How Medical Marijuana Help People Suffering from Sleep Disorders
Tens of millions of people suffer from various sleep disorders. Some of the most frequently diagnosed sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.
The cannabis plant has been used for centuries as a sleep aid. Contemporary scientific research has measured what people have known and experienced since ancient times: cannabis has relaxing and sedative effects. In particular, cannabis makes falling asleep easier. One recent study found that cannabis shortens the time it takes to fall asleep, both for people with sleep problems and people who fall asleep without trouble. Among people with active difficulty falling asleep, cannabis use resulted in an average of 30 minutes less time in falling asleep. The study also included a group of people who were able to fall asleep without difficulty. Among this group of strong sleepers, cannabis helped them fall asleep even faster, by 15 minutes.
According to Dr. Kolla, the AASM’s stance against cannabis is due to insufficient research and the inconsistency of different strains of cannabis.
“When we talk about cannabis, there’s more than 100 compounds in the plant,” he says. “A lot depends on the source…of what compound somebody is taking. A lot of times, it’s very hard to tell what somebody is taking because there is little quality control.”
The lack of consistency from plant to plant and strain to strain makes researching the effects of cannabis on sleep very difficult. However, researchers of one study looked at the effects of dronabinol, an iteration of THC, on obstructive sleep apnea. They concluded that “findings support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in people with OSA. In comparison to placebo, dronabinol was associated with lower [Apnea-Hypopnea Index, AHI], improved self-reported sleepiness, and greater overall treatment satisfaction.”
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis. It does not appear to alter consciousness or trigger a “high.” A recent surge in scientific publications has found preclinical and clinical evidence documenting value for CBD in some neuropsychiatric disorders, including epilepsy, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Evidence points toward a calming effect for CBD in the central nervous system. Interest in CBD as a treatment of a wide range of disorders has exploded, yet few clinical studies of CBD exist in the psychiatric literature.
THC and CBD are not the only cannabinoids to consider when looking for a sleep strain. Remember that terpenes also play a large role in determining the effects and the benefits of cannabis strains. Trial and error is always part of the process of finding the most beneficial strains for your personal needs.
Cannabis can be helpful in bringing about sleep. It does have side effects that you should know. They include:
- Next-day grogginess, especially with overuse and/or a high-THC strain.
- Overuse and high-THC strains can also produce dry mouth, euphoria, and increased appetite after ingestion
- After extended use, possible withdrawal symptoms that may include changes to mood (feelings of anxiety or depression) and changes to sleep (trouble falling asleep, vivid dreams)
In some ways, marijuana may provide relief for people with sleep disorders, but at the same time, it can make them worse in some cases as well.
Also, does marijuana help sleep and sleep apnea? Marijuana, or at least particular components of cannabis, may help sleep apnea, but there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done.
If you have sleep apnea, you shouldn’t try to self-medicate with marijuana, because the complications of the disorder could be severe. You should always speak with your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have regarding sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.
It should also be noted that trying to self-medicate with marijuana for sleep problems, or any other similar concern can create a substance use disorder, so be cautious and cognizant of this.
Source: www.thesleepdoctor.com, www.therecoveryvillage.com, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov