The stigma around medical marijuana and CBD holds less power than it did a few years ago. Nowadays, more researchers around the world are studying the effects of cannabis on the body.
Early findings have indicated the positive impact of this plant on different disorders. With these results, people are becoming more open to using medical marijuana and CBD to cope with various ailments.
Insomnia, anxiety, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and pain management are just some medical conditions where cannabis is being prescribed. With one in four Americans developing insomnia every year, this sleeping disorder requires attention and the right medication to help sufferers go back to enjoying better sleep. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about cannabis and insomnia.
What causes insomnia?
Many things can prevent you from falling asleep as naturally as you would like to. There could be biological factors, psychiatric conditions, an unhealthy lifestyle, poor sleeping habits, substance use such as alcohol or drug use, and even medical conditions.
The first step to tackling insomnia is to figure out what is causing it. Medical conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, sinus allergies, acid reflux, endocrine problems, and neurological problems like Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome can all lead to insomnia.
Various medications can lead to insomnia, as well. For instance, medicines prescribed for depression, thyroid disease, hypertension, allergies, asthma, and birth control can cause insomnia as a side effect. Many people could also be suffering from sleep apnea without realizing it. Sleep apnea is a disorder that leads to an obstruction in the airway during sleep leading to a drop in oxygen levels.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include vertigo, snoring, and insomnia. Other severe conditions that can lead to this sleeping disorder include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Less severe conditions like sleeping with the television on could lead to a disruption in sleep. A high-stressful job with no respite can also cause you to lead an unhealthy lifestyle and suffer from insomnia.
To determine the cause of your insomnia, you can start by making healthier choices, but if you find that it persists, then a medical professional can guide you.
Cannabis: Medical marijuana vs. CBD
It can be overwhelming and confusing to learn about all the aspects of personalized cannabis, mainly because people refer to it with so many different names. What you need to know is that medical marijuana and CBD differ in essential ways.
Medical marijuana and CBD are the main natural compounds extracted from the cannabis plant. Medical marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in different ratios — a psychoactive that will make you feel high. On the other hand, cannabinol (CBD) contains less than 0.3 percent of THC, so it will not make you high. CBD’s effects are subtler, where people have reported feeling calmer and more peaceful. Hence having CBD gummies for insomnia half an hour before retiring to bed can help you relax and sleep better.
How can medical marijuana and CBD help treat insomnia?
It has to do with how these two natural compounds affect our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is that part of our body that creates homeostasis — that perfect balance in our body to work optimally. The ECS manages several critical functions in our bodies, such as appetite, mood, temperature, and reproductive systems. Sleep is another thing that the ECS manages.
Although researchers are still analyzing how exactly THC and CBD affect the ECS, they believe that these two compounds affect the receptors, enzymes, and the biochemical pathways managed by the ECS to create homeostasis.
When it comes to insomnia, medical marijuana and CBD have different roles. In the case of medical marijuana, which has a higher percentage of THC, its purpose is to help you fall asleep more quickly. While this is advantageous, researchers have noted that THC can shorten the REM stage of our sleep.
The REM stage is crucial because it is the deepest part of our sleeping time. This is why it is recommended that medical marijuana and CBD are combined when treating insomnia. Researchers believe that CBD can help you sleep for a longer time and prevent you from waking up during the night.
How to use medical marijuana and CBD to sleep better
When medical marijuana and CBD are used together, the entourage effect takes place. This combination works to enhance both compounds’ qualities while making it easier to handle the downside of the two.
You may use THC to fall asleep quickly, but if you take a higher dose than required, you may start feeling too anxious to fall asleep. Since CBD from retailers like CBDMEDIC can diminish THC’s psychoactive effects, using them together can help you maximize the benefits so that you can become drowsier more quickly and experience longer and more intense sleep.
For example, you can smoke your medical marijuana and then take a few gummies. While you must head to a state-approved dispensary for your medical marijuana, you can mail order marijuana at your doorsteps easily.
What is the right dose when combining medical marijuana and CBD?
Since research on CBD and THC is limited, researchers have not indicated a specific dose for any disorder, including insomnia. You must also keep in mind that the dosage varies from one person to the other. Other factors like gender, weight, and severity must be considered before deciding on the dose. Moreover, you could be taking specific medication which should not interact with the CBD and THC properties. So it’s best to consult an expert before you start taking CBD or medical marijuana for better sleep.
Chronic disorders, other ailments, and your age are also factors to consider before finding the correct dose for you. Still, there are established ratios in the market that can indicate the effects you can expect.
For example, a 1:1 ratio of CBD: THC will lead to a slight sense of euphoria and tranquillity. On the other hand, a 1:2 ratio of CBD: THC will lead to a high sense of happiness. The best way to reach the right dose for you is to work with your doctor’s recommendation and adjust the dosing gradually together.
Patient insight on treating insomnia with cannabis
As more people share their first-hand experience of how they treated their insomnia with medical marijuana and CBD, it is now easier to get a clearer understanding of the benefits this unconventional medication can do for you.
For 70-year-old Carol Collin, eating marijuana edibles before bed has helped her improve her sleep. Collin describes herself as a “chronic insomniac,” who has always suffered from poor sleep. Edibles have helped her fall asleep faster and wake up feeling less tired in the morning.
Another example involves a large case study of people with anxiety and sleep disorders. In this case, researchers noted that 66.7 percent of the participants suffering from poor sleep habits saw an improvement in the first month after taking CBD.
The risks and drawbacks of taking medical marijuana and CBD
Although the benefits of medical marijuana and CBD are evident, cannabis does come with its own set of side effects. For instance, taking THC for long periods and thus interrupting your REM could have long-lasting effects.
REM sleep is critical for our immune function. During REM sleep, our brain is active, almost as much as when we are awake. It is that part of our sleep that helps strengthen our memories and produce our dreams. Moreover, you can experience withdrawals when you stop using medical marijuana and CBD to sleep. This can lead to counterproductive effects where you start suffering from insomnia again.
Smoking medical marijuana is also a hazard for the lungs. You are increasing the risk of asthma and other respiratory conditions and irritate your throat. You can even worsen these conditions if you already suffer from them. CBD has its own set of side effects. You can experience fatigue, nausea, or irritability. CBD can also increase the blood thinner coumadin in your blood when mixed with specific medication.
Furthermore, there are certain conditions such as substance abuse, schizophrenia, and major depression where CBD and medical marijuana can worsen, rather than improve the symptoms. These could lead to a more heightened level of insomnia.
Treating insomnia the right way
Although this article has presented a full view of insomnia treatment through medical marijuana and CBD, it is essential to keep in mind that every patient is different. Your lifestyle, ailments, and medical history are unique, so when it comes to treating your insomnia with medical marijuana and CBD, seek the advice of a medical professional who can guide you into choosing the right dose.
Medical marijuana and CBD cannot be your only answer to insomnia. A healthy lifestyle where you eat well-balanced meals and exercise is essential, as are days where you take breaks from screen time or your high-stress job.
Remember that insomnia is often a cause of something else. Rather than obsessing over the idea of fixing it, see it as an opportunity to address the underlying issues that are causing it. Whether it is anxiety or depression, a job you hate, or chronic pain, you can always find someone to help you make positive changes to lead a happier and longer life.