Cannabis and insomnia: indica blends may offer a solution

Vancouver retailer Mike Babins shares what he’s learned from his customers about what helps them get a full night’s sleep

Vancouver's Mike Babins may have gone a little mainstream by becoming a provincially licensed cannabis seller, but he hasn't lost his love of heavy metal. Photo by Noah Giroux


In this strange summer of 2020, the days are long and stress levels are high. For many of us, anxiety has increased not only because of COVID-19 but also due to the dreadful economy.

That can make it difficult to get to sleep or can cause people to wake up at odd hours feeling fear about their finances or their health.

Can a few tokes, cannabis oils, or edibles offer relief? CannCentral contacted Mike Babins, co-owner of Evergreen Cannabis in Vancouver, in search of answers.

In 2018, Babins and his wife, Maria Petrucci, obtained the first provincial licence to operate a legal retail cannabis outlet.

“We’re not a medical store,” Babins emphasized over the phone. “We’re a retail store and we don’t do medical advice.”

The former Montreal radio DJ quickly added that everybody is different, which means that one cultivar of cannabis—even from the same licensed producer—won’t affect each person the same way.

With that said, he offered his perspective, which is rooted in the experiences of his customers.

“If you are waking up throughout the night, what we suggest is to take a small dose of either an oil or an edible of an indica base,” Babins said.

That’s because the effects will be felt about an hour after being consumed—ideally, when the user is already asleep.

“We say indic-couch,” Babins quipped. “It’s going to make you lazy and relax your body.

“So it will hold you under so you can get a good six hours. Then you’ll wake up and it will be worn off, especially if you take a very small amount.”

For those having trouble even getting to sleep, Babins also thinks an indica blend can offer benefits, provided the person isn’t stewing with anxiety over what happened during the day.

However, the Evergreen Cannabis co-owner pointed out that indicas are more likely to trigger stress. He suggested that’s why there are so many Cheech and Chong jokes about paranoia and slothful weed users.

He said that a sativa blend, on the other hand, can help the mind focus on specific things rather than worrying about a vast array of concerns.

“A sativa is a bit of a stimulant, like a cup of coffee,” Babins explained. “So we say to have it around dinner time or cocktail hour so you can deal with your stress throughout the evening.

“Then by the time you go to bed, you’re all relaxed,” he continued. “Maybe have a puff of indica to counter the sativa effects, and go to sleep.”

As for those feeling stress during the working day, he suggested that pure cannabidiol (CBD) may help calm some people without them feeling psychoactive effects.

Babins related that he’s heard stories about elderly ladies being advised by their doctors to try cannabis even though they’ve never consumed it before. Then when they’ve visited a black-market dispensary, they’ve been urged to try a highly potent edible, which ends up freaking them out.

That’s why he encourages his staff to ask questions of his customers before making any recommendations.

“You’ve got to realize there’s no one solution,” Babins cautioned. “I mean, as mentioned before, everyone gets affected differently.”

Charlie Smith

I'm the editor of the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver, as well as a CannCentral contributor.


  • Barbara Sandi July 9, 2020 04:17 PM

    Good idea for a natural treatment for insomnia after menopause

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