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Holy Smoke: Marijuana Contends for the Title of Best Sleep Aid on Earth

holy smoke

Most everyone knows weed makes you sleepy. It’s easily marijuana’s most commonly associated effect.

​With this in mind, it’s likely no surprise that research shows cannabis is an extremely effective treatment for insomnia: a state of difficulty falling and or staying asleep.

The Ohio Medical board is considering adding five new conditions to those that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana, including insomnia, depression, anxietyautism, and opioid addiction. We’re delving more deeply into each one to provide up-to-date information on access, conditions and treatment options.

(Edit 6/14/19: Ohio’s 12-member medical board was set to make a final vote June 12, however the voting has been postponed as the board’s two new members haven’t had time to read up on the issues. The president of the board said there is “no rush” on approving new conditions and no official date has been set.)

Most everyone knows weed makes you sleepy. It’s easily marijuana’s most commonly associated effect. With this in mind, it’s likely no surprise that research shows cannabis is an extremely effective treatment for insomnia: a state of difficulty falling and or staying asleep.

Most insomnia is temporary; brought on by occasional periods of high stress. But when the condition persists, and habit patterns are formed, it can become a  repeating cycle and turn chronic.

Most traditional methods of treating insomnia work on GABA receptors to inhibit nervous system activity. Marijuana mostly helps block stress-response, suppressing nervous excitation before  it happens.

There’s no magic solution as each case is different, though stress is a strong common denominator.

This TED video illustrates the insomnia process perfectly:

Insomnia has a strong correlation with anxiety; stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, are often its primary antagonists. They build up in the body causing overactive nervous response that makes the brain too charged to rest properly. Lack of sleep over time burns the brain’s energy reserves, wreaking havoc on overall health.

​An article from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine explains:

“Insomnia is thought to be a disorder of hyperarousal experienced throughout the entire day. This hyperarousal may exhibit itself as a state of hypervigilance during the day and difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep at night. This arousal is currently explained by both cognitive and physiological models of insomnia. The cognitive model suggests that worry and rumination about life stresses disrupt sleep, creating acute episodes of insomnia, especially in initiating sleep and returning back to sleep after an awakening. Then, once an individual begins to experience sleep difficulties, worry and rumination shift from life events to worries about sleep itself and about the daytime consequences of not getting enough sleep. This negatively-toned cognitive activity is further fueled if a sleep-related threat is detected or a sleep deficit is perceived.”

Dr. Allen Frankel, MD explains in this video how he uses cannabis to treat specific types of insomnia with success.

study by the University of New Mexico suggests that cannabis is better at treating insomnia than currently used over-the-counter and prescription medications:

“The study concludes that in comparison to conventional prescription pharmaceutical sleep aids, CBD is generally believed to be much safer and often is described as non-psychoactive. “For the individual, they must weigh the costs and benefits of using different types of sleep medications. Whether whole natural Cannabis flower or good old fashion ‘bud’ to the layman. Either may offer some of the highest therapeutic-to-negative-side-effect profiles of any available options currently available to sleep-sufferers,” Dr. Virgil says.”

Despite the fact that insomnia is still not a qualifying condition under any state-authorized medical cannabis programs, McCarty and Rutten were excited to learn about the insomnia research study. The study further confirms and supports their personal experiences. “It’s important to have science-based research backing up what many individuals believe to be true about the healing effects of cannabis,” says McCarty.

Rutten agrees. “It seems that 85 percent of the people I talk to about medical cannabis are either using it for pain management or as a sleep aid.”

​The main draw is that while most over-the-counter and prescription medications work by suppressing nervous activity after-the-fact, cannabis does so in a more preventative way, inducing a more holistic sense of satiety by maintaining system equilibrium and promoting clearer perspectives.

In conclusion, studies show cannabis has great potential for use as an effective treatment for insomnia, with far fewer negative side-effects than with traditional treatments.

Despite this, insomnia still doesn’t qualify for cannabis medical treatment in Ohio, though Ohio’s 12-member medical board is set to make a final vote June 12th. Check back here, with us  between now and then for updates on, news, science and treatment, as we support you on your healthcare journey. 

If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to obtain your own Ohio Medical Marijuana Card to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.

Click here to learn more about what My Marijuana Card’s state-certified Ohio marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (419-237-7119) and our friendly patient coordinators will set an appointment and walk you through the process of receiving your own Ohio Medical Marijuana card.

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