It was on episode 1027 of People’s Pharmacy where it was mentioned that one person had sought medical marijuana for chronic insomnia after trying many things including Ambien that did not help.
Is there a case for the use of medical marijuana for insomnia? There are anecdotal report of people taking medical marijuana for other aliments who had found that a beneficial side-effect was improved sleep. Whether that was because the marijuana had relieved pain to the point where sleep can happen, or whether there is some ingredient in marijuana that have a direct effect on sleep is hard to say.
There are different strains of cannabis, and not all of them have the same effect on sleep. According to Leafly, the indica strain is best for inducing heavier sleep, possibly due to the terpene content. And older cannabis (as opposed of fresh) works better. This is because …
“When THC degrades over time, it converts to a sedating chemical known as cannabinol, or CBN. This cannabis compound is five times more sedating than THC, though it’s fairly slow to form.”
THC is an compound in marijuana. Smoking it kicks in faster than marijuana edible (such as brownies). However, the latter may last longer.
However, be careful. Because “Others have experienced bad hangovers from smoking low-grade or pesticide-riddled cannabis.”
Also cannabis induced sleep reduces REM stage sleep (less dreams), which may not be an ideal thing. I believe that having dreams and dream recall is an indication of quality sleep. Because kids seem to have them all the time, while as adults our dream degrades and our sleep degrades.
Some studies suggest that cannabis may help sleep apnea — “THC’s ability to restore respiratory stability by modulating serotonin signaling”
But once you start using it long-term, then getting off it may cause sleep issues. Also the article mentioned that “Using cannabis – particularly before the age of 15 – may cause sleeping problems throughout adulthood”
Psychology Today writes …
“Interestingly, deep sleep was increased when cannabis was initially used but this effect disappeared after repeated use.”
It also mentioned that many people were taking cannabis for sleep. But they did not find much scientific studies about it. It also confirms that some people may have withdrawal symptoms after stopping from long-term use.
Science Daily says that “weed” probably does not help with sleep.
BrainBlogger writes …
“According to several studies, marijuana has been found to both induce sleep and increase the duration of Stage 4 sleep. These effects improve the overall quality of sleep in an individual.”
But that …
“Some other studies have found that heavy use of marijuana has been associated with disturbed sleep. Heavy users of marijuana often complain of lower quality of sleep, characterized by lesser time spent sleeping”
So the results are really mixed as to whether marijuana can help with sleep or not.