Sleep. We all need sleep. It’s one of the body’s most important natural functions. As such, the quantity and quality of sleep you get is highly important. Sleep disorders are ridiculously common worldwide. Want to know which sleep disorders can be treated by cannabis? This post, that’s part of our series on cannabis and sleep, explores the most common sleep disorders effectively treated with medical marijuana.
Imagine. It’s 6:00 AM. Your alarm clock goes off and the most amazing thing happens. You. Don’t. Hit. Snooze!
Why not? No need to.
You wake up feeling rested and refreshed, ready to take on the day. Instead of dragging yourself out of bed heading straight for the coffee pot, you wonder if you even want a coffee that morning.
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Does waking up like this sound like a dream come true? For the thousands of people globally who struggle with sleep disorders and use cannabis to treat them, this dream is now a reality.
Inadequate Sleep Takes a Toll on Your Life
Trouble falling asleep? Sleeping too much? Not getting enough sleep?
Sleep disorders range on the spectrum but all hold one commonality: without adequate restful sleep, your health will suffer.
Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. It’s not about just being tired, the negative effects extend far beyond the obvious. All facets of your well-being are affected by your quality of sleep. Lack of adequate sleep can cause:
- Negative Moods
- Low sex drive
- Lack of energy
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
- Related health issues
5 Sleep Disorders Treated with Cannabis
User testimonials and preliminary studies attest to the profound benefits medical marijuana has on sleep disorders. In no particular order, these are the five most common sleep disorders that have been successfully treated with cannabis…
Inability to fall asleep and stay asleep has become a worldwide epidemic. Recent statistical research reveals that worldwide, 50 to 60 percent of adults report experiencing insomnia at least once per year. Honing in specifically on Canada, the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry reports that 4 in 10 have at least one symptom of insomnia.
Don’t worry. There is hope. Research on cannabis and sleep from the Palo Alto University and the National Center for PTSD demonstrates that cannabidiol (CBD) harnesses potential therapeutic effects in the treatment of insomnia. Additionally, the review suggests that delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) seems to have a benefit of decreasing sleep latency, but the research points out there is a potential drawback of impairment of long-term sleep quality.
#2. Sleep Apnea
Waking up gasping for breath in the middle of the night. Ceasing respirations while sleeping.
If you or someone you loves suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, you are already familiar with the dangers of this disorder which interrupts breathing for 10-30 seconds at a time. Obviously, individuals that suffer from sleep apnea often lack any type of quality sleep and cognition can be impaired by the lack of oxygen transfer to the brain.
When it comes to the treatment of sleep apnea with cannabis, the same review from the Palo Alto University and the National Center for PTSD suggests that preliminary studies demonstrate that synthetic cannabinoids may treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Nabilone and dronabinol are synthetic cannabinoids which demonstrate short-term effects on sleep apnea:
“Synthetic cannabinoids such as nabilone and dronabinol may have short-term benefit for sleep apnea due to their modulatory effects on serotonin-mediated apneas.”
In a study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, investigators used a synthetic medical cannabis product to treat sleep apnea patients. They found the medicine was able to significantly reduce sleep apnea short term with no negative effects on the patient’s sleep architecture. According to the researchers of the study:
“Data suggest that Δ9-TetraHydroCannabinol (Δ9THC) stabilizes autonomic output during sleep, reduces spontaneous sleep-disordered breathing, and blocks serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea.”
Feeling excessively sleepy during the day is know as hypersomnolence. Even after taking lengthy naps mid-day, people who suffer from the disorder gain no relief from their symptoms of sleepiness and fatigue.
Cannabis comes in thousands of different strains, producing various effects, which makes it so ideal for medical use. Certain cannabis strains, often those belonging to the sativa cannabis type, are remarkable for improving alertness, stimulating the mind, and regulating your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
#4. Restless Leg Syndrome
You got to love it when a medical disorder is named in a way that completely describes the problem. Makes life easy. Restless leg syndrome is a perfect example as it’s a condition in which, you guessed it, the individual fights an irresistible urge to move their legs while sitting or more commonly while lying down to sleep.
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Sleep suffers, severely, from this sensation. A good night’s rest may seem impossible for someone who suffers from the disorder. Further research is needed to demonstrate the effects on cannabis for the treatment of RLS, but novel studies suggest relief with medical marijuana.
Sleep Medicine published a study which found that medical cannabis resolved completely the symptoms of restless leg in six patients. Further investigation is needed to uncover the exact mechanism of action that produced this effect, but it’s clear that cannabis was the reason symptoms ceased.
#5. REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder
Have you ever heard of REM sleep behaviour disorder? Probably not. However, you or someone you know probably exhibit some of the following symptoms of this rarely-discussed disorder that’s uber common:
- Acting out dreams while sleeping
- Moving limbs
- Getting out of bed (sleep walking)
- Holding conversations in sleep (sleep talking)
Can cannabis play a role in treating the unique symptoms of this disorder? Researchers at the University of São Paulo seem to think so!
In their investigation, it was observed that the frequency of REM sleep behaviour disorder symptoms was drastically reduced in patients treated with CBD.
If you are already familiar with the effects of medical marijuana, it may come as no surprise to you that no major side effects were experienced by any of the test subjects. Again, cannabis proves itself to be an effective treatment for yet another medical disorder.
Do You Suffer From a Sleep Disorder?
Have you tried cannabis? Stop dealing with reduced quality of life and inadequate sleep which results from sleep disorders. Visit a medical marijuana clinic in Canada, and speak with a licensed physician who can recommend whether or not cannabis is an ideal treatment for you.
Stay tuned to the blog for the final post in the cannabis and sleep series which recommends which strains to use for sleep.