In contemporary society where working a 9-to-5 job has become more commonplace, proper rest is often put on the back burner.
With an increasingly busy schedule and raised stress levels, the human body begins to suffer the consequences of insufficient rest and sleep, both mentally and physically. A lack of sufficient rest can all but ensure the onset of mental problems or worsen existing ones such as anxiety.
An increasingly popular solution in recent years known to help with sleep deprivation is known as microdosing, a practice done most commonly with cannabis.
Microdosing is just that–taking a small amount or dose of a drug, like cannabis, to achieve beneficial side effects while avoiding the full effect of said drug.
Microdosing cannabis has become a beneficial addition to the lives of those with chronic pain, mental illnesses, and much more. In particular, insomniacs seeking relief often use a small amount of cannabis right before bed to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
For Ethan Cook, microdosing helps give him a better overall quality of life.
“I'm a volunteer firefighter and EMT," Cook said. "With that, it can cause a lot of stress. Between normal life and my work, that can influence how often I need to microdose. Sometimes there's no problems at all, and sometimes I feel like it's the end of the world.”
After starting his job, Cook noticed he began having difficulty falling asleep due to his levels of stress. He also frequently suffered from interrupted sleep. Cook's job performance and productivity suffered as a result of his lack of sleep, further adding to his stress.
“I was going through a very bad depressive phase, whether it's from PTSD or depression or whatever. I would sleep for just hours upon hours on end," Cook said. "Sometimes I'd be a complete insomniac and not sleep for multiple days straight. There's one time I was probably up for about almost seventy-two hours straight, literally just on pure caffeine.”
Then, a few months ago, Cook discovered microdosing.
“The last three to four months is when I really started to notice it and pick up on it," Cook said. "It was just one of those things where I was doing it recreationally, but slowly [I] started to put two and two together and thought, ‘Hey, this is really helping me.'"
After some trial and error, Cook discovered the right dosage that worked for him. After smoking about two pinches of bud from his bong an hour or two before bed, he found he could fall asleep with ease.
“Once I started microdosing and finally getting proper sleep, I started having a lot less of those worse days, even without needing to microdose," Cook said. "I can go sometimes many weeks of not needing to smoke at all, and I’ll be just fine. Every now and then, though, maybe a bad thing will happen or I’ll just have a bad or off day, and I’ll have to restart the cycle.”
For Cook, his microdosing "cycle" starts again whenever he notices he has brain fog or his head starts to feel fuzzy. He does this by microdosing every other night until he's back in the cycle again. Once he's back in the cycle, he does it more consistently without requiring a tolerance break.
When Cook started using cannabis for his insomnia, his sleep quality dramatically improved.
“Generally, I have trouble with falling asleep, and then when I do fall asleep, I have trouble waking up. For some reason, just doing a little bit here and there takes all those issues away," Cook said.
While cannabis makes it easier for Cook to fall asleep, he also actually sleeps less and enjoys a better quality of sleep, without any interruptions. Instead of struggling to wake up in the morning, he's noticed himself waking up earlier than expected without any issues or fatigue.
By microdosing with cannabis as needed, Cook is able to live a more productive life, unhindered by insomnia or stress.