World-first study uses medicinal cannabis to treat insomnia - RSO Cancer Free

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Insomnia is really prevalent in the population. It's the most common sleep disorder. Insomnia is a difficulty in getting to sleep or staying asleep or waking up too early and it has an impact on people's daily functioning or quality of life.

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Marijuana is widely used as a sleep aid, both recreationally and among medical cannabis users. Around 70% of young adults that casually use marijuana report that they do so to help them sleep. Among long-term cannabis users (those who have been using it for 10 years or more), about half use marijuana to improve their sleep. Among people who use cannabis for medical reasons, such as pain relief, as many as 85% say it improves their sleep. Research into cannabis as a sleep aid is still developing. Marijuana may help relieve insomnia when used occasionally, though researchers are unsure whether long-term use is ultimately beneficial or detrimental for sleep quality.


Does Marijuana Help You Sleep?

Marijuana appears to improve sleep in certain cases. For people with certain conditions such as chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and multiple sclerosis, marijuana may help them fall asleep faster, wake up less during the night, and enjoy better sleep quality overall. A recent study also found that marijuana effectively relieves symptoms for people with restless legs syndrome (RLS). Many people use marijuana to self-treat insomnia, anxiety, and pain. Among these users, the effectiveness of marijuana for sleep is more ambivalent, though a study conducted on individuals with insomnia found that many participants reported relief from their symptoms when using cannabis.


How Does Marijuana Work as a Sleep Aid?

It is believed that the sleep-promoting effects of cannabinoids are due to their interactions with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. When cannabinoids bind to these receptors, they send messages to increase levels of sleep-promoting adenosine levels and suppress the brain’s arousal system. Together, these effects may help cannabis users feel sedated or sleepy.

Marijuana has several different active compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC typically acts as a sedative, it can have a stimulating effect for some people, especially for those who are new to using marijuana or taking higher doses. In these cases, using marijuana before bed may result in a longer time falling asleep. CBD appears to promote alertness  at lower doses, and sleepiness  at higher doses. The effects of the two compounds together may depend on the dose and timing.

Both CBD and THC may also have benefits for chronic conditions that interfere with sleep . For example, synthetic forms of THC have shown potential for treating obstructive sleep apnea, reducing PTSD-related nightmares, and improving sleep for people living with chronic pain. CBD, on the other hand, may reduce symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.

When using marijuana as a sleep aid, the effects you feel may depend on the type of cannabis you are using. Marijuana has higher concentrations of THC, the primary psychoactive component. Hemp plants have higher levels of CBD.