The most double edged sword I have ever experienced each day is my use of mind altering substances in conjunction with my difficulty with sleep.
This episode will touch lightly on daytime use of marijuana, but the discussion in regards to evening use alone is monumental. The last episode we talked caffeine.
I am certainly going to touch on wake and baking in a bit here today.
Before we get started, let's get clear on what the F we are talking about in regards to substances.
I never speak on hard substances - such as cocaine, heroine, crack, meth, bath salts, etc.
When I talk substances, it is typically caffeine, general uppers, stimulants and ingredients such as taurine. Substances also include alcohol, marijuana, cbd, and cigarettes which in actuality is the discussion of nicotine.
Starting at the age of 19 I have been using substances to help me fall asleep. Or so I thought they were helping.
We are soon going to learn and hopefully accept that all the aforementioned do not help you with sleep, or in any beneficial way in life.
They did not help me. I just thought they were.
I surely wanted them to work, but alas we get what we want by doing what we need to do. I think it is safe to say our needs are not to be found at the bottom of a bottle or in the depths of a bong rip.
What my brain signals is not always beneficial; a lot of my brain signals in my twenties were for me to engage in behaviors that offer instant gratification but also further f*ed up my life down the road. Sometimes just a day or a week later the consequences would unfold. The choices we make always have an impact on our future self and reality. When I choose to drink alcohol before bed, I can at least expect to be more tired and disconnected the following day if not two. When I smoke marijuana in the middle of the night to help fall back asleep when I wake up at my usual 4am, I have to expect the grogginess and dissipating high to linger when I try to rise again at 7:30am.
Not only do substances have their obvious negative affects, but what we don't see is how much marijuana or alcohol can alter our dopamine schedules.
Remember, dopamine basically runs the show inside of us.
It propels us to go towards chosen pleasures as to avoid all the pains we have chosen exist.
For example, I used to wake and bake.
The slew of issues that come from wake and baking is so monumental it makes it too easy for me to say No.
I am a medical marijuana card holder to be clear.
I have physical, mental, and emotional issues that deeply qualify me to be a medical patient.
Wake and baking, unless in physical pain, should never be engaged in.
Unless, you want your motivation and ability to engage with tasks and conversations to be negatively impacted for the next 1-3 days.
Marijuana and dopamine go hand in hand. Recall the word my generation has used - dope. Yeah, I’m pretty sure we are referencing the thighs in which typically triggers a dopamine peak.
We go toward what is dope. Dopamine has us go towards whatever it is we have chosen releases more dopamine. Dopamine is 100% about motivation to avoid chosen pains.
If we are using our motivation to smoke marijuana, and then marijuana in turn squashes our drive or motivation for the next 3 to 4 hours, well I think you know the outcome.
For me, and from what I have heard from many of my friends, we do not accomplish as much as we could have if we would not have smoked in the morning.
Furthermore, we usually smoke because of a perceived emotional pain. I would smoke due to my anxiety. Smoking unfortunately can increase anxiety as it can activate certain thought patterns especially if you ar anything like me and have OCD which comes with a heavy dose of rumination.
When the decision to wake and bake is because thew world seems to painful to live through that day, we are further teaching our self to strengthen that belief and neurological wiring. We are truly changing our self, and not for the better.
Conversely, as you will learn later in this episode, I as well as all of us, can make choices to have us feeling, believing, and living the truth that anxiety is a thing of the past and depression is something that can be controlled. Leveraging dopamine is so powerful I will never shut up about it. Okay thanks you’re welcome.
As a reminder, I’m here to share how my bull sh*t choices in life did not serve me and the longterm that is an entire lifetime. I felt more and more sh*tty as the years went on and I kept making the same choices. I am here to say what is needed as for better feelings and a better life, rather than say what you want to hear, which further and falsely agrees with making poor choices.
We make the choices we need people!
As someone that was a child developmental specialty - we make good choices and avoid all the not-good choices. We do not label choices Bad, rather, we call them what they really are - no t helpful, or not beneficial, or distracting, or of heavy consequence.
Moving past wake and baking and going into the evening hours, to this day I still use marijuana to assist with the process of getting sleepy and falling asleep.
Marijuana has not ever helped me stay asleep; it just assists with the process of getting there.
To be scientifically clear, things that help fall asleep typically do not help humans stay asleep - those internal mechanisms, chemicals, and hormones are entirely different. As soon as we fall asleep all sorts of different things begin their work and our wakeful systems begin to shut down for that resting period.
THC is not a sedative. Additionally, THC blocks REM sleep and this is major.
Hear this loud and clear as its a truth of life: REM sleep is the greatest predictor of your life longevity. It’s a linear relationship between REM sleep and life longevity. The less REM sleep humans receive, the higher probability of death (in this regard we are talking about all cause of mortality).
Because I was barely if not ever getting REM sleep, as well as sleeping so poorly up until a year ago, my body would try and rebound for the REM in the morning.
Here’s what’s happening:
There is a debt for REM sleep inside the body. As THC is active in the body, and for me it would be active from 11pm to about 3am and then I would wake up around 4am, smoke, and reactivate until about 7 to 8 am. This made waking up restfully impossible. Why? Because once the THC disputes, which is obviously in the morning when I should be waking up, my body is going to try it’s best to reduce that REM debt and get some F*ing quality deep REM sleep. My body is doing what it needs to do because my choices are directly going against it needs and just trying to do what my brain wants.
It was the biggest lose-lose game I chose to participate in for 12 years.
Also, if you are a nightly smoker you probably noted the withdrawal dependency. More and more marijuana is needed to be smoked overtime to get the same effect once received form lower dosage.
Lastly, if you feel like you need marijuana every night and have negative emotional reactions when not smoking, it is likely an addition has formed.
We lightly touched on how addictions quite easily form in the caffeine podcast. The A word is not a bad word. Rather, the A word is to be used as useful information to apply in life and to make different choices moving forward. With a Growth Mindset, we don’t crumble after making a mistake or realizing we ultra f*ed up - nope, we appreciate the lessons learned and accept that challenges offer insights and experiences that help our future self live abetter life aligned with our needs.
Very quickly I just want to say something about CBD - CBD may be wake promoting at lower dosages and once at about 25mg or higher can it offer some increase in sleepiness. The findings are not compelling; more research is needed and with what I know about CBD it needs to be taken along side some THC for best activation.
So for all of my twenties and the a touch of my thirties, I was making my self miserable.
I was depleting my daily motivation and drive by f*ing with my dopamine schedules, I was creating neural pathways that supported my anxiety and negative thought patterns, I was not getting REM sleep because of my addiction to marijuana, I was sleeping in because of the ack of REM as well as the residual effects from smoking, I was spending money on a substance that was not helping and rather hurting my emotional wellbeing as well as my daily outcomes in reality.
What does my healthy use of marijuana in the evening look like now?
Well, key word is evening.
I no longer smoke in the mornings or afternoon. Even if I am darn near paralyzed by my hip, knee, and back I use a heating pad, peppermint and lavender oil, stretch or as some world call PT, and do cupping to actually assist that physical ailment rather than mask the pain by being stoned. After all, being stoned almost always effects what does and does not get done that day.
I make the better choices of trying to heal for the better rather than feel just a bit better.
Here’s what my healthy sleep and day to day life looks like nowadays in regards to smoking marijuana:
I lightly smoke an indica strain between the hours of 7pm and 9pm. I typically need a little assistance with appetite as I consume kratom during the day for energy as well as management of both depression as well as anxiety. I make dinner around 7pm and begin my light puffs. How I choose to smoke varies on how I’m feeling and how much free time I can give my hands while multi tasking. I mainly smoke our of a pen or water bong, but my most preferred method is the volcano.
I do not, and sometimes have to force my self, to not smoke in the middle of the night. It doesn’t attar how difficult sleep is that night: I now know that the marijuana is only going to make some many other things more difficult in the hour o come. It’s never worth it. Honestly, any person that feels the need to argue that the negative effects of marijuana “are worth it” are living with an addiction to THC. I urge you to challenge your apparent needs and take back control.
I run an essential oil diffuser and spray my bed with a homemade spray. My go to oils are lavender, peppermint, clove, and eucalyptus. The aroma as well as sound coming from the small machine creates a lovely environment to support restful sleep. Also, the smoky mist that comes out of the diffuser makes me feel like I always have “marijuana smoke” near. Hey, whatever it takes to trick the mind to do the necessary things rather than the quickly gratifying things I am going to do it! I am the one in control of my mind and body, even when the darkness seems impossible to escape.
I do not take CBD for sleep rest. I do take a high dose of CBD if I am having anxiety issues, menstrual cramping, or if my brain seems to be fluttering in hundred different directions.
I follow a strict daily and nightly ritual or routine. This guarantees that my lower level brain or inappropriately dopamine-driven desires are not going to take control of my reality and therefore how I feel about it all. I do what I need to do, and I try my best to find ways to enjoy doing the necessary such as visualizing my oil diffuser is a magical marijuana volcano.
In the next episode we are going to discuss alcohol. As someone that grew top in northeast Wisconsin, I was born and raised to believe drinking is just a part of life. Wherever you go, there it is and everyone is doing it.
And after that, we are talking about the most important choice we can ever make - what we do with Light and how immensely important it is to control our daily exposure..or what I really mean is our evening and night time exposure.
All the best today!
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