Apr 14, 2016 5:35 PM

Using Medical Marijuana for Insomnia

When talking about medical marijuana, people usually mention cancer, chronic pain, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, migraines, and depression. Though cannabis can be effective against sleep disorders as well, the lack of scientific studies makes doctors prescribe cannabis only as an additional treatment.

What is insomnia?

In the U.S., 10-30 percent of people suffer from various sleep problems including insomnia. This percentage amounts to about tens of millions of people of all ages with different backgrounds and different social status. Many of these people decide in favor of taking sleeping pills despite the potentially severe negative effects of this kind of medications which include even the risk of death. In fact, more than 95 percent of people with insomnia opt to use the sleeping pills.

The difficulty of falling or staying asleep may be a condition on its own (so-called primary insomnia), and a symptom of other conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, stress, depression or a side-effect of some medications (secondary insomnia).

Usually, insomnia is not life threatening, though, it can significantly worsen the mood, emotional state, and productivity.

Alternative to usual medicine

In India, cannabis has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for sleep disorders. In the 19th century, it was used for the first time in the U.S. by Dr. William O'Shaughnessy who found out about this way of treatment during his travels.

After cannabis prohibition in 1937, marijuana disappeared from the mainstream medical practice. A lot of pharmaceutical drugs for insomnia appeared on the market, such as Lunesta, Rozerem, Ambien, Valium, Zanax and others. While these drugs are quite effective, they are not perfect. Sleeping pills often cause addiction, blurred vision, depression, and other side effects that in some cases can significantly worsen patient's state.

On the other hand, medicinal weed poses little to no risk of addiction or overdose. Some people are skeptic about marijuana due to its euphoric effect. But apparently, THC, which actually is responsible for the psychoactive effect, is not the compound that treats insomnia most efficiently.In fact, CBD and CBN components of cannabis were identified as the substances that can treat insomnia.

How can medical marijuana help?

There is a theory that the cause of insomnia hides inside the endocannabinoid system: a deficiency of natural cannabinoids may lead to a number of disorders and diseases, and phytocannabinoids from cannabis may “fill the gap” and make the system work properly.

Regular use of marijuana may bring you a good night sleep and also significantly decrease anxiety, stress, and help manage PTSD, which is usually associated with painful memories that sometimes reveal themselves as nightmares.

THC showed itself as a good treatment for insomnia, but only in small doses. The higher the dose, the more “hangover” effect it brings on the next day.

CBD offers the same sedative effect, but with no psychoactive effect (regardless of the dose). It also can increase the time of sleeping and decrease REM sleep what can come in handy for those who experience nightmares.

Cannabinol (CBN) is mildly psychoactive and has very strong drowsiness effect. It works in the same way as pharmaceutical sedatives, but requires much smaller doses and has no significant side effects. Plus, CBN manifests itself as a strong painkiller that can be beneficial for those patients whose insomnia is caused by chronic pain.

Best strains for insomnia

If you have access to legal marijuana, you may choose the strain that suits your symptoms the most. You may buy high-THC strain and consume it in small doses, or go for CBD strain. However, we would recommend you to consume indica strains rather than sativa ones. Though some sativas like Catpiss or Jack Herer can also come in handy with sleep problems, it is mostly indica that has the desirable anti-insomnia effect.

Albert Walker has strong indica effects and provides nice relaxation state that can last for hours.

Blackberry Hashplant is an extremely powerful sedative, it makes your mind tranquil and body relaxed. It is also good for pain relief.

Bubblegun is an indica-dominant hybrid that efficiently treats insomnia and body discomfort.

Cookie Monster got the first place in Washington High Times Cannabis Cup 2014. This strain makes the consumer feel relaxed, tranquil and ready to sleep.

Ingrid has low CBD level (0.30%), therefore, it is best for consuming in micro doses right before going to bed.

Godfather OG is excellent for alleviating stress and promoting sleep. It also comes in handy with PTSD.

Kushberry eases body pain, eating disorders, anxiousness and inability to sleep. Plus, it brings mind clarity.

Lemon OG Kush is an indica hybrid that provides stress-free state if it is consumed in small doses.

Purple Urkle is an extremely potent indica strain that can help treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.

The White is a 2009 IC420 cup winning indica-leaning hybrid that is often prescribed for insomnia, depression and stress.

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