Sleep apnea is a medical disorder characterized by frequent interruptions in breathing of up to ten seconds or more during sleep. The condition is associated with numerous physiological disorders, including fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and stroke. Though sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, it is estimated that approximately four percent of men and two percent of women ages 30 to 60 years old suffer from the disease.
Limited data shows that cannabinoids may hold promise in addressing sleep apnea. Writing in the June 2002 issue of the journal of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, researchers at the University of Illinois (at Chicago) Department of Medicine reported “potent suppression” of sleep-related apnea in rats administered either exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids. Another animal trial reported that injected doses of synthetic THC mitigates apnea and augments upper airway muscles in rats.
In a clinical settings, the administration of dronabinol mitigates apnea in adults. Writing in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry in 2013, investigators concluded that THC administration significantly mitigated symptoms of the disorder in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea over a three-week period. “Dronabinol treatment may be a viable alternative or adjunctive therapy in selected patients with OSA,” authors concluded.
A 2017 clinical trial of 73 subjects with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea reported that the administration of dronabinol prior to bedtime reduced symptom severity and improved subjective sleepiness.
A 2017 review of the literature concludes: “Novel studies investigating cannabinoids and obstructive sleep apnea suggest that synthetic cannabinoids such as nabilone and dronabinol may have short-term benefit for sleep apnea due to their modulatory effects on serotonin-mediated apneas. CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness, while nabilone may reduce nightmares associated with PTSD and may improve sleep among patients with chronic pain. Research on cannabis and sleep is in its infancy and has yielded mixed results. Additional controlled and longitudinal research is critical to advance our understanding of research and clinical implications.”
Medical Marijuana the Anwser to Sleeplessness in America! by UPG
Equal Medicine Organization – Medical Marijuana Rx Treats Sleep Disorder. There aren’t many people who are happy with their sleep: They get too little, they feel restless, they don’t wake up refreshed, they can’t stay asleep. In fact, most Americans admit to having erratic sleep patterns, especially through the work week. So what does lack of sleep actually do to the body? And if we can’t add more hours to our sleep, how can we make the sleep we do get better?
8 to 8.5 Hours of sleep per night adults generally require
1 in 3 Adults who have insomnia at some point in their lives
43%of Americans 13-64 say they rarely or never get good sleep on weeknights.
60% admit to suffering some sleep problem every night (snoring, waking constantly, feeling groggy in the morning).
15% of adults 19-64 say they sleep less than six hours on weeknights.
The Science of Sleep
Our bodies experience two types of sleep on a nightly basis: NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Since sleeping is a cycle, NREM occurs as we first fall asleep, with REM following about 90 minutes after and recurring about every 90 minutes.
NREM:75% of night
Stage 1: Light sleep, between sleep and wakefulness.
Stage 2: Onset of sleep, during which we become disengaged with surroundings. Breathing and heart rate are regulated and body temperature drops.
Stages 3 and 4: Breathing slows, muscles relax, tissue grows and repairs, energy is restored and hormones are released.
REM: 25% of night
Brain and body are energized, dreaming occurs, body becomes immobile and eyes dart back and forth.
How Sleep Deprivation Affects the Body
Lack of sleep or insomnia can have multiple negative effects on the human body. Here are some of the most common and dangerous:
It is estimated that fatigue due to sleeplessness is the cause of 100,000 car accidents every year.
Dulled cognitive processes
Sleep consolidates and affirms memories in your mind. Without it, people have a hard time retaining learned information from the day before.
- Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke
- 90% of those with insomnia also have other health conditions.
- Lack of sex drive
- For men especially, lack of sleep can contribute to lower testosterone levels.
In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, it was found that those with insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression.
- Premature skin aging
- The stress hormone cortisol is released in great amounts in those with insomnia. Cortisol can break down collagen in skin.
People who sleep less than six hours each day are 30% more likely to become obese than those who sleep seven to nine hours.
How to Sleep Better
Most of us could use help falling and staying asleep. Just a few daily changes could mean the difference between a restless night and a restful one.
- Set a regular bedtime and stick to it.
- Wake up at the same time every day; even on days off.
- If you really need to make up for lost sleep, opt for a short (30-minute) daytime nap. Don’t sleep in.
- Fight after-dinner drowsiness by remaining active at home before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine late in the day.
- Light sources suppress melatonin production. Try not to use a computer, TV, smartphone or tablet just before getting into bed.
Sleep Apnea and Marijuana Information: Treat Sleep Apnea With Cannabis
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Normal breathing starts again with a snort or choking sound. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly. However, not everyone whosnores has sleep apnea.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA): Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.
OSA and CSA cause similar symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- A feeling that sleep is not restful
- Disorientation upon waking
- Poor judgment
- Personality changes
For people with sleep apnea, the combination of disturbed sleep and oxygen starvation may lead to hypertension, heart disease and mood and memory problems.
Dysthymic Disorder and Marijuana Information: Treat Depression With Cannabis
Dysthymic Disorder is a mood disorder characterized by chronic mildly depressed or irritable mood that lasts for 2 years or more. It is less severe and has fewer symptoms than Major Depression. The symptoms of dysthymia are the same as those of major depression but fewer in number and not as intense.
- Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
- Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
- Major change in weight (gain or loss of more than 5% of weight within a month) or appetite
- Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
- Being physically restless or rundown in a way that is noticeable by others
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day
- Problems with concentration or making decisions almost every day
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt
A Patients Guide for using Medical Marijuana for Anxiety, Sleep, Depression and Mood Disorders
One of the most well-known effects of cannabis is a feeling of overall well-being or happiness. Medical professionals and researchers refer to this effect as mood elevation, and know that it is caused by cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds in cannabis similar to those that the human body produces on its own when healthy. With certain conditions, such as anxiety, sleep, and mood disorders, the body may not produce these needed soothing agents. Medical marijuana can help replace these natural cannabinoids to relieve many of the symptoms common with depression, anxiety, sleep and mood disorders.
How Medical Marijuana Works for Anxiety, Sleep, Depression and Mood Disorders
It might seem strange that cannabis works across different anxiety, sleep, and mood disorders, since these conditions have many separate causes and symptoms that are not always related. One reason cannabis is effective is because it has 61 unique cannabinoids, each of which falls into one of eleven different groups that have different effects when used to treat conditions. This is why patients will see different strains of medical marijuana bred to have higher levels of specific cannabinoids. This specialization is based on years of deep scientific research.
- Therapies for major depression currently available have limited effectiveness, but research on cannabinoids shows that these compounds increase serotonin, an important mood controller, and even increases the generation of new brain cells (Endocannabinoids in the Treatment of Mood Disorders: Evidence from Animal Models, Rodriguez Bambico, F. et al.)
- Anxiety is a symptom of many psychiatric conditions, and recent research shows that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in modulating the feelings of fear that characterize anxiety. In particular, the CB1 receptor plays an important part, and can be activated to relieve feelings of anxiety with cannabinoids, either naturally produced or introduced into the body (such as with medical marijuana) (Modulation of Fear and Anxiety by the Endogenous Cannabinoid system, Chhatwal, J.P., and Ressler, K.J.)
- THC appears to be the primary cannabinoid contributing to feelings of sleepiness, while the cannabinoid CBD can cause feelings of wakefulness, suggesting that high-THC low-CBD strains of medical marijuana are best to overcome insomnia and sleeplessness (Effect of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on nocturnal sleep and early-morning behavior in young adults, Nicholson, A.N., et al.)
- Adult medical cannabis users report more feelings of depression, possibly brought on by the conditions contributing to their use of medical cannabis, but also report relief from symptoms of depression and more positive moods through using medical cannabis (Decreased depression in marijuana users, Denson, T.F., and Earleywine, M.)
Since the cannabinoids that relieve symptoms of anxiety, sleep, and mood disorders are present in virtually any form of medical marijuana, patients can find relief from their symptoms in a variety of ways, including:
- Inhaled medical marijuana, whether through commonly used marijuana cigarettes or specialized devices such as pipes and vaporizers
- In recipes as a food item or as an addition to drinks; this method works best in edibles that have a higher oil content, since cannabinoids are oil soluble
Anxiety, sleep, and mood disorders can be very disruptive to daily life, but so can many of the traditional treatments available for these conditions. Those suffering from these upsetting symptoms might be able to supplement treatment for their conditions with medical cannabis, and should discuss this option with a qualified medical marijuana doctor.
United Patients Group is dedicated to making sure patients can have access to medicine that helps reduce their pain and symptoms, listing dispensaries and medical marijuana resources to ease that process. Feel free to contact us with any questions or to share your story of how medical marijuana has helped you.
Sleeping Disorders Information: Sleep Disorders and Medical Marijuana Treatments
Is it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night? Do you wake up feeling tired or feel very sleepy during the day, even if you have had enough sleep? You might have a sleep disorder. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning.
There is a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding how medical marijuana or cannabis can be beneficial for treating Sleep Disorders.
The most common kinds of sleep disorders are
- Insomnia – a hard time falling or staying asleep
- Sleep apnea – breathing interruptions during sleep
- Restless legs syndrome – a tingling or prickly sensation in the legs
- Narcolepsy – daytime “sleep attacks”
Nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep talking, head banging, wetting the bed and grinding your teeth are kinds of sleep problems called parasomnias. There are treatments for most sleep disorders. Sometimes just having regular sleep habits can help.