Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes difficulty in falling asleep. This condition can be caused by factors such as stress, anxiety, emotional worries, jet lag, and night shift work schedules to name a few. Insomnia can be acute or chronic and is generally defined as chronic insomnia when it occurs at least three times per week for over three months. More people than you may imagine suffer from insomnia. Although it mainly affects older people, it can also impact kids and teenagers. In fact, 45% of New Zealanders who had their sleep patterns examined reported insomnia symptoms at least once a week.
The good news? CBD may be useful to the fight against anxiety and stress. CBD has anti-stress properties which may help calm a racing mind and a rapid heart rate. Researchers have found that the calming effects of CBD are felt almost immediately, compared to antidepressants which often take weeks to take effect. Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is also frequently linked to insomnia as it can reduce the quantity of sleep and also increase feelings of wakefulness. Researchers have discovered that daily moderate use of CBD oil may reduce cortisol levels, thereby improving anxiety and sleep.
How Does Cannabis Improve Sleep?
Medicinal cannabis may help with sleep disorders and other conditions by interacting with the body’s own endocannabinoid system. This system comprises a complex group of endocannabinoids, enzymes and receptors that affect mood, concentration, hunger, stress and pain.
The research on cannabis and sleep (insomnia) is still relatively new, and most researchers agree that more research on medical cannabis for sleep is needed before we can fully understand its impacts.
However, we do know that the two primary cannabinoids that may help are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), and CBD (Cannabidiol). Learn more below.
A cannabinoid present in cannabis that encourages relaxation is CBD (cannabidiol). There is some research supporting several of CBD’s health benefits, including its ability to improve sleep symptoms. There is no “high” connected to CBD. Instead, CBD functions to counterbalance or balance the high caused by another cannabinoid, THC. CBD can interact with endocannabinoid system receptors to reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, or pain.
CBD has attracted much interest for its capacity to potentially lessen anxiety, ease pain, and foster clarity and focus. Additionally, CBD may increase alertness and lessen daytime sleepiness. According to studies, CBD may lessen anxiety without interfering with sleep-wake cycles.
THC seems to be the cannabinoid that actively affects sleep architecture and the amount of time spent in various stages of sleep. THC and THC-rich strains of cannabis have been the subject of several studies over the years. This cannabinoid is most closely associated with increases in deep, slow-wave sleep, lighter stages of non-REM sleep and decreases in REM sleep.
THC has sedative properties, and higher THC cannabis strains typically have a greater sedative effect. But be aware that THC containing medication can cause impairment – always leave an 8 hour window before driving or operating heavy machinery.