Should Cannabis Be Used as a Sleep Aid?
Things we have that demand little or no effort on our part are often taken for granted. Like sleep. Have a shower, brush your teeth, put on your PJs, hop into bed. And sleep like a log until the morning. That is, more or less, a routine for most of us. We are all familiar with the fact that quality sleep is one of the most important “ingredients” for a healthy life. And indeed, even one night of poor sleep can be evident in our performance the next day.
For people who are struggling with sleeping disorders maintaining even a semblance of normal life can become a gargantuan task.
Unsurprisingly, many turn to sleep pills and other available remedies in trying to tackle this monster in their closet. Many, sadly, have little to no success because sometimes trying all the known and recommended things simply isn’t bringing about that coveted thing - blessed, peaceful, restive sleep.
Then there’s cannabis.
Much debated, and in many ways still very controversial despite the fact that cannabis has been used as a sleep aid for centuries.
It is sometimes enough to simply utter the word (cannabis), and people start throwing about the usual cliches about “stoned” youth making trouble, wasted lives, and other assorted horror scenarios. Certainly, sola dosis facit veneneum and excessive use of just about anything (even water) can cause great damage. Yet, taking time to conduct proper research and then making an informed decision does make all the difference. After all, cannabis can help, and there is enough evidence that supports the statement.
How Can Cannabis and Its Compounds Help with Sleep Disorders?
There are many reasons why people suffer from sleep disorders and those include chronic pain, depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, PTSD or restless legs syndrome. But, how exactly could cannabis help those affected to sleep better?
One of the compounds of cannabis, CBD oil, has been used more and more for medicinal purposes because it does not in any way alter the state of mind. In short, there is no “high” sensation when using CBD unlike THC, another cannabis compound. People suffering from chronic pain, depression, and anxiety use CBD. Naturally, since most of these conditions are, to a smaller or larger degree, connected with sleep disorders, alleviating the symptoms will affect the quality of an individual’s sleep.
The Notorious THC
Causing by far the most controversy, THC is a cannabis compound that does provide those who take it with the “high” sensation. As always, the key is in the dosage as studies show that taking low doses of THC helps to relieve stress, thus helping affected individuals to fall asleep much faster and deeper.
An individual’s sleeping and the sleep cycle are two known sleep patterns affected by low doses of medical marijuana. Deep sleep phase is the most important part of sleeping and marijuana helps in speeding it up. Most sleep aids like pills have unwanted side effects like dependency and necessity to up the dosage after a while in order to be helpful.
A study conducted in 2018 showed that using marijuana before going to bed does influence the REM phase, which is then much shorter. Once cannabis is no longer taken, the REM phase becomes longer and dreams that occur are usually very picturesque. However, this usually stops after three to five days.
Taking any kind of sleep aid has to be taken seriously and it demands thorough research beforehand. If you are having difficulty sleeping and are considering medical marijuana, then consulting your GP ought to be the first step. Cannabis is known to help people fall asleep faster and to sleep longer. Since breathing is positively affected by cannabis, it can be helpful to those suffering from sleep apnea. Cannabis could help you sleep deeper as it shortens the REM phase. A study showed that Cannabis indica strains are most effective when it comes to helping people sleep better. Lastly, cannabis-based products intended for medicinal purposes have not been approved by the FDA, which is another thing that has to be taken into consideration.