Disorders of sleep affect tens of millions of individuals worldwide. Insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy are among the most often diagnosed sleep disorders.
Restless leg syndrome is defined by a prickly feeling in the legs, insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, and sleep apnea is characterized by breathing disruptions during sleep. People with narcolepsy are a bit different from the rest of us because they have trouble staying awake and often doze off unexpectedly throughout the day.
Nightmares and night terrors, teeth grinding, and sleep talking are further examples of sleep disturbances and disorders.
Marijuana has been discussed in relation to sleep as an alternate therapy for insomnia. How about sleepiness and sleep apnea; can weed help? Additional details on the relationship between marijuana and sleep problems are provided below.
Drug-Induced Slumber From Marijuana
First, some background on marijuana and sleep in general, then we’ll get into whether or not it helps with sleep apnea specifically.
To begin, some individuals find that marijuana helps them sleep, and vice versa. Marijuana has a calming, even sedative impact, which might be helpful if you’re having difficulties going asleep due to insomnia.
However, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) each Both THC and CBD may be present in marijuana, however only THC causes a psychoactive state whereas CBD has no such effect. Marijuana strains that are higher in CBD than THC may have the reverse effect, keeping you up at night. While marijuana with a high CBD content may not make you feel drowsy at night, it may help you get through a long workday.
There is some evidence that using cannabis with a high THC content might improve sleep quality, and that using even more particular strains can actually induce sleep. For instance, if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, an indica strain of marijuana is your best bet, while a Sativa strain can make you feel more energized.
For enhanced effects, some users combine cannabis with sedatives. Some people attempt a combination of melatonin and marijuana in the hopes of sleeping better, but this is not recommended; instead, talk to your doctor. You should see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical issues and explore possible treatments for your sleep issues.
Keep in mind that marijuana has the potential to prevent rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is why it is not recommended for use before bed. Phase of sleep characterized by the occurrence of rapid eye movement (REM) occurs towards the end of the sleep cycle. Cannabis use has been linked to an impaired ability to enter deep sleep.
Last but not least, it has been shown that beginning cannabis usage before the age of 15 is associated with a lifetime of sleep difficulties.
Effects of Marijuana on Sleep Apnea
We’ve shown that marijuana has an impact on sleep, but can it also aid those with sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea, in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during the night, is a potentially fatal sleep disease. Sleep apnea is associated with low oxygen levels, which may have serious consequences for both the brain and the body. Being male, over the age of 40, overweight, having a family history of the illness, or having gastric reflex or sinus issues are all risk factors for sleep apnea.
Stroke, high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, depression, and headaches are just some of the difficulties that may arise from untreated sleep apnea. The quality of one’s life and one’s ability to succeed academically or professionally are also negatively impacted.
In addition to addressing the underlying causes of sleep apnea, traditional therapy focuses on alleviating the symptoms.
However, there has been an uptick in studies connecting marijuana use to sleep apnea just within the last decade or two.
In 2002, for instance, researchers found that when rats were given a diet supplemented with certain cannabinoids, they saw a reduction in their severity of sleep apnea and an increase in their ability to breathe normally throughout the night. One 2013 human study on marijuana’s effects on sleep apnea indicated that patients who were given THC dosages had a significant improvement in the decrease of apnea indicators.
There is growing evidence in favor of the use of cannabinoid-based drugs as a potential therapy for people with mild to severe sleep apnea.
Although the majority of sleep and sleep apnea research are still in their preliminary phases, some preliminary data suggests that marijuana may be useful for certain persons with sleep apnea.
Summary: Cannabinoids and the Quality of Your Slumber
In certain situations, marijuana may help persons with sleep difficulties, but it also has the potential to make their symptoms worse.
How about sleep deprivation and sleep apnea; can marijuana help? There is still a lot more work to be done, but preliminary evidence suggests that marijuana, or at least certain components of cannabis, may aid with sleep apnea.
Avoid using marijuana as a form of self-medication for sleep apnea because of the risk of serious side effects. Sleep apnea and other sleep problems may have serious consequences, so it’s important to discuss any worries or questions you have with your doctor.
Also, keep in mind that self-medicating with marijuana for sleep issues or any other related concern may lead to an addiction if done repeatedly.