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Cannabis And Sleep Disorders

Cannabis And Sleep Disorders
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Researchers estimate that more than 50 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. Poor sleep can cause or worsen many physical and psychological conditions.

Cannabis may be able to help if you suffer from a sleep disorder. Educating yourself about how marijuana affects sleep will help you determine if it is a viable option for you. In addition, familiarizing yourself with strains of cannabis, best practices, and marijuana’s side effects will help you have a productive discussion with a doctor about your options.

Does Cannabis Help You Sleep?

Cannabis contains about 100 chemicals called cannabinoids. These substances bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vast network that controls many bodily processes, including sleep.

THC and CBD are the two compounds that give marijuana most of its medicinal properties. Both THC and CBD have sedative effects that can help you fall and stay. A recent study found that an oral medical marijuana extract mitigated insomnia symptoms and improved sleep quality for individuals with chronic symptoms after two weeks.

The sedative effects of cannabis also increase the duration of deep sleep, or the restorative phase of sleep. Increasing the time spent in this sleep stage raises your likelihood of waking up feeling refreshed and recharged.

Is Cannabis a Viable Treatment for Insomnia and Other Sleeping Disorders?

It’s important to note that cannabis is not yet FDA-approved to treat any sleep disorder. Currently, doctors only recommend it to patients for symptom control. Despite this distinction, cannabis is a viable option for alleviating the symptoms of insomnia and other sleep conditions.

Beyond its impact on insomnia, marijuana can help patients whose sleep disturbance stem from other symptoms like chronic pain or anxiety. By alleviating such symptoms that prevent individuals from falling asleep, cannabis can enhance sleep quality and lengthen its duration.

One recent study of older adults with chronic pain reported cannabis had overall positive effects and helped patients remain asleep throughout the night.

Another study assessed the effects of cannabis on PTSD-related nightmares, which can cause insomnia and poor sleep quality. Researchers noted medical marijuana effectively suppressed such nightmares.

Can Marijuana Cause Insomnia

Can Marijuana Cause Insomnia?

Cannabis can cause insomnia in some individuals. THC helps patients sleep by suppressing the rapid eye movement characteristic of restorative sleep, but when weed is used over prolonged periods, this initially positive effect can lead to worse sleep quality and even insomnia.

One study of people who used cannabis at least 20 out of 30 days found a link to either less than six hours or more than nine hours of sleep per night. These individuals also reported higher rates of difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Another recent study of heavy marijuana users who discontinued their use noted increased sleep disturbance. Researchers noted that further research is needed to assess the extent of the adverse effects of cannabis on sleep.

Risks of Using Cannabis for Sleep

The primary risk of any sleep aid, including marijuana, is that it will lose its effectiveness over time, making higher doses required to achieve the same effects. Experts recommend using sleep aids alongside natural sleep remedies. Establishing a consistent bedtime, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, exercising, and managing stress can improve your sleep quality.

Long-term use of cannabis can disrupt your circadian rhythm, or your natural sleep-wake cycle. It can also suppress the production of certain hormones, making it critical to consult your doctor before using it for insomnia or any other condition.

Tips for Using Cannabis for Sleep

The fundamental principle for safely using medical marijuana is to begin with a low dose and build it up over time as you acclimate to the drug. Tinctures, which are a concentrated liquid form of cannabis, are often the best type of cannabis product for sleep since their effects last longer than marijuana flower’s.

Consuming a dose of marijuana about 30 minutes before bedtime will allow it to enter your system and engage with your ECS. A formulation with a blend of THC and CBD may offer the best effects for insomnia.

What Are the Best Cannabis Strains for Sleep?

Indica strains are preferable for helping you fall and stay asleep because they are associated with soothing and relaxing effects. Sativa products are uplifting and stimulating, which may exacerbate rather than alleviate insomnia.

Hybrid strains containing a blend of THC and CBD, such as Blue Dream and White Widow, are generally recommended for sleep disorders since each compound binds to the ECS to induce sleep. Your local dispensary’s budtenders can recommend products suited to your needs.

Why Choose the Sanctuary?

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute works with experienced medical marijuana doctors who can answer your questions and assess your suitability for cannabis. Our physicians believe in the value of medical cannabis and understand the nuances of using marijuana for sleep disorders.

If you’re interested in using medical cannabis to improve your sleep quality and/or address another condition, contact the Sanctuary today.

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