Bad news. Web searches for insomnia were up almost 60% in the first five months of 2020 alone, confirming that, yes, none of us are getting a decent night’s sleep these days. We’re having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, dealing with poor quality of sleep, and experiencing a higher frequency of disturbing dreams. And we really need to know, can you fix insomnia with cannabis?
BREAKING DOWN THE SCIENCE OF INSOMNIA
First, we have to understand the ins and outs of insomnia, which begins with the three P’s of the Spielman model:
- Predisposing factors. These are issues that could cause a poor night’s sleep occasionally. Maybe you have problems falling or staying asleep, but in general, you’re sleeping well until the second P comes along.
- Precipitating factors. These are big events that trigger acute insomnia. Think a death in the family, financial woes, or something stressful like navigating a global pandemic.
- Perpetuating factors. If the second P strikes, and you have poor sleep habits already in place, you’re primed for exacerbating the precipitating factor. Maybe you’re in the habit of consuming too much caffeine or nicotine. Maybe you don’t have a relaxing bedtime routine. Maybe all that blue light before bed is really messing you up. Whatever the perpetuating factor, it can mean your insomnia becomes chronic, even once the precipitating event is no longer an issue.
So what’s the real issue here? Besides feeling exhausted, lack of sleep sets us up for big health problems – everything from depression and anxiety to a weakened immune system, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many others.
And now for the real question. What can cannabis do?
CANNABIS FOR RESOLVING SYMTOMS OF INSOMNIA
Early research is promising. Some people believe that cannabis can effectively treat insomnia when it’s used properly, which varies depending on what you’re trying to resolve. If your main problem is falling asleep, low inhaled doses appear to be most effective. If your issue is staying asleep, cannabis products designed for a longer effect window will probably be better.
Either way, a low dose is important to avoid building a tolerance. As it happens, that’s often an issue with melatonin, a popular sleep aid.
Now for the bad news. There’s a ton of anecdotal evidence about the role of cannabis for better sleep, but there really aren’t a lot of clinical studies yet to back that up. And that’s why some sleep experts advise against cannabis for insomnia.
Poor or inadequate sleep makes life much harder than it needs to be, and exploring your options makes sense. If you’re struggling with sleep, ask a budtender next time you visit The Dispensary for recommendations.
Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older.