Are you getting adequate sleep? Getting enough hours of sleep is beneficial to your overall well-being. According to a CDC report, a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep. Insomnia and other sleep problems can lead to severe injuries or exacerbate other health conditions. Various treatments exist for such disorders.
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Today, with the increase in the use of alternative medicine, more people are leaning toward cannabis for insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Effect of Cannabis on Sleep
Typically, researchers pay particular attention to two main compounds of cannabis. First component being cannabidiol (CBD) and the other element Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Below is a list of sleep disorders that can be treated using cannabis.
A 2012 study conducted on rats, examined the effects of CDB on their sleep quality. Among the findings was that medium doses of CBD would reduce REM. Other studies have found that CBD can also reduce REM that is anxiety related.
Also, using CBD oil minimizes insomnia symptoms and PTSD-induced insomnia. It’s important to note that the effects of cannabis on insomnia vary depending on dosage, concentration, and the administration type.
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REM sleep behavior disorder
If you were watching an action movie and suddenly fell asleep, the chances are that you would dream about being in similar fight scenes. What’s more, no one would know what you dreamt about unless you told them. However, if you were suffering from REM sleep behavior disorder, your body would mimic those action scenes. These include leg movements and talking.
Researchers have found that cannabis can help treat this disorder. One study conducted on patients with Parkinson’s showed promising results. When given CBD, these patients showed minimized symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder. Additionally, none of them experienced negative aftereffects.
Pain-induced sleep problems
According to the CDC, close to 20.4% of Americans suffer from chronic pain. In extreme cases, chronic pain can affect your ability to perform simple tasks. Additionally, chronic pain can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. In a 2015 review of cannabinoids and non-cancer pain, researchers found that Sativex (CBD/THC extract), improved the quality of sleep in patients with chronic pain.
One thing to note is that due to increased opioid use in the US, more experts have begun looking at medical cannabis to treat chronic conditions. In Canada, the British Columbia Centre on substance use talked to approximately 1000 people with substance use disorders and chronic pain. The researchers found that the use of medical cannabis reduced the frequency of opioid use in pain management.
PTSD-linked nightmares are a difficult-to-treat chronic condition. Currently, doctors prescribe Prasozin. Though efficient, war veterans have begun using medical cannabis to treat nightmares. In 2009, researchers used artificial THC (nabilone) to test whether it works. Results showed that nabilone would reduce the frequency of nightmares. It also improved sleep duration among war veterans.
Unfortunately, unlike other artificial THC, some users experience side effects such as:
- Dry mouth
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
OSA occurs when you fail to breathe normally during sleep. This condition is the most common type of sleep disorder faced by adults in the US. The standard treatment involves using positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. However, due to patient complaints of discomfort, researchers began examining the benefits of THC on OSA.
A 2014 study examined the use of artificial THC (dronabinol) on rats. The researchers found that this compound affected the nerves located in the respiratory organs. They also noticed a reduction in apnea. Later on, after conducting this experiment on humans, they found that dronabinol was efficient in reducing adult apnea. However, this would only work by administering doses between 2.5mg and 10mg every day.
Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
Some people find it hard to stay awake during the daytime. Certain prescribed drugs usually cause this problem. Also, other sleep problems such as OSA are to blame for daytime sleepiness. A 2014 study examined CBD in promoting wakefulness. They found that an equal ratio of THC and CBD improved sleepiness among adults, specifically during morning hours.
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Potential downsides of cannabis dependence
There’s a high likelihood that long-term recreational cannabis use could exacerbate sleep problems. CNN’s article on January 21, 2020, found that cannabis can produce mixed results among its users. For instance, cannabis recreational users have reported experiencing insomnia when trying to quit. However, based on a 2014 survey that examined insomnia among cannabis users and non-users, the effects of cannabis withdrawal were absent on people with comorbidities.
Most users consume the whole plant, which contains over 500 cannabinoids. Some experts believe that this could be the reason behind such adverse outcomes during withdrawal. There is, therefore need for further research on cannabis and its compounds.
Now that you know the benefits of cannabis in treating sleep problems, you might be thinking of purchasing online CBD products. If this is your first time, it would be best to consult a licensed medical marijuana doctor. Our MMJ doctor can offer a thorough evaluation and give recommendations based on your medical condition. You can also apply for a medical marijuana card.
To learn more, book an appointment or contact us at 415-554-0171.