Sleep is one of the body’s most important natural functions. While some people are able to effortlessly get a good night’s rest, many live with sleep disorders that have symptoms extending far beyond simply feeling tired.
The science of sleep is very much an evolving field, but current research indicates that medicinal cannabis may be a crucial tool for helping patients treat a variety of sleep conditions. We’ve rounded up five of the most common sleep disorders that can be treated with cannabis.
1. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common condition in which your breathing is interrupted for 10-30 seconds at a time. As you might imagine, this can have a profound impact on the quality of your sleep, your body’s oxygen flow and your cognitive ability in day to day life. The good news is that cannabis may be able to help. In a study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, investigators used a synthetic medical cannabis product to treat sleep apnea patients. They found the medicine was able to significantly reduce sleep apnea in the short term with no negative effects on the patient’s sleep architecture.
About 4 in 10 Canadians have at least one symptom of insomnia, according to figures collated in a study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Medicinal cannabis could be the key to reducing this statistic. In a recent review from Palo Alto University and the National Center for PTSD, researchers concluded that “cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia” and “tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may decrease sleep latency”, though they noted the latter could potentially affect sleep quality in the long term.
3. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is a rarely talked about condition that makes you act out your dreams while you sleep. People with REM sleep behavior disorder may move their limbs, get out of bed or even hold a conversation – all while sleeping. Could cannabis have a role to play in treating this unique disorder? Probably, according to researchers at the University of São Paulo. Investigators found that treating patients with CBD quickly resulted in reduced frequency of REM sleep behavior disorder symptoms without any major side effects, suggesting that CBD may be an effective treatment.
Hypersomnolence is a sleep disorder in which you feel very sleepy during the day. People with hypersomnolence are inclined to take a nap regardless of their environment and gain no relief from symptoms even after taking a siesta or a lengthy nighttime sleep. It’s possible that people living with hypersomnolence could find relief in cannabis, thanks to the fact that some strains of medical cannabis are known to boost alertness, stimulate the mind and regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
5. Restless Leg Syndrome
As the name implies, restless syndrome is a disorder that manifests as an irresistible urge to move your legs. This sensation is usually heightened when you’re sitting or lying down, and as a result restless leg syndrome can be incredibly detrimental when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. There’s a notable lack of research into the effects of cannabis on restless syndrome, but the few studies that do exist show promising results. For example, in an investigation published in Sleep Medicine, researchers found that medical cannabis completely resolved restless leg syndrome in six patients. More research needed is to fully understand how these miracle recoveries were possible, but it’s clear that cannabis was the medicine responsible.
Treat Sleep Issues with Cannabis
Canabo Medical Inc. has identified a few strains of cannabis that work well for treating sleep issues. The company has recently launched an online self-referral program for individuals with sleep issues.
Each patient is unique and should be assessed by one of Canabo’s Cannabinoid Specialists to get the correct strains and amount of cannabis.
By: Jareth Trigwell