Cannabis can help ease the nightmare of insomnia

The seconds and minutes tick past with agonizing slowness as you lie in your bed desperately trying to fall asleep. But the harder you try; the farther away blessed unconsciousness seems to slip.

Cannabis for Insomnia

Insomnia sufferers know that powerless feeling and have likely tried numerous pharmaceutical, dietary and lifestyle changes to attempt to conquer their nighttime demons. But they may not have tried a natural medicine that has shown considerable promise in combatting sleeplessness: Cannabis.

Insomnia comes in many forms – dissatisfaction with sleep quality overall, difficulty falling asleep, maintaining sleep or waking up early and being unable to fall back asleep. Our modern lifestyle apparently doesn’t help, as researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the rate of insomnia sufferers in the U.S. adult population increased from 17.5 percent in 2002 to 19.2 percent in 2012.

A laundry list of medical conditions can cause or contribute to insomnia, according to the Sleep Foundation. Among them: nasal/sinus allergies; gastrointestinal problems; endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism; arthritis; asthma; chronic pain; lower back pain; restless leg syndrome; sleep apnea; and psychological issues like depression and PTSD.

Also, medications taken for other conditions, including birth control, can also cause or contribute to insomnia.

With so many possible potential triggers it’s no surprise that doctors have not found a one-size fits all approach to help insomnia sufferers. But sleeping aids, lifestyle changes, changes in other medications and possibly psychotherapy are among their standard go-to as they attempt to pinpoint a cause.

Because of the stigma that still surrounds marijuana, many doctors are reluctant to recommend cannabis for sleep problems, despite research showing it can be effective in combatting some causes of insomnia.

CBD As A Sleep Aid

For example, University of Pennsylvania researchers reported in March 2017 that cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana that does not produce the “high” commonly associated with the ingestion of the plant, showed considerable promise in fighting insomnia. They noted that patients reported that it increased total sleep time and decreased “the frequency of arousals during the night,” which we’ll assume refers to waking up. This evidence suggests that CBD works as a sleep aid.

CBD Oil Dosage for Sleep

But dosage may be important. The review noted that the preliminary studies indicate that low doses of CBD increased wakefulness while a larger dose produced “a sedating effect.” The results suggested that administration of 160 milligrams a day of CBD might be optimal.

The University of Pennsylvania review, the most comprehensive to date, notes that also has shown promise in combatting sleep apnea, at least in the short term.

Reducing pain is another widely acknowledged property of cannabis. A National Academies of Science review of studies done so far notes that cannabis has “shown significant promise in basic experiments on pain,” though it notes the need for definitive clinical trials demonstrating its effectiveness.

It added, however, that the “most believable” clinical studies performed to date suggest that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in marijuana that produces the “high” associated with the plant, may be the key to relief of chronic pain.

“Peripheral nerves that detect pain sensations contain abundant receptors for cannabinoids, and cannabinoids appear to block peripheral nerve pain,” it said.

Finally, cannabis also has shown promise in combatting nightmares in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Numerous studies, including a 2014 experiment involving prisoners, have found that nabilone, a synthetic form of THC, reduced nightmares and increased participants’ hours of sleep per night.

A word of caution: While cannabis may indeed help you get your rest, some studies suggest that heavy use of marijuana also can disrupt sleep cycles. “Sleep disruption (self-reported and objective) is a primary withdrawal symptom from cannabis and may play a role in cannabis lapse/relapse during cessation attempts,” the University of Pennsylvania researchers noted in the review cited above.

That’s one reason why we at Greenlight Approved believe when you start something new, it’s best to start slow. Gather all the information you can to make a safe informed decision. Let Greenlight Approved be your guide so your first experience with cannabis is an educated, safe and positive one. Let us direct you to premium product and brand options as well as participating retailers near you, at www.greenlightapproved.com.

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