In a previous article we established that (soft) drugs affect our sleep and that a dream is suspiciously similar to a psychedelic trip. We are now going to explore something else which we wrote in that article: smoking weed will mean that you won’t dream or will hardly dream at all. How that comes about, we will explain later. But first: how can you still dream when using weed?
Tip 1: Don’t Smoke any Weed before Going to Sleep
Because weed interferes with your sleep cycle, you’re better off not smoking a joint before you go to bed. A good rule of thumb is to not get high after eating. Naturally, there are advantages to knocking back a nice joint when evening comes - You can fall asleep faster and you spend more time in deep sleep. And usually you don’t have any commitments to undertake in the evening.
The alternative is to smoke in the daytime. But, hey, then you can’t function properly any more? Wrong. That completely depends on the type of weed and the way in which you take it. In any event, don’t combine weed with tobacco, as that will make you sluggish more quickly. A pure joint is excellent but better still is a weed pipe. The crème-de-la-crème of pure weed use is, of course, vaping. And because with most vaporizers you can adjust the temperature, you have total control over which substances you vape.
The ideal vape temperature for during the day? Set your vaporizer to 185 ℃. Then CBD comes into action to somewhat temper the THC, while a handful of terpenes stimulate the high, making it euphoric and energetic.
Tip 2: Smoke Weed in the Middle of the Night (around 4 in the morning)
A bit counter-intuitive, but this trick really helps. Go to bed nicely on time without having smoked in the evening. Set your alarm for 4 in the morning and get a bit of weed ready for use - also pure again, thus in a vaporizer, weed pipe or joint without tobacco. Smoke it and then go nicely back to sleep.
As soon as you wake up, take a couple of drags of your favourite cannabis. If it’s good you won’t have any difficulty getting back to sleep afterwards. The crazy thing is that now the wildest dreams will occur. Some people are now even able to control their dreams and have what you call lucid dreams.
Tip 3: Smoke Weed for a while and then Don’t for a while.
Stop smoking weed? One of the withdrawal symptoms is that you can dream intensely. If after a period of regular cannabis smoking you stop all of a sudden, an effect known as the REM rebound occurs in which you dream for longer and more intensely than normal for several nights. So are you a regular cannabis smoker and are you curious whether you can still dream? Then swap a period of use with a period of withdrawal. Both the frequency and the intensity of dreams appear to increase if you do this.
Tip 4: Combine Weed with Dream Herbs
There are dream herbs like Calea Zacatechici which can go very well in a joint, along with your favourite weed. But you mustn’t smoke or vape a dream herb Most of them can be simply eaten or brewed as tea. The nice thing is that weed produces bizarre dreams. If you can remember them of course. Dream herbs can help you in this.
What Happens at Night?
What exactly happens when we sleep? Every night we undergo four to six sleep cycles. Depending on how many hours we are able to sleep. One such cycle consists of different phases. Phases 1 and 2 are both periods of light sleep which are subtly different. Phase 3 is the deep sleep. REM sleep is not a phase but gets longer as the night progresses. Light sleep and deep sleep become shorter. An entire cycle continues to last just as long (some 1.5 hours to be exact) but there is some change in how the cycle is made up.
This is a night’s rest as it should be. A long, deep sleep at the beginning of the night and more REM sleep at the end of the night.
REM sleep is a way for our brain to process the day. We can re-experience the day and often mix it with older memories to accommodate it. Sometimes there’s a bit of fantasy thrown in which can make dreams suddenly quite bizarre. You may also anticipate the coming day during your dream and possibly make decisions in advance.
The trick to remembering your dream is to wake up during the REM sleep. People who are woken up in a different phase than REM sleep, don’t remember their dreams. If you have remembered your dream then it’s virtually certain that you woke up during the final REM sleep before the end of the night. Simply because this lasts the longest.
Author and cannabis historian Chris Bennett  experimented with using weed to show that you actually have crazy dreams if you smoke weed just before the end of your night’s rest. Moreover, according to Bennett, you can use weed in this way to stimulate lucid dreaming.
What Weed Does to your Sleep
It’s clear that weed gets up to something with our brain. Evidently, smoking weed affects our sleep, and REM sleep in particular. Weed suppresses REM sleep.
An EEG machine records your brain waves. So we know exactly what happens when you are sleeping. With or without weed.
A study from 2008 showed that cannabis has a detrimental effect on the length of REM sleep. Another study from 2004 concluded that both a dose of pure THC and a mixture of THC and CBD shortened REM sleep. Because we only dream during our REM sleep, this partly explains why many weed users say that they don’t dream at all or hardly at all. We say partly because REM sleep doesn’t disappear completely.
And yet not dreaming is not always a bad thing. It could be that you’d rather not dream because it only conjures up nasty images for example. Moreover, there is little evidence  that a shorter amount of REM sleep is seriously detrimental to your health. There is though a definite correlation  between having insufficient REM sleep and remembering information and learned skills.
Strangely enough, alcohol does the opposite. A couple of beers makes REM sleep last longer and shortens the duration of deep sleep. You sleep more shallowly and awake more often. For these reasons, you often feel very tired after an evening spent drinking.
An older study  (1975) showed that after a period spent smoking weed and then stopping, you could have a lot of intense dreams. That comes about because your REM sleep suddenly lasts a lot longer. Another study from 2008 [5} confirms this. The effect is called REM Rebound because the REM sleep shoots back up like a basket ball. So you don’t have to be afraid that your liking for weed means your sleeping patterns will change permanently.
Are you no longer dreaming since smoking weed? With a few changes to your routine, you can definitely dream well. And bizarrely too! Now that you know what happens during your sleep, you can be more in control of your night’s rest. Would you like to know how to remember your dreams better step-by-step? Then check out this handy article.
1. “Engaging the Dream”, Psychedelica, Gaia, available: https://www.gaia.com/video/engaging-dream
2. "The Possible Functions of REM Sleep and Dreaming", NCBI, available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11121/
3. "Sleep and Cognition", Warwick, available: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/med/research/mhwellbeing/sleep/sleeppublications/sleep_and_cognition_2014.pdf
4. "Effects of high dosage delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on sleep patterns in man", NCBI, available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/164314
5. "Sleep Disturbance in Heavy Marijuana Users", NCBI, available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2442418/