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Using Cannabis for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
Insomnia, sleep apnea, and sleep disruption are just a few disorders among a wide range of sleep disorders successfully treated with cannabis and its extracts. So, what makes cannabis so effective in treating sleep disorders?
The main reason for this is that the majority of cannabis medicines are mildly sedative in nature. Studies show that in order for effective treatment of sleep disorders however, cannabis treatment may be dose-dependent as well as affected by the THC/CBD ratio of cannabis.
A History Lesson in Cannabis Use for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders
The ancient Indian medical system, called the Indian Ayurveda Medical system, is an ancient “natural” and holistic approach to physical and mental health. Indian Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest medical systems and to this day, it still remains one of India’s traditional health care systems.
The Indian Ayurveda medical system recognizes the sleep-inducing qualities cannabis produces and characterized as nidrajanan (sleep-inducing). Throughout history, treating sleep disorders with cannabis is associated with cannabis’ ability to reduce pain & discomfort brought on by pain.
THC was first isolated in 1964. Early studies showed, THC helped reduce the time required to fall asleep, restrained deep sleep, and often produced hang-over like symptoms. In the late 1990’s, a published review also claimed THC adversely altered brain wave patterns during sleep studies also leaving most patients with hangover effects (such as headaches and exhaustion).
However, in a 2007 review on using Sativex for treatment of sleep disorders caused by multiple sclerosis or arthritis pain strongly disproved prior study and review claims. Sativex proved to be extremely effective in treating Insomnia induced by pain in 13 different studies performed.
A Dutch pharmaceutical company in 2011, introduced a medicine high in cannabis essential oil called mycrene. Mycrene is sedative when combined with THC. Mycrene found in indica cannabis varieties.
What is Insomnia?
If you’ve ever fallen victim to Insomnia, you know how awful it can be to be an insomniac. Insomnia is the inability to sleep under normal conditions. Three varieties of Insomnia include:
- Inability to fall asleep upon retiring
- Intermittent waking after falling asleep/maintaining sleep
- Early awakening
- sleep disorders are often induced by certain medical conditions, specifically when the medical condition involves pain.
The Effectiveness of Cannabis on Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
pain syndrome clinical studies show that certain cannabis varieties and extracts have helped a majority of people achieve restful sleep. The majority of these people achieve restful sleep without any kind of grogginess upon waking the following morning.
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Long-term studies consisting of up to four years indicate that using cannabis for sleep disorders doesn’t create a tolerance buildup.
Understanding Cannabinoids and Their Abilities is Key with Sleep Disorders
Understanding whether cannabinoids sedate or stimulate will help in deciding which type is right for you and your sleep disorder. Need help understanding what cannabinoids are and how they work in our bodies (endocannabinoid system)? Then make sure to read these helpful articles we have written on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system:
While THC produces vestigal sedation, CBD promotes awakening. CBD however, is effective at reducing anxiety, which can help you fall asleep easier. CBN is a cannabinoid produced over time by the oxidation of THC. CBN has shown to be a synergistic sedative when combined with THC.
It’s possible that essential oils unique to each type of cannabis variety may also affect the cannabis’ ability to sedate. Highly stimulating sativa cannabis varieties are not recommended for those suffering with sleep disorders.
Insomnia and Cannabis Dosing
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For the purpose of achieving an effective outcome for sleep disorders such as Insomnia, the following things are critical to remember:
- The cannabinoid profile
- Timing of dose
- Size of dose
For most cannabis users, the lingering cannabis sedative properties occur 90 minutes after using it. Therefore, when the initial stimulation of cannabis gives way to sleepiness. Initially, THC appears to be stimulating while its metabolites are more sedating. So, what does this mean for those affected with sleep disorders? Smoking or vaping cannabis approximately an hour before bedtime allows enough time for the sedative metabolites of THC to accumulate.
If you have issues with waking up in the middle of the night, oral cannabis is effective at helping you stay asleep.
However, cannabis overuse can also produce intense psychoactivity, this makes falling asleep extremely difficult and interferes with normal sleep cycles. Using moderate to low doses of cannabis are highly recommend for sleep disorders.
Ways to Ingest Cannabis for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders
Effective methods of cannabis ingestion for Insomnia and sleep disorders includes oral, sublingual, Smoking, and vaping.
Oral Cannabis for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
If you are having issues waking up in the middle of the night, oral cannabis may be right for you. cannabis when taken orally, offers longer-lasting effects. However, caution is necessary to prevent over-medicating, since high doses of cannabis are stimulating and cause psychoactive effects.
Sublingual Cannabis for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
The sublingual method to ingest cannabis, proves to be effective for Insomnia and other sleep disorders. sublingual cannabis preparations such as Sativex which is a 50/50 blend of THC and CBD, can help reduce side effects. CBD helps in restricting psychoactivity brought on by THC.
Smoking and Vaping Cannabis for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
Smoking or vaping cannabis, can be quite effective one hour prior to bedtime for Insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Indicated Cannabis Chemotypes for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
Heavier indica cannabis varieties such as purples and Afghan/Pakistani true kush, are suitable because of their sedative and analgesic effects.