|Posted by alexandriaelkwood on July 5, 2017 at 11:10 AM|
Can Cannabis Be Used to Treat Insomnia?
MEREDITH SUMMERS JUNE 30, 2017
Sleep is truly a beautiful thing to us all — except of course when you can’t seem to get any of it. Insomnia causes problems across the world, from the exhausted driver to the perpetually wired doctor. It can make people moody, or even downright mean. The effects are so universal that even if you’ve never had a problem with sleep, you have a reason besides altruism to ensure that others aren’t missing their Zs.
More than one in three adults understand exactly what it feels like to get less than a full night’s sleep, and practically all of those adults know how difficult it is to find solutions to their (very real) problem. But what if cannabis was the key to unlocking the solution?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and is specifically meant to relax the user without causing the giddy feelings generally associated with cannabis. Find out more about how how sleep works, and how the more traditional medicine stacks up to CBD.
The Science of Sleep
When the sun goes down and you start yawning, your brain is actually sending signals back and forth to your spine. The pineal gland in your brain will then create natural melatonin, so you can actually rest. (Melatonin is derived from tryptophan which is stored in the pineal gland.) The theory behind cannabis and sleep is that cannabis will actually mimic the chemicals your brain is supposed to produce. It means you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and even breath better while you’re asleep.
Evidence of Help
Despite legality in some form or another in 29 states, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Unfortunately, that makes research somewhat scarce about its effects. There was one study done years ago which found marijuana helped people fall asleep. Another study showed that using CBD several hours before bed helps people balance out their energy, so they can sleep through the night without anxiety. And of course, anecdotal evidence is strong that this is more than just a casual relationship between the two activities.
Tips for Better Sleep
Not every type of cannabis will help people feel sleepy immediately. Cannabinol (CBN) is is the sedation chemical that’s produced when THC starts to age, and it’s rather effective when it comes to using it right before you want to sleep. However, for a more relaxing evening that lasts for several hours, CBD oil promotes better sleep by relaxing the mind enough to stimulate natural melatonin. Pairing this with natural remedies (e.g., chamomile tea) can actually make the cannabis even more effective.
Days of Comparisons
There are plenty of over-the-counter treatments for insomnia, as well as more serious prescription remedies. While we all have different body chemistries, these choices are often physically addictive and can cause extreme reactions in some people. Ambien has been linked to suicidal thoughts and extremely odd behavior. Natural sleeping pills or drinks may do little to treat the more extreme cases, leaving people in despair when they are still unable to sleep. Nevertheless, sleep aids are set to be a $10 billion industry by 2020. Considering even small doses of cannabis can help an insomniac, it makes this choice a much smarter, cost-conscious alternative.
Safety and You
CBD is non-habit forming, which definitely can’t be said for the prescription drugs. While it can become psychologically addictive, it’s generally considered both safe and effective in comparison to the other choices on the market. However, it should be noted that cannabis is not meant to be the sole answer to insomnia.
Generally speaking, it’s some type of stress or anxiety that insomniacs need to work through, so the body can keep up its natural defenses. Just like a cup of chamomile tea can help relax the body enough for the melatonin to take over, so too can more involved solutions such as meditation or psychotherapy. However, CBD oil can be used in addition to these measures as a long-term means to get the sleep the body needs to stay healthy — both physically and mentally.