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One of my friends has been trying to find an alternative to cannabis as a night time relaxant, due to having problems with cannabis after-effects the next day (e.g. brain fog, anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts, unsociability). He has ruled out synthetic cannabinoids (JWH-xxx and similar) due to experiencing similar problems with them, and he does not want to use alcohol or benzodiazepines due to previous issues with them. He has thought of various other options but would also like to get the opinions of people here.
My mate just wants something relaxing to help him stop using cannabis/cannabinoids at night really. He has tried just not using anything at all at night, but has not managed to remain substance free for long periods and keeps on relapsing to cannabis use. Even a mild relaxant or high effect, maybe from something natural/herbal, could help him, if someone can suggest something that is not just a placebo or ultra-mild substance. He has been a bit disappointed with herbal substances, but this may be due to mainly just trying low-potency pills and capsules available in health food stores.
By the way, he has tried numerous antidepressants and also therapy in the past, with no real success. He does not have a severe mental illness, just average-level anxiety and depression and a very strong, long-standing habit of relying on something in the evenings to feel calm and to wind down at the end of the day.
Any experiences or opinions would be most welcome...unfortunately kava and kratom are both strongly illegal where he lives, so he cannot benefit from these.
I have the same problem but cant smoke weed, drink alcohol or take benzos as they end up with worse problems. living in Australia, where everything which is marginally helpful is illigal try diphenhydramine (trade name in australia is unisom sleepgels) the problem with them is they come in gel caps so if you feel tired or more relaxed you can only take one you cant break it in half. the second is doxylamine (one of the trade names is dozile (25mg tablets) in australia) which come in tablet form. Those two will get you relaxed and to sleep pretty quick but if you take them late at night and try to get up early in the morning they give you a bit of a groggy feel for a few hours especially the doxylamine.
I have been taking them to get to sleep for 4 years now mainly doxylamine because i can break the tablets figuring that at some point I should learn to go to sleep without chemicals so i can take a quarter of a tablet now and that is enough to get me asleep within an hour.
Hope that helps
Doctors here mainly prescribe a short course of diazepam or another benzo for cannabis withdrawal, according to a drug and alcohol counselor. She says that the benzo will help initially, but only lead to dependence itself if relied upon for too long.
My mate will try the ideas given here. He has found doxylamine and diphenhydramine helpful for sleep in the past, and has found phenibut helpful in general as a relaxant and mood lifter. He is also thinking of giving something like gabapentin a go, or maybe carbamazepine. Another idea (possibly) is a herbal substance like damiana, kanna, wormwood, etc if he finds that any of those have an effect on him.
Anyway thanks for the replies, he will write back here with results if he finds something that helps him.
STAY AWAY FROM BENZOS. Just trust me on that one. I'm a chronic insomniac, but recently I've found something that helps. 5-10 mg of melatonin, 50 mg of diphenhydramine (the active sleeping ingredient in Benadryl) and 50-100 mg of trazadone. I would say trazadone is the greatest help in that concoction.
I also just found a supplement called Comatose, and I'm looking forward to trying that I think you should check it out. Also meditation and waking up at the same time everyday helps a ton.
We've had good luck using 5-HTP supplements perhaps a half hour before the intended bedtime. After a few days though it would cause us to alternately oversleep or wake up far too early (after say 5.5 hours rather than the usual 7.5-8). YMMV.
try chamomile and passionflower. it can be smoked so if the ritual of smoking cannabis means anything to you, this could help satisfy the urge to smoke something.
for me, a combo of 50-75mg of diphenhydramine, 9mg melatonin, and a cup of chamomile/passionflower tea does the trick pretty well. all these are pretty mild on their own but the combo has some very relaxing synergy.
im not a fan of cannabis, but i am a chronic insomniac. and this really helps for me, and is much safer and cheaper then using benzos or opiates to sleep every night.
Thanks for that warning, and don't worry, this bloke has every intention of staying away from benzos. He is just finishing tapering off diazepam slowly (now down to 1.25 mg per day) after years of use (and only being off once before) and doesn't want to go through this again...he only mentioned benzos at the start to point out what doctors and counselors sometimes recommend.
Thanks again everyone for these interesting suggestions, which will be tried. Part of the issue is just wanting a high at night, while part is needing to sleep, so a combination of a few things will probably end up being the best way.