Are you Having Vivid Dreams? Looks Like You Haven’t Been Smoking Pot

Many of the effects from consuming cannabis are felt within minutes. One of the less noticeable and overlooked side effects is it may feel like you’re not dreaming anymore. It can be easy to overlook this as most people still do dream, and those who suffer from nightmares or insomnia aren’t complaining. Anyone who’s stayed away from smoking pot for a few days knows the feeling of waking up in sweats because their dreams are extremely vivid.

When I don’t consume much cannabis through out the day, or for a few days it seems like my dreams are a movie that I’m playing out, but why? It’s all to do with our sleep stages, and the way cannabis changes them.

What’s This Sleep Thing All About?

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Our brains are complex machines that work in ways we can’t fully understand yet. We know that sleeping is a necessity that is basic to our survival and proper function. It charges us up for the next day and allows us to properly take in and process the previous days information.

When it comes to understanding the dream state, we have been able to break down what roughly happens in different stages throughout the night as we sleep. In stage 1 we are in a light sleep. Our muscles start to relax and we can fall in and out of this state very easily. This is why when you fall asleep in a car, you can wake up suddenly as you’re only in the first stage.

When stage 2 ramps up, eye movement stops. Our body relaxes even more and our brainwaves begin to slow down. This is when our bodies prep for the next stage known as deep sleep, one the stages cannabis has the greatest influence on.

Trading R.E.M. for Deep Sleep

The last 2 stages of our sleep cycles are known as Deep Sleep, followed by Rapid Eye Movement (R.E.M.). Deep sleep is the state where our bodies start to repair itself. Waste products that have been produced by the brain are flushed out. Blood from the brain flows into muscles and repairs the muscle and tissue. Deep sleep is required to promote a healthy lifestyle because it’s when we repair the damages we took from the previous day.

Waking up from deep sleep is hard, and when you do wake up it’s often met with a sluggish, grogginess that may last for a few minutes. Smoking pot promotes a longer and more extensive deep sleep, and cut’s out time from our R.E.M. phase.

Rapid eye movement is the state in which when we are sleeping we dream. Due to marijuana prolonging and promoting a stronger deep sleep, R.E.M. may be shortened or cut out all together. This leaves us to feel like we missed out on our dreams.

One of those functions is reliving the things you have experienced and coming to terms with them, as it were. Processing all kinds of psychological influences is something you do in REM sleep. You also anticipate the things that will happen the next day or the days after that. While you’re sleeping, you already consider those and make decisions in advance. -Dr. Hamberger

Bring on the Wild Dreams

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Dreams that are hyper-realistic after cutting back cannabis can be quite exciting or bring tons of pain. There’s an idea that this phenomena is your brain catching up on missed dreams. It’s known as the “Rebound Effect”, and may last for a few weeks while your body re-adjusts to having a proper R.E.M. again.

Don’t freak out if you feel like you’re going to go crazy from all these really vivid dreams. It’s just your body catching up on all the missed movies. Have you been having wild dreams lately? Let us know about them in the comments below!