Insomnia and Cannabis - Why It Works So Well

Medical Marijuana and Insomnia Patients Are A Perfect Match

Getting high any time of the day is good for you. And if you have trouble sleeping, look no further than your favorite plant.
Cannabis has been used since ancient times to treat a multitude of illnesses, and it’s also long been known for its calming properties and for its ability to help people sleep better. In the 19th century, a certain Dr. William B. O’Shaugnessy returned to Europe after a trip to India, bringing along cannabis and encouraging doctors to prescribe it to their patients for many illnesses and difficulty sleeping.

Insomnia, generally described as difficulty falling or staying asleep, is extremely common. It affects around 30% of adults, and 40% of them also suffer from accompanying mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Research shows that 95% of people who suffer from insomnia take sleep aids although many of these have side effects.

The Endocannabinoid System and Sleep

The endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for the benefits of cannabis in the human body, also plays an important role in regulating sleep.
 Research suggests that the presence of endocannabinoids in cannabis can increase sleepiness, and that suffering from insomnia may be caused by endocannabinoid deficiencies. The way to address this, is by consuming cannabis.

Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, there are limited studies on the benefits of cannabis for insomniacs. However, in a 1973 study of 9 participants who were given different doses of THC for 6 weeks, the results revealed that each dose reduced the time it took for the subjects to fall asleep. The researchers found that 20mg of THC was the most effective dose, since it reduced the amount of time that the subjects fell asleep by as much as 1 hour.  An interesting finding in the study was that a higher dose of THC, 30mg in particular, was less effective.  The subjects also reported feeling “hungover” the next day with a higher dose.

There are also many other ways that cannabis can benefit those with insomnia:
  • Longer sleep: Research shows that taking either THC or CBD before sleep leads to an overall increase in the duration of sleep.  Another study also showed that higher doses of THC increased the time spent sleeping.
  • Deeper sleep: Cannabis also impacts the sleep cycle, as it has been shown to result in deeper sleep. Studies show that THC increases the amount of slow-wave sleep, which translates to deep sleep. This is actually a health benefit too, because deep sleep is associated with better healing and regeneration within the body. Scientists believe that sleep deprivation is most harmful because of the absence of slow-wave sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation increases cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure in senior men.

    • Improvement in breathing: It’s estimated that 25% of men and 9% of women are diagnosed with a condition known as sleep apnea. This condition is characterized by disrupted breathing during the sleep cycle, and sleep apnea has also been associated with other serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Studies show that cannabis can help manage sleep apnea. As if difficulty falling and staying asleep isn’t enough of a problem, those with sleep apnea are at risk for other conditions but this is another area that cannabis can help.

      Natural Sleep Aid

      We all know a person or two who has been dependent on drugs like Ambien, Valiums, or Xanax just to get a good night’s rest. These drugs have side effects, when all you really need is a good indica strain. Cannabis isn’t addictive nor will it result in harmful side effects such as these other drugs.  Using sativa strains will be unlikely in delivering the same medicinal benefits as indica for addressing sleep disorders. Indica strains can be smoked, eaten, vaped, or dabbed to help you fall and stay asleep.

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