Medical Marijuana & Sleep Disorders
Medical cannabis is an effective alternative for treating sleep difficulties for a few reasons, outlined below.
THC connects with the receptors in the brain that control sleep and wake cycles. Cannabis helps by stimulating the hippocampus and the limbic system. These parts of the brain control sleep and are rich with cannabinoid receptor sites. The specific cannabinoid that interacts with these receptors is Anandamide. The root of this word, ananda, means bliss in Sanskrit.
In a 2002 study from the University of Illinois, Dr. David Carley found that THC was effective in stabilizing respiration during sleep. In his study, people suffering from sleep apnea that used medical cannabis had their symptoms reduced by an average of 32%.
Indica-strain cannabis helps with sleep by triggering the production of PGE2. This helps sleep by aiding in the production of melatonin, a known sleep enhancer. Some people find the effects of supplemental melatonin and cannabis together to be pleasurable, more relaxing, and easier to fall asleep. Others find that they have more vivid dreams that are more likely to be lucid.
With all medicines, be careful with dosage and frequency. If you take more medical marijuana than you need, you may have difficulty waking from such deep sleep, and any dependence has risks.
As we advise all patients, start low, go slow, and gradually increase as needed to your minimum effective dose.
How To Access Medical Cannabis For Insomnia In Australia
Based on the available body of scientific literature, medical cannabis may help with insomnia by helping you fall asleep faster and staying asleep for longer .
However its clear that more research needs to be done and patients should discuss treatment with a qualified health professional.
Medical cannabis for insomnia is not a first line treatment in Australia so you need to have tried at least one conventional medication for insomnia to be eligible.
The best place to start is to speak with your doctor. If they are uncomfortable prescribing cannabis they can refer you to our clinic by filling out and sending back our referral form.
If your doctor is not willing to refer you or to discuss the matter you can also book in with one of our medical cannabis doctors who can help you get started.
Best Strains Of Medical Marijuana For Insomnia:
Now lets get to those strains! Here are some of the best strains that you can use for your insomnia treatment. These are strains that are rich in the terpenes that combat sleepless nights.
Just remember that dispensaries are business at the end of the day. One day they could have a product and the next they could be out. If youre looking for something specific, like these strains that treat insomnia, the best thing to do is to either check out the menu on their website or just give them a call and ask them.
If you are unable to find these specific strains, another thing you can do is have an open and honest conversation at the dispensary. Just let them know that youre dealing with insomnia and they will help point you in the right direction. You can even take this blog with you and see if there is anything similar or with the terpenes that will help!
Strains that will help treat insomnia:
This strain has a fresh blueberry-like aroma that will help you feel not only sleepy but also happy. It is rich in myrcene so you will feel a sedating effect that is relaxing and euphoric!
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Why You Should Try Medical Marijuana For Insomnia
You should consider trying medical marijuana if you are interested in using a natural sleep aid for your insomnia. The cannabis flowers or bud that are provided to medical marijuana patients undergo little to no processing, which makes it a great option for people who want to avoid lab-manufactured sleeping pills or sleep aids.
Some of the side effects associated with prescription medication can be severe and lead to serious health problems if they are used long term. In addition to this, many sleeping pills can be addictive and create dependence.
Using medical cannabis for insomnia may be safer compared to certain sleep medications. While this substance can be habit forming, it is far more difficult to consume a fatal quantity of cannabis compared to sleeping pills . However, the long-term effects of consuming cannabis are still being studied.
How To Talk To Your Physician About Medical Cannabis: 10 Points To Guide You
Living with chronic pain is challenging, especially when opioids may be less available. If you are wondering about other pain relief optionsincluding medical cannabishere’s a guide discussing alternatives with your doctor.
There are many ways to start a conversation with your doctor If you feel awkward bringing up the topic of medical marijuana.If you suffer from a chronic medical condition and have not found adequate relief from pain and other symptoms using traditional medicines, you may be thinking about trying medical cannabis as part of your treatment strategy.
A growing number of states have approved cannabis use for medicinal purposes to treat a host of serious and chronic medical needs from nerve pain to nausea and anxiety. According to proponents, medical cannabis can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, lessen nausea/improve appetite, control epileptic seizures and more. Also of note, in a Fall 2018 PPM online patient poll, about half of respondents said they had tried medical marijuana to help alleviate their pain or pain-related symptoms.
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Insomnia Prevalence In Australia
Almost 60% of Australias adult population suffers from at least one symptom of sleep deprivation. 14.8% have symptoms that could be diagnosed as chronic insomnia.
As reported by the Australian Sleep Health Foundation, these symptoms include trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking too early and not being able to get back to sleep.
What Does The Research Say About Cannabis
Also known as marijuana, thereâs growing interest in the health benefits of cannabis, specifically cannabis compounds. Two cannabinoids that get a lot of attention are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol . The compound in cannabis that makes you feel high. Human-made versions are used to ease nausea and vomiting from cancer treatment.
- Cannabidiol . A compound in cannabis said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure properties. It does not make you feel high.
Research results on cannabis and sleep are mixed. So far, there havenât been many controlled studies to show that THC, CBD, or a combination of both can boost sleep quality, says Bhanuprakash Kolla, MD. Heâs an associate professor of psychiatry and psychology and a consultant for Mayo Clinicâs Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, MN.
But some studies show promise. That includes a small one on dronabinol, a human-made version of medical THC. Early research shows it might help with obstructive sleep apnea. But âat this point, we do not recommend the use of cannabis products for treatment of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders,â Kolla says.
How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card For Insomnia In California
The fastest way to get a medical marijuana card in California for insomnia in California is through a doctors recommendation. The good news is that you can sign up online at HappyMD. It is voluntary to enroll in the state California Medical Marijuana Identification Card .Some of the requirements include:1. You need to have a qualifying chronic health condition 2. Be above 18 years and if you are minor, you need to have the consent of your parent.
Other qualifying conditions for you to get a medical marijuana card include: Arthritis
Two Types Of Insomnia
There are two types of insomnia, namely, primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia involves sleep disorders that are not directly associated with any other health conditions or problems, whereas secondary insomnia occurs when a person is having sleep problems because of other health conditions such as asthma, depression, arthritis, heartburn, and cancer. There are many causes of insomnia, some of which include emotional/physical discomfort, significant life stress, illnesses, interferences in normal sleep schedules as well as pain or discomfort at night.
Mild insomnia can be prevented or cured by practicing good sleeping habits, whereas sleeping pills may be prescribed for a limited time if the insomnia makes it impossible to effectively function during the day. However, to treat chronic insomnia, it is imperative to first of all treat the underlying health conditions that are causing the insomnia.
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My Experience That Night Ended In Misery
Before I went to bed that night, I took what I thought was a half dose. I didn’t feel particularly sleepy, but I was hopeful the tincture would help me stay asleep. I drifted off.
In the middle of the night, I woke up because the bed was tilting. I felt dizzy lying down. I had extreme cotton mouth there was not a drop of moisture between my lips. I was queasy. I felt just as bad when I got up as I did when I was lying down. There was nothing I could do to make the bad trip stop.
My saving grace that night was a story a friend had told me. She’d gone to a fancy dinner that came with a cannabis pairing. In the middle of the meal, she started to feel like she was falling down a deep well. She had to leave the dinner and she was a wreck the next day, but her only lasting ill effect was embarrassment.
As I lay in bed, queasy and off-balance, I thought, “This will pass.” I knew I just had to wait it out. I wasn’t going to die from a marijuana overdose.
I slept in fits and starts. By morning, I still felt pretty rotten, so I called in sick to work. By the end of the day, I didn’t feel ill anymore, just stupid.
How The Endocannabinoid System Affects Sleep
The Endocannabinoid System produces endogenous cannabinoids. Researchers have discovered that the ECS plays a huge role in our biological clocks, from sleep patterns to the circadian rhythm.
The cannabis plant contains Phyto cannabinoids that interact with our ECS in similar ways to our endogenous cannabinoids.
CBD and THC either sedate or alert the ECS. These actions are dose-dependent and point to the entourage effect a theory that cannabinoids are at their most potent when delivered in combination.
This dose-dependent efficacy probably explains conflicting results of human trials in which cannabis is used to treat insomnia.
The aromatic terpene compounds of pinene, myrcene, limonene and linalool are associated with improved sleep patterns as well as other therapeutic elements.
These terpenes are also engaged in the entourage effect. They can potentially act synergistically with cannabinoids to improve symptoms such as insomnia.
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Does Marijuana Affect Your Sleep Quality
In addition to helping you fall asleep faster, marijuana may alter your sleep architecture, a term that describes how long you spend in the different sleep stages. Short-term cannabis use appears to increase the time you spend in deep sleep, the stage that helps you wake up feeling refreshed. However, THC decreases the amount of time you spend in rapid eye movement sleep, when you spend more time dreaming, processing emotions, and cementing new memories.
Decreasing REM sleep may have some benefits for people with PTSD, since nightmares are a common and disturbing symptom. A study on women with PTSD found that those with more severe PTSD symptoms and poor sleep were more likely to use cannabis to help them cope. One study found that synthetic forms of cannabis significantly decreased nightmares, or stopped them completely, for people with PTSD. Some participants in this study also reported experiencing better overall sleep quality and fewer daytime flashbacks.
Research On Cannabis For Insomnia Is Growing
People have been using cannabis for centuries to help them go to sleep. But it has only been in recent years that anecdotal evidence has sparked research curiosity.
Today we see an increasing number of clinical trials being conducted in various countries into the efficacy of cannabis to treat sleep disorder.
Researchers from the University of Western Australia Centre for Sleep Science tested a cannabis-based extract on 23 chronic insomnia patients. They received either the formulation or a placebo over 14 nights.
The researchers found that the cannabis-based formulation produced significantly higher levels of improved sleep patterns for insomnia than the placebo.
Basing their results on the widely-recognised Insomnia Severity Index , 36% of the participants who received the highest dose levels displayed a significant improvement in quality of sleep.
They also experienced feelings of waking up more rested and displayed improvements to fatigue, stress and social functioning.
The research was led by Professor Peter Eastwood who said he was impressed by the overall responsive improvements across a range of key insomnia indices.
Professor Eastwood said positive patient experiences showed minimal side-effects to the cannabis-based formulation.
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It Helps Regulate Sleep Quality
Not only can magnesium help you get to sleep, but it plays a part in helping you achieve deep and restful sleep as well.
In one study, older adults were given 500 mg of magnesium or a placebo. Overall, the magnesium group had better quality of sleep.
This group also exhibited higher levels of renin and melatonin, two hormones that help regulate sleep .
These results were bolstered by another study that gave elderly adults with insomnia a supplement containing 225 mg magnesium, 5 mg melatonin and 11.25 mg zinc.
The participants of this second study also had better sleep compared to the placebo group, although its hard to attribute the effect to magnesium since the supplement additionally contained zinc and melatonin .
Yet another study found that creating a magnesium deficiency in mice resulted in sleep patterns that were light and restless .
This is partially due to this minerals influence on the nervous system. It blocks more excitable molecules from binding to neurons, resulting in a calmer nervous system.
However, since the current research has only studied magnesium supplements among older adults with insomnia, its not clear whether younger adults would benefit as well.
Magnesium acts upon the nervous system and contributes to deep, restful sleep. Several studies have confirmed this effect in older adults.
What Are The Benefits Of Medical Marijuana
A 2014 study published by the Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health highlighted pain management as a potential benefit of medical marijuana. Participants in the study reported a 64 percent decrease in pain while using marijuana. Many also experienced a decrease in anxiety and better sleep while using the drug.
Other potential benefits include relief from:
- involuntary movements associated with movement disorders
- nausea, particularly from chemotherapy
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How To Get And Use Medical Marijuana For Pain And Related Symptoms
Step 1: Get a Doctors Order
The first step in consuming medical marijuana will be getting a recommendation from your doctor. Because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, doctors give recommendations or orders but are not legally permitted to give prescriptions. You can find state-by-state information regarding what conditions qualify for medical marijuana.
Step 2: Pick Your Passion
Next, youll need to decide what form you want to use each type will dictate your experience with it.10 Consumption methods can change the percentage of active compounds your body absorbs, the time it takes to feel the effects of marijuana, and the duration of those effects. There are three main ways to consume cannabis:
- inhalation vaping with a vaporizer or smoking
- edibles gummies, brownies, and other snacks tinctures and oils that dissolve under the tongue fall into this category too
- topicals creams, ointments, salves applied directly to your skin
Below is a quick overview of each.
Traditional Treatments For Depression
Treatment of depression is unique to you and the severity of your case. Its possible to successfully manage and treat mild, moderate, and severe depression.
Mild depression may respond well to psychosocial treatments, such as psychotherapy . Drugs usually arent recommended as a treatment for mild cases of depression.
Psychological treatments, such as behavioral or interpersonal psychotherapy, are also a good first step for people who have moderate to severe depression.
Antidepressants are another tool some doctors use for more severe depression cases. Examples include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants. Drugs can carry potential side effects and should only be used under a doctors supervision. Antidepressants must be used with caution in children and teenagers with depression.
Can Marijuana Help Migraines
Most people do not know much about marijuana and migraines. There is so much research that has yet to be done due to marijuana being federally illegal. Once federal funding is given to some of these studies, we might be able to find more health conditions this plant can help address.
A recent study done in 2020 by the Journal of Integrated Medicine showed that over 90 percent of sufferers found relief within 2 hours of consuming marijuana.
A study that was put into place by an app Migraine Buddy in Canada took a look at 10,000 people. Over 80 percent of these people found that medical marijuana helped reduce the frequency and severity of their migraines.