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Marijuana Treats Insomnia and Sleep Disorders

Treating Insomnia & Sleep Disorders With Marijuana

Many are aware of the sleep-inducing effect of marijuana and research shows that THC is largely responsible. In fact, trials conducted in the 1970s found that oral doses of THC helped both healthy individuals and insomniacs fall asleep faster.
The earliest record of marijuana as a sleep aid comes from ancient Indian medicine. However, medical marijuana only made its way into Western medicine in the 19th century, when Dr. William B. O’Shaugnessy returned from India with cannabis and encouraged doctors to prescribe it for many ailments, including sleep.

Improve Your Sleep With THC

Interestingly, more recent studies suggest THC may also improve nighttime breathing and reduce sleep interruptions in those who suffer from a common disorder known as  Sleep Apnea. Evidence of use of weed as a sleep aid is rooted in ancient Indian records. For people suffering from serious nightmares, especially those associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this can be helpful.  Insomnia is a common sleep disorder, defined as having difficulty falling or staying asleep. Insomnia can be a symptom of a variety of conditions and is not normally considered a condition on its own. Approximately 40% of adults with insomnia also suffer from a mental disorder – most commonly depression, many of whom turn to sleeping pills for relief. In fact, research shows that over 95% of diagnosed cases of insomnia are treated with sleep medications. While certain sleep medications may be effective in managing insomnia, they also subject users to a wide range of side effects, including the risk of death. Many patients report that marijuana is quite effective in relieving their symptoms of insomnia. Patients commonly say that marijuana provides relief of their insomnia better than pharmaceutical medications with significantly fewer side effects. Marijuana is also  effective in treating associated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain.

Cannabinoids & Endocannabinoid’s

This is because chemicals in marijuana, known as cannabinoids actually mimic activity of chemicals naturally found in the brain, endocannabinoid’s,  the endocannabinoid system which is responsible for regulating sleep,  among other things. Likewise, research shows that these chemicals have a direct impact on sleep.

How can Marijuana help with Insomnia? A recent study, undertaken at Alberta University in Canada, was designed to investigate the effects of THC on appetite, specifically on the appetite of cancer patients. An unexpected finding of the study, however, was that the patients receiving THC also slept better than the control group. In fact, the study was published with the headline:

Weed Helps Cancer Patients Sleep and Enjoy Food

You need a marijuana strain that will helps you sleep, Sativa’s get you high and that’s not exactly helpful in sleep. On the other hand, relaxation, stress relief, and for an overall sense of calm and serenity, as I said, Indica strains must be used, avoid Sativa strains.

Overall, THC was found to be more effective in helping patients fall asleep once they got into bed. The study also showed that THC could decrease the number of sleep interruptions that insomniacs experience, but only during the early part of the night. THC also seemed to increase the amount of time that patients spent sleeping – higher doses of THC were correlated with longer periods of sleep.

Cannabidiol Has Many Positive Effects On The Body

Interestingly, cannabidiol (CBD) may also offer benefits to patients with insomnia, but without the psychoactive effects that THC is known for. A study published in 1981 involving 15 insomnia patients showed that 160mg doses of CBD led to an increase in the amount of time spent sleeping compared to placebo. The patients that received CBD also experienced less dream recall, suggesting that CBD might also affect REM sleep in the same way.

The U.S. is slowly and steadily moving towards legalizing marijuana in all fifty states. Almost half have already legalized medical marijuana; more are on their way. Several states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, and some have given the nod to retail outlets selling marijuana. These moves, whether brought about through the ballot box or via state legislatures, have unleashed intense public debate on the use and abuse of marijuana and the feasibility of legalizing a potentially addictive substance.

5 Stages Of Sleep

There are five stages of sleep: four NREM (non-rapid eye movement) stages marked from 1 to 4 and a fifth stage called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that is associated with dreaming. Stages 3 and 4 represent deep, slow-wave states of sleep, where the brain switches off almost completely and the heart rate and breathing decrease considerably. These states are restorative and refreshing. The four NREM and the REM stages occur in cycles throughout the period of sleep.

Marijuana And The REM Cycle

According to several studies, marijuana has been found to both induce sleep and increase the duration of Stage 4 sleep. These effects improve the overall quality of sleep in an individual.
Marijuana has been found to decrease the length of the REM cycle of sleep by increasing the duration of the slow-wave stages of sleep. The brain is active during the REM cycle, so a person dreams. On the other hand, the slow-wave stages are dreamless states. So when a person sleeps deeply, he dreams less.

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References and studies

Bolla KI, Lesage SR, Gamaldo CE, Neubauer DN, Funderburk FR, Cadet JL, DavidPM, Verdejo-Garcia A, & Benbrook AR (2008). Sleep disturbance in heavy marijuana users. Sleep, 31 (6), 901-8 PMID: 1854883Bon-Miller MO, Babson KA, & Vandrey R (2014). Using cannabis to help you sleep: heightened frequency of medical cannabis use among those with PTSD.

Drug and alcohol dependence, 136, 162-5 PMID: 24412475
Bonn-Miller, M., & Moos, R. (2009). Marijuana discontinuation, anxiety symptoms, and relapse to marijuana Addictive Behaviors, 3 (9), 782-785 DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.04.009

Cohen-Zion, M., Drummond, S., Padula, C., Winward, J., Kanady, J., Medina, K., & Tapert, S. (2009). Sleep architecture in adolescent marijuana and alcohol users during acute and extended abstinence Addictive Behaviors, 34(11), 976-979 DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.05.011
Russo, E., Guy, G., & Robson, P. (2007). Cannabis, Pain, and Sleep: Lessons from Therapeutic Clinical Trials of Sativex®, a annabis-Based MedicineChemistry & Biodiversity, 4 (8), 1729-1743 DOI: 10.1002/cbdv.200790150
Schierenbeck, T., Riemann, D., Berger, M., & Hornyak, M. (2008). Effect of illicit recreational drugs upon sleep: Cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana Slee Medicine Reviews, 12 (5), 381-389 DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2007.12.004

Medical Conditions that Cannabis is Beneficial

Medical Conditions that Cannabis is Beneficial

What exactly are specific conditions for which cannabis can be beneficial? When did the use of cannabis for medical purposes started? These questions probably linger in your mind for you are not sure as to how medical cannabinoids can help treat illness and alleviate pain. In this chapter, you can learn about a bit of cannabis’ medical use history and what specific medical conditions exactly it can help.

Medical Cannabis: A Brief History

There medical use of marijuana is not pretty recent. Its use for medical purposes actually dates back to thousand years ago as early as 2737 B.C. The first recorded use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was when Emperor Shen Neng of China drank cannabis tea in order to treat such illnesses as gout, malaria, rheumatism and even poor memory as they say.

The Emperor, who was also a pharmacologist, even wrote a book as to how cannabis can be used which includes treatment methods as well as medical benefits for which cannabis can be used for. Cannabis was actually one of the 50 fundamental medicinal herbs that are used by the Chinese.

Since then, the use of cannabis spread throughout Asia to Middle East, India and Africa. In India, Hindu sects were known for using cannabis to relieve stress and pain. In Egypt, it was recorded that cannabis was used by Egyptians in suppositories so as to relieve the pain that comes with hemorrhoids.

On the other hand, Indian doctors also recognized its medicinal effects and psychoactive properties for which they use cannabis in order to alleviate symptoms and treat diseases that include headaches, insomnia, all sorts of pain including that of childbirth as well as gastrointestinal disorders.

The Greeks were known to have used cannabis in dressing wounds and sores on horses. On the other hand, dried leaves of cannabis were used by Greeks to treat nose bleeds in humans while marijuana seeds were used for expelling tapeworms.

In medieval Islam, there were said to be Arabic physicians who used the analgesic, inflammatory, antipyretic and diuretic as well as many other properties of cannabis sativa for medical purposes from the 8th to 18th centuries. With that, cannabis is an apparent medicinal herb that has been used extensively across Asia and in other countries.

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Modern Usage of Marijuana

It was an Irish physician who was recognized to be the first to introduce the medicinal and therapeutic effects of marijuana in western medicine. The Irish doctor was William Brooke O’Shaughnessy who recommended marijuana for treatment of mainly of general pain, stomach cramps and muscle spasms.

It was then in 1064 that Manley West and Albert Lockhart began to study the health effects of cannabis as it was used in Jamaican communities. It was them who had successfully developed one of the first extracts of cannabis which was the pharmaceutical ‘Canasol’. Canasol gained permission to be marketed in 1987. By 1970s, a version of tetrahydrocannabinol was produced synthetically and was approved by the United States for use as the drug called Marinol.

Recently, there are two main type of marijuana strain that is used for alleviating symptoms and treating diseases. These two are the CBD and THC, both being used for alleviating pain and inflammation while the CBD is credited for not having any effect to the mind or behavior. As such, it is believed to possibly cure mental illnesses.

Continuous research are being held to find more possible uses for which CBD and TCH can be beneficial and to find for other medicinal marijuana who can be used for medical purposes. In relation to that, there are some recent studies on animals showing that marijuana may be able to help kill cancer cells or perhaps reduce its size.

 

Medical Conditions for which Marijuana can be Beneficial

Here are some specific conditions for which marijuana can be beneficial. There are quite plenty of potential beneficial effects that marijuana can provide but with the risks that come with it, the FDA does not approve of the use of marijuana. However, there are already many States in the US as well as in Canada for which Marijuana is legalized.

Medical cannabis, specifically the cannabinoids can be served as appetite stimulants, antispasmodics or antiemetics. It is also noted for its analgesic effects and in alleviating non-cancerous pains, vomiting or nausea. It can also be used in aiding the treatment for AIDS patients.

  • Nausea and Vomiting

Medicinal cannabis is known to be somewhat effective when it comes to nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. As such, marijuana has become a reasonable option for patients that do not improve following common treatments. After some comparative studies, it is found that cannabis is actually more than effective than the common antiemetics.

However, it is noted that medical cannabis is not used frequently due to side effects that include hallucinations, dizziness and dysphoria. Less common side effects of medical cannabis include vagueness, lightheadedness, muscle twitching, hallucinations, dry mouth, pruritis, etc..

  • Pain

Cannabis is also known to be effective in treatment of pain, even including pain that is caused by neuropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. Although it is unclear if the benefits of cannabis can be greater than its risks, it is believed that it is generally safe for pain treatment. There are also some limited evidences that are found that cannabis was efficient in treatment of non-cancerous pain.

  • AIDS or HIV

It is believed that medical cannabis is effective in aid of treatment of AIDS and HIV, but evidence is lacking to this purpose. There is simply biased and small sample sized data regarding to cannabis’ effects in HIV/ AIDS treatment. As such, there isn’t any conclusive data to say so that cannabis is beneficial to this effect.

  • Appetite Stimulation

Another well known effect of marijuana is stimulation of appetite. The effect is known for the term “munchies” as it is has been used for improving the appetite of patients who have suppressed appetite due partly to medical treatment or condition.

  • Neurological Problems

It is very clear as to how marijuana can be beneficial to certain neurological problems such as movement problems, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. The studies aiming to establish results have varying results but cannabis trial treatment seems to be a reasonable option for those whose other treatments are not very effective.

Other medical uses that marijuana has been touted include treatment of glaucoma where the elevated pressure behind the eye can lead to blindness. While smoking marijuana can reduce the intraocular pressure, it has to be smoked several times a day to be effective, that according to the American Cancer Society.

Side Effects of Marijuana

There may be benefits to marijuana, but there are also side effects. There are some studies that have produced some conflicting results on the subject about marijuana carrying significant cancer risk. On the other hand, THC is known to bind in cannabinoid receptors which are mainly concentrated in the areas of the brain associated to memory, pleasure, time perception, coordination, etc. With that being said, the effects of marijuana can possibly interfere with the user’s balance, attention and judgment.

The typical side effects of marijuana are usually not serious. They can be dizziness, tiredness and some psychoactive effects. On some cases, tolerance to these effects happens within a few days or weeks thus allowing for continued use. Withdrawal symptoms are a rare occurrence if administration of cannabis is strictly controlled but still possible.

One should know as well that with taking medical marijuana, operating machinery as well as driving vehicle can be impaired until a tolerance is developed. For that reason, even when users of marijuana says that it is safe, there is a need for further research to establish their claim. That is also why prescriptions for medical cannabis are labeled as recommendations, not to mention there are certain federal laws that prohibit the prescription of marijuana for medical purposes.

If your medical condition or treatment deems that you use medical marijuana for treatment or to aid your cure, you must first learn the risks that come with it. If you are willing to go through these risks for possible cure and if your physician recommends it, then medical cannabis must just be what you need.