Most people have difficulty sleeping at one time or another in their lives. Maybe a stressful day at work, a spicy meal that doesn’t sit well, or even the excitement of an important day coming up. A random poor night of sleep is one thing, but when insomnia becomes recurring or even chronic, something must certainly be done.
When you regularly don’t get the sleep that you need, you feel more than just tired the next day. Chronic insomnia can cause you to experience memory loss, slowed motor skills, irritability, depression, anxiety, headaches, accidents, workplace errors, and an overall reduction in the quality of life.
Insomnia may be defined as the inability to fall asleep at the beginning of the night or it can also be waking up in the middle of the night or early morning and then being unable to go back to sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep on a regular basis, then you are not alone. Millions of people each night have trouble with sleeping due to stress, health problems, mental illness struggles, certain medications, or a variety of other reasons.
Three seems to be the magic number for insomnia. Loss of sleep that happens more than three times a week and lasts for three weeks or more in a row is considered to be chronic insomnia. Doctors are likely to pay more attention to your complaints about not sleeping well when they are chronic. Insomnia is a serious condition that is not something to play around with. If you are struggling to sleep at night, talk to your doctor right away.
Typical Treatments for Insomnia
Treatment for sleeping disorders such as insomnia will vary depending on the suspected cause, the circumstances surrounding the sleep problems, and the health details of the patient involved. Typically, various any natural treatments for insomnia are considered first to try to regain balanced sleep. These efforts may include lifestyle changes such as sleep hygiene therapy, bright light therapy, melatonin or other supplements, and special sleep routines that encourage proper sleep-wake cycles. If stress is the cause of sleep deprivation, then cognitive behavioral therapy may be effective over the long run.
Most doctors agree that prescription medications, when used for insomnia, tend to do more harm than good. Not only do they often result in a foggy feeling, they may also minimize a person’s ability to function well and participate in certain activities. Plus, many prescription drugs used as sleep aids can be highly addictive so doctors usually try to avoid these.
Does Marijuana Help Insomnia?
Some studies have shown that cannabis may be able to improve the quality of sleep as well as the duration of it. The drug may be helpful in treating some sleeping disorders that are not able to be handled in any other manner. While it is not likely to be considered as a first option for insomnia, medical marijuana may effectively reduce the amount of time it takes for people with insomnia to fall asleep.
Researchers believe that the substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis is the reason that it works for insomnia.
Can You Get Medical Marijuana for Insomnia?
Of course the laws governing marijuana vary significantly from state to state. States where marijuana is legalized for recreational use include Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. These are places where marijuana for insomnia should be fairly easy to come by as a person would simply need to walk into a dispensary and pick it up (assuming the person is over the age 21) without the need for a doctor’s prescription.
As of 2018, medical marijuana is legal in another 29 states, which means that a doctor’s prescription would be required in order to obtain marijuana for insomnia. Even in many of these states, marijuana use is limited and only approved for certain illnesses, specifically epilepsy.
Wisconsin and California offer particularly lenient usage of marijuana for medical reasons which means that a doctor may be able to prescribe the drug for insomnia. Minnesota has approved the use of medical marijuana in case of obstructive sleep apnea, which can sometimes be related to insomnia but is not always. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Washington D.C. are all states that may consider prescriptions for what is called “early morning disorder” insomnia, if a physician recommends it as such.
Negative Impact of Marijuana for Insomnia
While there are many ways that marijuana can be used to help with sleep problems, it also comes with negative side effects just like any other drug. If used too frequently, marijuana can become addictive and result in stress, anxiety, and even insomnia related to withdrawal symptoms.
Grogginess and fogginess may also result from the use of cannabis if too much THC is used. Some people have shortened REM sleep cycles when marijuana is used, which can result in various problems such as memory loss, erratic behavior, and a negative attitude throughout the day. Vivid, frequent dreams may also result from a lack of REM sleep when cannabis is used for insomnia.
Insomnia can be a serious medical condition if it is allowed to continue over time. Like any health condition, seeing a doctor or sleep specialist for insomnia will allow you to receive the proper diagnosis, care, and attention you need to help get your body sleeping properly once again.
Choosing to self-diagnose or self-medicate can be dangerous, so be sure that you are under the care of a doctor for your insomnia. It is critical to access marijuana from a licensed source and use under the care of your doctor so that complete care is taken from a medical perspective.
Sleeping can be difficult, and insomnia can make you feel like you’re going insane at times. But your doctor or sleep specialist should be able to help you get back on track with good sleeping habits. Once you’ve restored your circadian rhythms, you’ll soon be on your way to getting your life back and feeling better once again!