Mar 31, 2016 5:36 AM

How can medical marijuana help with SLEEP APNEA?

Definition of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the sleep disorders. It is hard to say how many people live with this disorder, because it doesn't occur during waking hours. Symptoms associated with this condition include fatigue during waking hours, headache, concentration problems, memory problems, high blood pressure, heart stroke, however sleep apnea sufferers are rarely aware of what they suffer from. Apnea can go on for years undiagnosed and be a threat to an individual health. It can lead to diabetes and heart problems. Sleep apnea is characterized by interrupted breathing while sleeping. Breathing can stop for several seconds and even for several minutes. Pauses in breathing increase carbon dioxide concentration in blood, brain signals the body to wake up. As a result the sleep is interrupted and is lighter, which causes daytime tiredness and problems mentioned above. Sleep apnea has three forms: central (light form), obstructive and complex (mixed). Individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea snore. There are some reasons for this condition: brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles; physical obstruction of the airway cased by excess weight, that effect soft tissue of the mouth and throat, or enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

How can medical marijuana help?

Medical marijuana has been a subject of research for decades, which provided a large number of medical evidences that medical marijuana can treat sleep disorders, like insomnia and increases sleep quality. Medical marijuana users fall asleep easier, have proper deep sleep and sleep as long as their body needs it. It is widely acknowledged to ease chronic pain. Several studies that has been conducted and published since 2002, relate to marijuana ingredients effect on sleep apnea: delta-9-THC, the endocannabinoid oleamide, synthetic TCH and dronabinol (drug made from cannabis). Researchers at the University of Illinois (at Chicago) Department of Medicine reported that delta-9-THC and the endocannabinoid oleamide stabilized breathingduring sleep and blocked serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea. In addition to that, synthetic THC is reported to mitigate apnea and augment upper airway muscles in rats. Similar results have been obtained with adults. Related trials show that synthetic THC administration significantly mitigated symptoms of the disorder in patients with obstructive sleep apnea after three weeks. Dronabinol works to reduce apnea during sleep, through its action on cannabinoid receptors in the peripheral nervous system. Marijuana contains hundreds of components that work through receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body to regulate multiple physiological processes, including sleep, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.

Conventional treatments of sleep apnea are: avoiding alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers that can cause throat muscles collapse during sleep. The most effective and common treatment is the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. Despite its effectiveness, the adherence to CPAP mask is very bad on a long run. Actually, there is no medicine that can treat sleep apnea. Researchers are continuing their studies on cannabis and anticipate more positive results. Based on mentioned above evidences, cannabis can really help significantly reduce sleep apnea, thus make you more energetic during the day, quickly fall asleep, sleep deep and well. Medical marijuana also can help you stick to your CPAP machine treatment and improve adherence to the mask. However, it is necessary to consult professional medical marijuana caretaker and a doctor to diagnose your condition and get professional opinion.

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