllene, are directly linked to certain neural connections that promote sleep. But other terpenes with seemingly no effect on sleep quality in the lab nonetheless seem to affect this and many other areas related to our well-being when used in real-life scenarios. How come? It all has to do with something called the entourage effect.
The Entourage Effect
While not yet fully understood, the entourage effect forms a cornerstone in the bigger picture of how we understand cannabinoids today. Basically, what the entourage effect dictates is that cannabinoids interact with each other as much as they act on our bodies in isolation.
Following that, a single cannabinoid, isolated from any of its chemical relatives, might have totally different effects compared to that same cannabinoid in conjunction with others, regardless of the theoretical effects of those other cannabinoids and how they relate to each other on paper.
Circling back to Delta 8, this is to say that much of Delta 8’s benefits aren’t actually down to just Delta 8 itself. Instead, they are the result of complex interactions between it and other compounds that can only naturally occur within the Delta 8 cannabis plant.
How Do Delta 8 Strains Help Sleep?
Apart from the complex interplay between Delta 8, its terpenes, and the entourage effect, how exactly does a Delta 8 strain of marijuana help you sleep? The answer to that requires a slightly deeper dive into the science behind cannabinoids and what they do within the brain.
CB1 Activation and Sleep
Among the many components of the ECS, we find a so-called cannabinoid receptor called CB1. A cannabinoid receptor is just what it sounds like – a trigger inside the brain that is sensitive only to cannabinoids. The interesting part is that not every type of cannabinoid hits every receptor, and even the ones that do hit the same receptors might do so in different ways!
When Delta 8 enters our system, it activates the CB1 receptor to a large (but usually not full) extent. This has wide-ranging ramifications throughout the body.
CB1 is the primary cannabinoid receptor responsible for psychoactivity. It is also linked to pain and hunger signaling, memory function, and indeed our sleep rhythms as well. It’s been shown that proper stimulation of CB1 can markedly improve sleep quality across age groups and including in cases of existing sleep conditions such as insomnia.
CB2 Activation for Sleep
Unlike Delta 9 THC, which interacts almost exclusively with the CB1 receptor, Delta 8 also accesses CB2. Whereas CB1 is extremely important to cognitive function (hence its potential for psychoactive and recreational use), CB2 is mostly connected to the digestive and immune systems.
Activation of the CB2 receptor has been shown to reduce body-wide inflammation in all types of tissue, which can in turn help with pains that might otherwise disturb your regular sleep patterns. CB2 also lowers stress, and physical discomfort, and may make it easier for you to relax.
All of that put together means that Delta 8 packs plenty of benefits that combine to improve both the quality as well as the quantity of your nightly sleep!
Benefits of Delta-8 Flower
Even beyond improving sleep alone, Delta 8 THC flowers are chock-full of beneficial effects on our health. Like Delta 9, Delta 8 is capable of causing a “high”, though the psychoactive effects are markedly smoother, gentler, and easier to control thanks to the different cannabinoid receptor binding explained above.
Expect a mostly relaxing experience that tunes you out, de-stresses, energizes, and generally lets you feel light and carefree without risking anxiety outbreaks or intrusive thoughts. This comes with a much lower risk of severe mental side effects, such as paranoia or disorientation, as well as physical side effects such as dizziness or vertigo compared to Delta 9.
Delta 8 is also capable of modulating our hunger signals. This benefit has been explored as a great potential treatment option for people with eating disorders, as it allows you to listen to your body’s hunger signals with greater ease.
Similarly, Delta 8 supports other aspects of our gastrointestinal system to boot. Studies have shown that Delta 8 greatly reduces the chance of physical discomfort stemming from conditions like diarrhea, nausea, or internal inflammation.
Best Delta 8 Strain for Sleep
Now that we know enough about its benefits, which kind of Delta 8 THC flower is best for sleep support? Let’s take a look at a few of the best-rated Delta 8 strains and find out!
An infamously powerful Indica, Bubba Kush is loved the world over for its sharp bite, overpowering cerebral effects, and rich, coffee-like aroma. Now available as a Delta 8 flower, Bubba Kush is now more accessible than ever without giving up a shred of its personality.
Due to the high potency and couch-friendly highs of this strain, Bubba Kush lends itself pretty naturally to therapeutic use, especially late in the evenings. Many have used it with great success for treating sleep problems. It also enjoys a near-flawless track record as a painkiller, and for lowering inflammation and stress.
Royal Purple Kush
Sharing some Bubba Kush lineage, Royal Purple Kush is nonetheless a totally different beast. With radiant buds shimmering in vibrant greens, purples, and yellows, it looks, feels, and definitely smells like a classic Afghan-style Kush strain. Likewise, you can also expect a pretty peppery, pungent flavor to match.
Like its forefather, Royal Purple originated as a somewhat hardcore Delta 9 THC strain with concentrations of over 28%, making it extremely potent even by the standards of its closest relatives. The Delta 8 version makes that package a lot easier to swallow while preserving the feel. Excellent for those with high tolerances, in particular, Royal Purple Kush is one of the premier high-THC therapeutical strains today.
Today, the Gorilla Glue family encompasses a dizzying number of strains, but the originals have remained fan favorites ever since their inception. GG #1 is one of the few that has received the Delta 8 treatment, and we think it really suits the Indica hybrid nicely!
GG’s effects are as much a namesake as they are a brand by themselves. Expect a sudden rush of euphoria followed soon by a thick, cloudy high that’ll leave you absolutely tied – or rather glued – to the nearest armchair or sofa. Long-lasting, utterly relaxing, and very reliable and consistent, GG #1 is a perfect Delta 8 flower for treating sleep problems and winding down.
Among the strongest of the “sleepy Indicas”, Secret OG is going to thoroughly sedate your body and mind and allow you to drift off peacefully without a care in the world left to spare. In terms of flavor, Secret OG is mostly an earthy type, though the exhale is markedly fresh with hints of menthol. Its aroma contains notes of sour citrus fruit layered with gas and fresh earth.
A complex cross of Indicas birthed Granddaddy Purple as far back as 2003, making it very much a modern classic in its field. Unlike many other, more aggressive Indicas however, Granddaddy Purp does without any harshly aggressive effects or uber-high cannabinoid concentrations.
Instead, it’s a remarkably well-balanced strain that carries just enough oomph to absolve you of pain, cleanse your mind, and aid in healthy sleep, but not so much as to overwhelm novices and those with lower tolerances.
This extends to the strain’s flavor profile, too. Granddaddy Purple predominantly displays notes of sweet berries and fresh fruit, which make it remarkably accessible and enjoyable for such a high-powered strain.
How Much Delta 8 to Take for Sleep
Found a Delta 8 THC flower that suits your needs? Excellent! The only thing that’s left is deciding how you are going to dose it for optimal results. While there is no official answer to that, as everyone’s needs and physical tolerances are different, consider the following to be a piece of general advice that should suit the majority of less experienced users.
The single best thing you can do at first is to start slow and easy. You can always take too little and walk away unimpressed, but that’s much better than accidentally taking too much and ending up with a bad day. A single dose of no more than 20 milligrams (or equivalent) of Delta 8 flower should be enough to test your tolerance; adjust as needed from there.
Is Delta-8 or CBD Better for Sleep?
While Delta 8 THC is an excellent choice for a natural, wholly organic, and safe sleeping aid as we just discovered, much of the same can be said of another cannabinoid, CBD. So how do the two compare, and which is better? In the end, it’s a nuanced issue.
First of all, you should note that nearly every Delta 8 THC flower out there will contain at least some amount of CBD. Some strains even pack more CBD than THC overall!
Secondly, the effects of CBD and Delta 8 overlap to some degree. Both cannabinoids are great painkillers that relax the nerves, cool you down, and free up space in the mind. Where they differ, however, is in how those effects come about.
CBD contacts entirely different sectors of the endocannabinoid system compared to Delta 8, and it doesn’t activate the CB1 or the CB2 receptors. This makes it entirely non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating, which makes its effects generally a lot less intrusive and easier to incorporate into any kind of day-to-day lifestyle or schedule.
From a comparative standpoint, Delta 8 is only slightly less potent than Delta 9 THC while offering few to none of the major side effects. Meanwhile, CBD is about half as potent as Delta 8 or less on average, with some effects completely absent. This might make it sound like not so great of a deal, but particularly for beginners, it’s still a great option in its own right. Millions worldwide continue to use CBD for sleep, and there is a good reason why: it delivers!
Do Delta 8 Gummies Help You Sleep?
An increasingly popular way of taking Delta 8 for sleep is gummies, also known as Delta 8 edibles. Instead of smoking or vaping, which both take some gear and lots of skill and practice to do well, using edibles is not just easy. It’s downright fun, especially when those gummies are as sweet on the palate as they look! But with all that aside, many people wonder whether Delta 8 edibles are really worth it.
After all, can they help you sleep as well as a real, fresh Delta 8 THC flower? The answer? Yes, they can. But not all gummies are made equal. Take our Delta-8 THC Gummies for instance. Loaded with 30 mg of pure Delta 8 per gummy, they are more potent than almost any alternative you’d find elsewhere. And on top of that, they’re richer in terpenes and cannabinoids, too!
Thanks to a unique, broad-spectrum extraction process, we were able to preserve the unique character of the strains used to create our unique fruity gummies. And what strains those are! Shimmering in the colors of summer with flavors of peach, mango, pineapple, and more, you’d have to try not to enjoy these Delta 8 THC Gummies.
What is the Best Delta 8 Flower?
Gummies might be an amazingly simple, straightforward, and easy-to-handle option for many, but the enthusiast will more than likely go for a smoke nonetheless. It’s easy to see why: not only are many of the best Delta 8 strains not available except as fresh flowers, but the smoking experience also offers a unique aesthetic and feel that other media simply can’t match.
What’s more, smoking some real high-quality Delta 8 flower will give you effects that act much more quickly and might even last longer compared to edibles, which can often take upwards of an hour to really kick in. With all that said, how do you choose? The current playing field of Delta 8 THC flowers might look small compared to “classic” flavors featuring Delta 9, but it is still quite vast, with lots of diversity on the table.
We tested the majority of Delta 8 THC flowers currently on sale and quickly found favorites.
Delta-8 Bubba Kush topped our rankings thanks to its incredible taste, strong character, and a fistful of power that crashes down on you like a leaden weight (in the best possible way, we promise). There is simply no other strain out there that combines the kind of unique fun with the extreme therapeutic potency that Bubba Kush has.
If that sounds exciting, but maybe a bit too exciting, consider Delta-8 Abacus 2.0. A more modern, leaner, and meaner strain, Abacus 2.0 descends from OG Kush. Enthusiasts will know what that means – highs that propel you into the stratosphere while your body enjoys the most blissful rush of pure, numb euphoria. Excellent for both daytime and late-night use, Abacus 2.0 can be a solid, steady companion without much need for tweaking down the dosage.
Finally, if even the monumental Bubba Kush wasn’t enough for you, check out Delta-8 Zombie Kush. Famed and revered for its high potency, Zombie Kush was in fact named after its distinctive “undead” body high. In plain English, this one is going to absolutely knock you out. With a sweet flavor and floral undertones, this strain is inviting enough at first puff – but come prepared, or it’ll swallow you whole.
There are very, very few Indicas that can compete with the kind of full-body sedation that Zombie Kush offers. We’re talking full sensory deprivation, an absolute shutdown – in other words, just what you might need if you’ve been suffering from serious sleep problems in the past!