Marijuana to Help Sleep

Can medical marijuana help insomnia?

* There are studies out there to support the claim that those who use marijuana in the evenings tend to report a good night’s sleep. And, there is little doubt that poor sleep patterns can have a negative effect on your life as a whole; not only does it lead to poor health and many minor ailments (which when experienced all at the same time can have the same effect as a major medical condition), but it also leads to poor productivity and time lost from work.

* In worst case scenarios, of course, lack of sleep can be fatal, in that poor concentration when driving or operating machinery leads to operator mistakes. Though I am not advocating the use of marijuana as a first line of defense to help aid in sleepless nights, there are certain elements of marijuana that have shown to have medical significance in helping those suffering from insomnia and healthy REM sleep cycles.

* 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: “Pot Helps Cancer Patients Sleep and Enjoy Food.” The first thing to remember when looking for a marijuana strain to help one sleep is that sativa-based strains tend to give you a high — the last thing you want when you have sleep problems. Indica-based strains, on the other hand, are great for relaxation, stress relief, and for an overall sense of calm and serenity.

* The two basic cannabis strains are Indica and Sativa. The majority of medical cannabis today is a hybrid that contains characteristics of both Indica and Sativa strains with one or the other being dominant. An Indica-dominant hybrid could be used for pain relief and have a Sativa strain that can help with a person’s energy level, whereas a Sativa-dominant hybrid could be used to stimulate a person’s appetite and have an Indica strain that can help with pain relief. Since relaxation, getting to sleep, and easing other sleep disorders is a priority, for aid in sleeping, one would want an Indica-dominant hybrid.

* The two medical components of cannabis for sleep to be assessed are Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). In the most basic terms, THC is the high and CBD in the medical component that relieves nausea, inflammation, and anxiety. An Indica dominant hybrid will be lower in THC but higher in CBD. The effects are a couch-locking, body buzz that is a heavier, sleepy high.

* The addictive properties of marijuana make using pot to help ones sleep a slippery slope. Many of us recovering addicts will advocate that getting a good night’s sleep is a crucial part of our ability to maintain our sobriety. Sleep gives us energy to deal with the everyday nuances of life and, without getting a night’s rest, we are often more irritable, bothersome, and more likely to prevent ourselves from doing important things like going to meetings or taking an active participatory role in our sobriety. Do not underestimate the importance of your sleep cycle and discuss your sleeping problems and available options with your psychiatrist if they continue to persist and interfere with your daily life.