Can You Use CBD Oil to Restore Your Natural Sleep Cycle?

Alexander

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Mar 28, 2019
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Sleep is essential for maintaining our mental and physical health, yet it eludes many adults.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 50 to 70 million adults experience symptoms of a sleep disorder. About 30 to 40 percent of the population will experience insomnia at some point in their lives, and about 10 to 15 percent of adults will deal with chronic insomnia.
So if getting shut-eye is becoming harder and harder, you’re not alone.

With so many people experiencing sleeping disorders, there’s been a rise of interest in one controversial cure: CBD Oil. Many in the medical marijuana community refer to cannabis as an effective treatment, with little to no side effects, for a range of sleeping disorders.

“Marijuana is an effective sleep aid because it restores a person’s natural sleep cycle, which so often falls out of sync with our schedules in today’s modern lifestyle,” says Dr. Matt Roman, a medical marijuana physician.

Whether you have a sleep disorder or you’re having difficulty sleeping after a stressful day, cannabis might be a choice for you. Marijuana’s analgesic properties might provide some relief for those with chronic pain, while the anti-anxiety properties can soothe a stressed out mind and body.

There are different strains of marijuana. Some are more energizing, and some are calming and sedating depending on the balance of the different cannabinoids.

First, here’s a quick primer on the science behind marijuana. This herb works because it contains different cannabinoids, two of which you’ll see most often:
  • Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has a number of health benefits, and is nonpsychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause you to feel “high.”
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid, is primarily responsible for that “high” feeling.
Something else THC is responsible for? Inducing sleep Trusted Source. So you’ll want a strain that contains more THC than CBD.
According to a 2008 study Trusted Source, ingesting marijuana strains with higher levels of THC typically reduces the amount of REM sleep you get. Reducing REM sleep means reducing dreams — and for those who experience PTSD, it could mean reducing nightmares.
So the theory is that if you spend less time dreaming, you’ll spend more time in a “deep sleep” state. The deep sleep state is thought to be the most restorative, restful part of the sleep cycle.

Still, REM is important for healthy cognitive and immune functioning, and marijuana with higher THC levels could impair your sleep quality if taken long term. But this isn’t true across the board. Some studies have found that sleep can actually be impaired by regular use of marijuana. It’s clear that marijuana changes sleep cycles.

Long-term use of any sleep aid isn’t recommended. Please use marijuana responsibly. As with all forms of smoking, your risk of COPD can increase. Smoking marijuana is hazardous to the lungs, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions. The use of marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding isn’t recommended.

Indica vs. sativa vs. hybrid

If you’ve spoken to your doctor, and they’ve approved the use of marijuana to treat your insomnia, it’s time to choose a strain.
Think of choosing a strain like choosing a tea blend. You could go for straight white or black tea, or a hybrid. Here are the three most common kinds of strains you’ll encounter:
  • Indica. This type of strain is considered soothing and relaxing.
  • Sativa. Generally, sativa strains make people feel excited, happy, and energized.
  • Hybrids. A combination of both indica and sativa, hybrids are blends that are often left up to the manufacturer or dispensary.
You can always ask people at a dispensary to recommend a strain for you or to help you find what you’re looking for.
Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard-trained physician and cannabis therapeutics specialist, recommends a strain with less than 20 percent THC. Anything more than that, he says, will make dosing difficult. Too much THC might make you feel groggy and sleepy the next morning.
Different strains will also have different amounts of cannabinoids in them, but when it comes to getting sleep, both Roman and Tishler recommend an indica strain to induce sleep.

Of course, not all sleep aids work for everyone the same way. Marijuana is no different. “People with recent heart attacks or poor cardiovascular health should refrain from cannabis use due to increased incidence of myocardial infarction,” warns Roman.
Also, while cannabis is often used to reduce anxiety, some people find that high-THC strains make them more anxious or paranoid.
If you’re one of these people, experiment with different strains, or let your dispensary know when you’re choosing your strains. You might find that a different strain can induce sleep without heightening your anxiety.
More research on marijuana is coming, and this herb — which is legal in some states and still illegal in others — has many different medicinal effects that may work as effectively as other medications, and with much fewer side effects.
While there’s sleep disorder research associated with alcohol, there needs to be a better understanding of the effects of marijuana on sleep and health.
Using marijuana to help you sleep is a short-term fix, however. To sleep restfully, you’ll want to practice good sleep hygiene and incorporate other behaviors that support a lifestyle that promotes good sleep.