Marijuana, Sleep and Dreams

4 12 2009

Psychology Today reports on research being conducted on the apparent phenomena that regular cannabis users do not dream very much but when use is stopped for a few days intense and vivid dreams come flooding back during sleep.  So far there are no psychological nor biochemical theories being presented and since I have long noticed and pondered this almost universal trend, I offer my own:

Through dreams, all the experience that is not able to be processed during the day is dealt with and allowed to fall into proper place so as to be more efficiently aligned and organized by the subconscious without the hindrance of sensorial distractions. My theory is that the often meditative and creative qualities of the altered state induced by cannabis allows the subconscious mind to reorganize and stabilize, serving a similar function to normal dreams.  Being stoned can be described as “day-dreaming” but this may be more of a literal description than a metaphor.  When regularly ingesting cannabis the psycho-biological need for dream activity decreases but when use is interrupted dreams necessarily recommence.

Does this mean that cannabis can be psychologically beneficial to people who don’t dream enough or have access to their subconscious blocked?

Does daily cannabis use lead to less than optimal mental health due to lack of REM sleep?  Or could it contribute to a more stabilized psyche via regular stimulation of the imagination and subconscious?

I find this topic fascinating, your thoughts?




7 responses

4 12 2009

Your theory makes sense to me, both scientifically and from my personal experience with marijuana. I often find a resistant stressful problem will be softened and easily dealt with after smoking. At the same time sometimes marijuana brings me unwarranted paranoia similar to the feelings experienced in dreams.

Maybe it expands the number of possible futures you can visualize; for better or worse.

I genuinely feel that marijuana slows down time. When high, I believe there is more conscious thought happening within a given time as compared to being sober. This enhanced processing may have something to do with it.

Interesting post, Love your site dude

5 12 2009

I like the theory. It really speaks to me as I recently took a couple month vacation from smoking and the dreams began as intense and gradually lessened in intensity and frequency, eventually returning me to mostly “dreamless” nights without smoking.

Playing Devil’s advocate, how about the idea that we always dream but when you smoke, especially before bed you have a much lower chance of remembering it as the dream state is such a fleeting experience.

Furthermore, I know many people whose dreams are energized and more intense when they do smoke before bed; going against the standard trend in the exact opposite direction.

5 12 2009

i have pondered about this issue often. During several years i smoked cannabis daily and from what i recall i had like 1-2 dreams per year that i actually remembered. Due to a health problem i had to pause my smoking (been 10 months now) and i “started” to remember my dreams more frequently (3-4 dreams a week now).

Although the theory seems to fit perfectly in my case, i know at least one person that dreams vividly with or without smoking. Possibly, dreaming hability may be more related to the nature of the soul and the awaken dream state provided by cannabis may effect differently depending on the person/set, ect…

great site ;)

6 12 2009
Evan 057

Good observation, Jeff, about the paranoia cannabis can induce, and I definitely agree temporal perception is a significant aspect of cognition and specifically the attributes of altered states.

Jimbob’s idea of cannabis only affecting the memory of dreams and not dreams themselves makes logical sense however it just doesn’t ‘feel’ like that is what’s happening. There are certainly short-term memory impairments from cannabis but not nearly to the degree needed to explain this phenomenon.

Hugo is also correct to point out that there are exceptions, especially with respect to the individual reactions to psychedelics which cannabis can be considered to be a mild one.

13 12 2009

Hi Evan

i smoked daily but dream most nights and my dreams are not more intense or easier to remember if i don’t smoke.It may be that i dream a little bit more if i don’t smoke. sometimes a will wake in the middel of the noight , jhave a qucik one skinner and go back to bed and then quite often its the case upon waking ‘of had to much too dream last night’. Go figure?

14 01 2010

You are very right dear poster, i’m am experiencing exactly what you just wrote. Peace and love to you.

12 02 2010

I have been an avid smoker for awhile. Ive rarely missed a day. Maybe once a year Ill go a week without, and each time I have, I have the most fucked up dreams, like seriously, Avatar aint got shit on me. I recently quit smoking at the start of the new year. And it started happening again. So I tried weening myself off, but to no avail. Its now been about 2 weeks straight without any, and I am having the craziest fuckin dreams imaginable. I have no opinion or insight as to why, I just thought I’d share that I am also wondering what the fuck…

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