It’s 3 a.m. and you’re still wide awake freaking out because you know you have to get up in 3 hours for a 14 hour day. Normally, you wouldn’t mind all that much, but it’s the third time it has happened, this week alone.
Sound familiar? Well, you are not alone. Roughly 60 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder and many of them are diagnosed as suffering from a version of insomnia.
Insomnia comes in all shapes and sizes, ranging from brief symptoms to chronic insomnia disorder, which is when sleeplessness occurs more than 3 times per week for at least three months.
Chronic insomnia can have numerous negative effects on your health and can lead to other serious medical conditions such as depression and high blood pressure.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Poor memory
- Mood disturbance
- Daytime sleepiness
- Low motivation or energy
- Increased errors or accidents
Insomnia is a frustrating condition to deal with and it can lower your performance and efficiency. According to a recent study, researchers found that an employee with insomnia loses about 8 days of work every year, due to lack of performance.
Common Treatments for Insomnia
Several conventional treatments are used today to combat insomnia. They include cognitive behavioral therapy, pharmaceutical medication (sleeping pills such as Restoril, Ativan, and Mogadon), behavior and lifestyle changes, and even acupuncture.
While we are in no position to bash any of these treatments, it is important to understand that some of the mentioned above do have serious side effects and it is, therefore, important to consult with a professional before seeking out any medical treatment.
For this exact reason, those interested in managing insomnia through natural means may not find the consumption of prescription medications very appealing, especially when met with a slew of potential side effects. This is in part why so many do seek herbal or holistic alternatives altogether.
Insomnia and Marijuana: What’s the Relationship?
The topic insomnia and marijuana is a complicated one. As marijuana has been classed as an illegal drug for so long, there are few studies on the topic that provide scientific evidence in regards to marijuana’s effectiveness on sleep. Unfortunately, research is limited and sometimes conflicting.
Further research absolutely needs to be conducted pertaining to cannabis and its potential medical benefits. As states continue to legalize marijuana throughout the United States, we expect America to soon follow in Canada’s footsteps, who just made cannabis legal on a recreational level countrywide.
Just because not enough conclusive studies exist pertaining to the efficacy of cannabis, does this mean that marijuana doesn’t work? Heavens no. It simply means that research is mixed. And here is why…
The Good and the Bad about Marijuana and Insomnia
As with everything in this world, both the good and the bad does exist. In the case of cannabis’s relationship to insomnia and how it presents itself, there is a culmination of both worlds.
- Already back in 1973 research was conducted on patients. The study found 20mg of THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary compound causing the drug’s high) helped individuals fall asleep faster.
- In 2004 another significant study was published this time showing that while 15mg of THC acted as a sedative, 15mg of CBD appeared to act as a stimulant causing specific patients to stay awake.
- Since the 80’s researchers have acquired more knowledge about the miracle plant and now understand that there is more than meets the eye. As THC degrades, it transforms to CBN (or cannabinol), a chemical that has been found to be an analgesic (acting to relieve pain) and which has a sedative effect.
- Although it takes longer to feel the effects of marijuana-infused edibles than vaping or smoking, it is now known that the effects of edibles can last longer. It is thought that edibles have a much better impact on helping to treat sleeping disorders.
- A 2008 study found that cannabis reduced REM sleep, leading to less time spent dreaming and to less-vivid dreams. This can be very helpful for patients suffering from PTSD.
- Cannabis might be able to aid in sleep without the risks of addiction, anxiety, blurred vision, depression, extreme fatigue and other side effects commonly associated with prescription sleep aids.
- Other lab-based sleep studies have found no change in sleep latency or wakefulness after marijuana use.
- Just as uncontrolled alcohol consumption can lead to a hangover, cannabis can have a similar effect. Furthermore, cannabis that has been treated with pesticides can cause a more pronounced hangover effect. It’s important to drink plenty of water to help battle hangover symptoms.
- Marijuana isn’t a magic potion when it comes to sleep. In fact, even if it does help combat insomnia symptoms, the symptoms may return if you stop consuming it. One study found that up to 76% of heavy cannabis users reported disturbed sleep after abruptly quitting using.
The Truth About Marijuana and Insomnia
Clearly, many people are using cannabis as a sleeping pill despite the fact that further research is needed. The problem is that with current Federal laws, conducting marijuana research is like mission impossible.
From a research perspective whether or not cannabis use helps or hurts sleep is not entirely clear, but from a personal point of view and according to the stories we receive from followers, it seems as if it is helping thousands of people with sleep disorders every day.
With recent progressions in cannabis legislation and legalization, we do continue to have hope that marijuana will become more of a mainstream accepted and recognized substance. Additionally, this increase in tolerance and acceptance has already resulted in an increased number of research being conducted not only in pertinence to cannabis but also to its related compound CBD.
For those, especially, who cannot get access to legal cannabis, CBD oil has been said to be a suited alternative that also just so happens to be legal in all 50 states, so be it that it is derived from hemp origins and contains less than 0.3% THC.
Interested in trying CBD for insomnia? Here are the top brands on the market today:
Ever tried cannabis or CBD for insomnia or healthy sleep management? Share your experience with us on our Facebook Page or in the comments below!