Cannabis and Sleep: Can THC and CBD Stop You from Counting Sheep?

It’s estimated that 33 to 50 percent of adults experience some form of sleeplessness every year. And, the outcomes of poor sleep aren’t solved with strong coffee, no matter how many cups you drink.

Sleep is incredibly important. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a day, or we risk a lot of side effects. When we sleep, our brain slows down and can undergo a ‘recovery’ process that allows better mental performance the next day. Our body also takes this opportunity to rest and repair cells, muscles, and tissues. It’s a surprisingly complex process, and dreams also play a part in our brain recovery and is essential to our wellbeing.

As a result, if we don’t get enough sleep, it can be catastrophic. The outcomes or insomnia or poor sleep include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Lack of coordination
  • Increased stress and more cortisol in the body
  • Higher blood sugar levels
  • Disrupted hormones
  • Changes in metabolism
  • Chronic sleep deprivation also increases the likelihood of health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease

Over time, quality of life drops, performance at work or at home, there’s links between mental illness and sleep problems, and there’s higher risk of accident or injury. Sleep and illness and often bi-directional, meaning that that poor sleep causes more symptoms of the illness, while a symptom of the illness is poor sleep.

Added to the problem is that conventional sleeping medications are often addictive, and result in a ‘hangover’ which leaves the user drowsy upon waking. There are often other unpleasant side effects such as a metallic taste in the mouth, and headaches.

What Causes Insomnia and Sleeplessness?

There are a huge variety of causes of insomnia.

  • External factors such as children, noisy environments, too hot or cold
  • Some medications
  • Use of alcohol, caffeine or nicotine
  • Chronic pain
  • Mental illness
  • Stress
  • Shift work or irregular sleep patterns
  • Over-stimulation of the brain and too much use of electronic devices
  • Napping during the day/ sleeping in
  • Diet, such as spicy foods or large meals

There are also different types of insomnia, with some people struggling to fall asleep, while others wake up at night and cannot fall asleep again. There is also non restful sleep, where sleep cycles are disrupted and dream cycles aren’t operating as they should be.

The good news is that for many people, medicinal cannabis can help people get to sleep, stay asleep, and promote more restful sleep.

How Does Cannabis Help with Sleep?

It’s theorized that CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system. This system is involved with a huge variety of different functions in the body, which is why cannabis seems so effective for so many different insomnia causes.

Physical Pain and Illness

There are many people who suffer debilitating pain every day. Pain makes it incredibly difficult to sleep, and then the resulting tiredness increases pain.

Multiple studies are finding that CBD and THC can help to reduce pain, which better facilitates sleep. Combined with the relaxation and sedative effects of THC, it is the perfect non-addictive solution, with no ‘hangover’.

Restless Leg Syndrome

RLS is frustrating to treat because the cause is not truly understood. It’s implicated in a number of illnesses, from depression to fibromyalgia, and it’s very nonspecific. However, it can be exceptionally frustrating when you’re trying to sleep, and your legs want to run a marathon.

Cannabis use has resulted in complete remission of restless leg syndrome symptoms.

Anxiety and Stress

Insomnia can worsen anxiety and mood disorders. There’s a level of comorbidity between insomnia and depression, which increases the risk of suicide.

Recent studies are showing promise in treating sleeping problems due to anxiety with CBD. Using CBD resulted in lowered anxiety and improved sleep. CBD has been shown to help people feel calmer, reduce cortisol levels, and increase the quality of sleep.

What About Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces to help regulate sleep cycles. There are dietary supplements that are marketed as a sleep aid. However, there is not much evidence that it helps with insomnia, although there is a possibility it may help with jetlag recovery and delayed sleep-wake phase disorder.

Wont THC Give Me Crazy Dreams?

The short answer is, no. It actually seems to decrease REM sleep, which is part of the reason that THC is such an effective treatment for PTSD. Sometimes, CBD users report vivid dreams, which is why a combination of THC and CBD are often used to treat sleep disorders and insomnia.

There’s a lot of research about CBD and THC for specific diseases, where improvements in sleep are a by-product of treatment rather than the intention of the study. There are more studies planned for the future that focus on CBD and THC improving the quality of sleep and helping people to get to sleep faster.

Could CBD and THC Help You Sleep?

Whether you need to manage your sleep in order to help resolve longer term health problems such as depression and pain, or you need to get your sleep back into a routine, we can help.

While THC has a sedative effect, for some people it can act as a stimulant. Research also shows that CBD may create alertness at lower doses, so finding a solution that works for individuals may take time and different ratios. This is why we suggest making an appointment to speak to us. We can prescribe an effective solution for your specific needs, so you can start sleeping peacefully again.

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