Insomnia and Medical Cannabis Treatment
Insomnia, trouble falling asleep and staying dormant, is both acute and chronic. While some sufferers only experience sleep disorder for short periods, others may live a poor-quality-of life due to their constant insomnia. Sleep is necessary, giving the body and brain a time to recharge for the next 24 hours.
If someone does not fall into the stages of unconsciousness as intended, it can become dangerous. The Sleep Foundation reports that “not surprisingly,” parents have insomnia more than adults without children. After parents, individuals ages 18 to 29 years old suffer the most from the sleeping disorder. While there are several treatments for insomnia, some sufferers do not respond well to them. They take heavy sleeping medications, including Ambien, which according to the American Addictions Center, is highly dangerous, potentially causing blackouts, hallucinations, and other adverse side effects.
Calling a good sleep an elusive luxury, highly notable periodical Psychology Today points out the positive side effects of medical cannabis for insomniacs, prefacing their report detailing how little information and treatment is available on the sleep disorder. “A drug that can produce a normal sleep pattern does not currently exist. Worse, our current medications show tolerance with repeated use that requires us to take higher and higher doses,” reports Psychology Today.
Insomnia Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
Unlike other conditions, insomnia can be caused by lifestyle choices or it can be a primary disorder, according to MedlinePlus, the U.S. National Library of Medicine journal. Risks for sleeping disorders include high stress, low income, divorce, death of a loved one, and other significant life difficulties. Tobacco, caffeine, and alcoholism also directly affect sleeping patterns, potentially causing insomnia.
Along with the most apparent symptom of staying awake all night, insomnia shows other signs. When an insomniac finally falls asleep, they can only remain dormant for a couple of hours, never fully resting, and always left feeling as if they didn’t sleep at all by the a.m. Along with controllable lifestyle choices like ceasing smoking and drinking caffeine and alcohol, other treatments for insomnia include prescription medication, often notably addicting and dangerous.
How Cannabinoids Might Benefit Patients With Insomnia
U.S. News & World Report released a June 2020 report, “Medical Pot May Help Many Battle Insomnia, Pain, and Stress,” providing both sides of the issue. While admitting that the Food and Drug Administration (DEA) approved a purified, pharmaceutical-grade CBD Epidoloex, it still considers cannabis a schedule 1 drug; some doctors even deny its benefits. Still, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago Professor Richard Miller cannot, stating, “cannabis clearly does have some medicinal use,” for insomnia and pain.
“Overall, the study found, cannabis users scored a little lower on standard scales rating pain severity and anxiety and depression,” according to U.S. News & World Report. “They also reported better sleep quality.”
While Miller and his peers admit to many answered medical cannabis questions, studies including the 2019 Permanente Journal show medical cannabis can help insomniacs sleep in a study of 72 adults in the report “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.”
The study results revealed “anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration,” and “sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time. In this chart review, CBD was well tolerated in all but 3 patients.”
Personal testimony, clinical trials, and ongoing research show that medical cannabis alleviates insomnia; it eases anxiety, a side effect of the condition. Surely further studies will show more benefits.