Researchers published a literature review that investigates the relationship between cannabis and sleep. They examined six major sleeping disorders: insomnia, sleep apnea, REM behavior disorder, nightmares, sleep with chronic pain, and daytime sleepiness.
They found that THC might worsen daytime sleepiness and delayed onset of sleep; however, THC might help patients who suffer from sleep apnea and nightmares. Meanwhile, CBD might reduce daytime sleepiness and insomnia while increasing the total amount of sleep.
Many people use cannabis to treat insomnia, as THC has proven effects. What about CBD? There are no clear, incontrovertible studies, and effects differ by the user, but there are promising results. More noticeably, certain terpenes have been shown to be quite effective, for example, Myrcene. http://bit.ly/2F9PXUp
Benjamin Caplan, MDTreating insomnia with cannabis
In a study that excluded cannabis users, researchers found that alcohol hangovers significantly impair both executive function (paying attention, regulating emotions, etc.) and prospective memory (remembering future plans).
Medical Cannabis and the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Position Statement
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder causing episodic airway obstruction that results in the brief “apneic” (cessation of breathing) episodes for brief periods of time. A recent study investigating Dronabinol, a synthetic cannabis derivative, as a potential therapy for sleep apnea resulted in an improvement of 32% in the apnea-hypopnea index. However, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine does not endorse medical cannabis as a treatment for sleep apnea, due to what they point to as a lack of knowledge surrounding the long-term effects of its use. ” Based on these results, cannabis and its components should be further researched to determine its potential for sleep apnea treatment.
Exploring Interventions for Sleep Disorders in Adolescent Cannabis Users
The effects of cannabis on sleep are varied and dependent on dosage and the component of cannabis in question. For instance, low doses of cannabidiol (CBD) have an energizing effect, while higher doses can prompt drowsiness. Cannabis use among adolescents results in similar although occasionally more pronounced effects on sleep than among adults. Previous studies have reported a relationship between cannabis use and an individual’s “sleep duration, self-reported sleep problems, and insomnia.” Furthermore, many newcomers to cannabis approach the plant as an aid to sleep, and regular cannabis use may result. This may lead to an increase in tolerance and, upon attempts to quit, a disruption in sleep and REM may rebound. At a time when sleep is crucial to development, considering the wide field of unknowns and potential impact, adolescents should proceed cautiously, and with restraint, when consuming cannabis.
DSM-5 cannabis withdrawal syndrome: Demographic and clinical correlates in U.S. adults
Cannabis withdrawal syndrome affects approximately 12.1% of heavy cannabis users and is characterized by symptoms such as nervousness/anxiety, hostility, sleep difficulty, and depressed mood. It has increased prevalence among those suffering from mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. This new data should emphasize the need for physicians to exercise caution when recommending cannabis to individuals who may end up consuming cannabis heavily, and who also suffering from mood, anxiety, or personality disorders
Over the years, CBD has shown that it may play a therapeutic role in sleep regulation, adjusting sleep cycles, inducing sedative effects, increasing total sleep time and less frequent awakenings, reducing dream recall, and it has even been shown to REM sleep. Some of these studies have been levied against comparison with placebo medications, and some studies have been done looking very closely at individuals’ physiology as they sleep. Some studies even document a return of sleep disturbances once the CBD is removed from treatment. Doses have been explored ranging from 40, 80, or 160 mg per day, up to 600mg. CBD has been tried both alone and in combination with other cannabinoids.
Here, a study of 26 participants, were tried with CBD once, and then placebo once, after 2 weeks, and they found no significant impact of the CBD on sleep. The authors note that the small window (of personnel studied and of episodes of dosing CBD) is a concerning limitation. Another interpretation of these results is that CBD is not acting as an acute sedative. Its function may be situational (for certain states of mind, CBD may work in a quieting way) or it may be impacting the body at a much more basic level (for example, if it is reducing levels of stress or depression hormones, the effect of improving sleep may have a more gradual impact.
A related point – it is important for us to take note of studies that don’t necessarily have fireworks associated. Not every study will show amazing effects or overwhelming results. This helps us consider what is good or what is missing from the papers we read – and helps create a more realistic research culture. Every study helps teach, even if it’s not showing breathtaking results.