The Cannabis/Sleep Connection

Someone cannabis for sleep purposes

Around 70 million people in the US suffer from sleep disorders, and at least 15% of adults have disrupted daytime activities due to insomnia. But in an era of fast-paced living, stress is a 24/7 occurrence that often leads to bad sleeping habits–and even worse health and mental effects. In recent years, cannabis treatment for sleep disorders has been making waves, but is the hype worth it?

(It may be fall, but it’s never too late in the year for a mini-goal. Why not undertake a digital detox? Read this Project Bold Life story and found out how!)

Sleeping Disorders and the Cannabis Fix-it

a girl who used cannabis for sleep
More and more people are using cannabis for sleep.

Sleeping disorders are no joke, as 40 million Americans experience insomnia, with 15% dealing with chronic conditions. In addition, insufficient or poor-quality sleep increases the risks for mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Other notable long-term effects of sleeping irregularities are obesity and nutrient deficiency.

With so many people having problems getting decent sleep, looking for the best cure is crucial. The problem is the top solution for a good night’s rest is quite controversial.

Most users and experts consider cannabis the most effective treatment for sleeping disorders. In addition, the medical marijuana community assures people that using it has little to no side effects. Despite that, the majority of US citizens are still wary of marijuana.

Marijuana contains two different cannabinoids that can affect and induce sleep. Cannabidiol, or CBD, offers numerous health benefits, including anxiety and pain relief. In addition, it’s non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t make users high. But tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is its psychoactive counterpart. THC is responsible for the ‘high feeling’ and triggers sleep.

The thing with cannabis and the science of sleep lies with the strains of marijuana. Depending on how people balance cannabinoids, they can energize, calm, or sedate the user. But it’s also essential to remember that each person needs different dosages of CBDs and THCs to work the way they want. One study in 2022 shows that cannabis oil mixture significantly improves sleep quality and duration for insomnia patients. In addition, it also helps increase midnight melatonin levels and mood.

In addition, a 2008 study on marijuana strains suggested that taking cannabis with higher THC levels can reduce an individual’s REM sleep. With reduced REM sleep, dreams and nightmares happen less, which helps for better rest. It also means spending more time in deep sleep, the most restorative and restful part of one’s sleeping cycle.

“The cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.” – Harvey R. Colten, M.D., Pediatric Immunologist and Educator, National Institutes of Health, Harvard University, Boston’s Children’s Hospital, Washington University

Cannabis For Sleep: How it Works, Its Effects, and Risks

a big cannabis leaf held up to the sun
Studies are showing that sleeping issues can be solved with cannabis. Are you considering giving it a try?

Early studies on cannabis usage for sleep in the 1970s stated the short-term benefits of CBD and THC. Although the research had mixed findings, most claimed a decrease in REM sleep, reduced sleep onset latency, and slow-wave sleep increase. In addition, researchers also found how cannabis intake plays a crucial role in a person’s sleep-wake cycle.

When taking cannabis, CBD and THC affect the body to help induce sleep. They also treat other comorbid disorders that lead to sleeping disruptions. Marijuana’s CBD strain deals with the Adenosine pathways near the basal forebrain, which help moderate a person’s sleep processes and increase the need for sleep.

CBD is also the strain that focuses on treating other disorders that could affect sleep, like anxiety and chronic pain. Moderate to higher CBD doses can also aid in upregulating one’s Endocannabinoid System. When regulated, the person can experience improvement in sleep.

But with THC, the strain requires direct stimulation of the Endocannabinoid System to activate and help. The primary benefit of THC in sleeping disorders, especially insomnia, is relaxation. THC helps reduce one’s thoughts and the intensity of negative experiences. In addition, it promotes positive memories as it can change how people remember their dreams.

The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, regulates the circadian sleep-wake cycle, including sleep maintenance and promotion. Many 2020 studies focused on the roles of THC and CBD on the sleep-wake process and showed less pronounced circadian rhythms throughout the night, increased sleeping time, and decreased night arousal frequency.

Despite its notable benefits, CBD and THC intake still has several risks, especially without the prescribed dosage and regular misuse. Without proper dosing, CBD can have stimulating effects and hyper-arousal. THC overuse can also lead to poor sleep outcomes, irritability, restlessness, and lingering hangover effects. Long-term usage of cannabis includes habituation, cognitive impairment, psychotic disorders, and even increased chronic bronchitis symptoms.

Due to this, medical experts note interested users should talk with their doctor to ensure they get the correct dosage and know if they’re clear to use cannabis as a treatment for their sleeping disorders. They also advise that people with recent heart attacks and poor cardiovascular health avoid cannabis use to avoid myocardial infarction.

It’s All About the Intake

Medical professionals may note more academic and research studies on the cannabis/sleep connection, but in recent years, cannabinoids have become one of the top treatments for insomnia and sleeping disorders. Despite that, the success of cannabis to help poor-quality sleep is all about the intake and dosage. Always talk with a qualified medical professional, learn what dose fits you, and if cannabis is the best cure for your concerns.

Don’t forget the book that lays out the principles of goal-achievement and attaining a Bold Life!

About the Author

Through timely and thoughtful articles, the book Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success, and other media, we deliver engaging content that educates, motivates and inspires you to live a Bold Life.
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