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There have been numerous studies on the effect of cannabis on sleep regulation and sleeping patterns. Countless data have indicated that cannabis contains properties that are effective when it comes to improving your quality of sleep. Since there is very little analysis done to further assess the potency of cannabis as a sleeping aid, we have brought up this study to discuss the effectiveness of cannabis as a potential sleep aid.
This study aims to better understand cannabis use in relation to sleep by setting defined limitations and focusing only on specific and useful parameters. Through this study, we will be able to come up with concrete explanations and provide in-depth findings when it comes to the potential benefits of using cannabis as an effective sleep aid.
The science of sleep and its relation to cannabis
Cannabis can come in different strains, and it can be a sativa, indica, or a hybrid. One strain may be energizing while the other may be sedating, depending on the levels and percentage of cannabinoids in that plant. Cannabis plants or marijuana can work their wonders because of the different cannabinoids they have. The most commonly discussed ones are cannabidiol or CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
THC is the compound in cannabis responsible for inducing sleep and keeping you calm, relaxed, and sedated. Some studies showed that ingesting cannabis with a higher THC level will effectively reduce REM sleep, lowering dreams or nightmares. Therefore, if you have lesser time dreaming, you will gain more time in a state of being in a deep sleep. Being in a deep sleep allows a person to rest more and enjoy the refreshing part of the sleep cycle.
This study was done with the primary objective to evaluate the improvement of sleep quality with the use of metrics of time paired with science-based indicators of sleep quality and patterns. Researchers have intended to focus on the time it took for the person to fall asleep after the consumption of cannabis. The sleep continuity or how much the sleep was interrupted was also monitored. The sleep interruptions were noted as the number of awakenings or NOA throughout the duration of sleep. Few interruptions would mean a more significant amount of sleep improvement.
The hypothesis of this study is affirmative on the effectiveness of cannabis as a potential sleep aid. The study generally expects cannabis to have positive effects on the betterment of sleep. Positive effects should include the lesser time it would take for a person to fall asleep with fewer awakenings throughout the sleep duration.
Fifty-four willing adult participants who are identified cannabis users were selected and included in this study. The subjects were instructed to consume a standard and fixed amount of cannabis daily. In seven days, the participants were monitored, and information on their sleeping patterns was gathered. Viable and useful information included the time of last cannabis intake prior to bedtime, the period it took for them to fall asleep, and the number of times they have woken up in the middle of the night. Independent variables of this study include gender, age, work and school, and possible alcohol intake. These variables were necessary to exclude the effect of other external factors that might affect sleep quality.
After the 7th day of data gathering, researchers then analyzed the data to determine the relationship between sleep quality and cannabis in the participants. The analysis also included the consideration of independent variables mentioned above that were documented in detail before the study. Significant data were analyzed to determine whether the intake of cannabis affected the duration of time it takes for the participant to fall asleep and his or her number or awakening during sleep.
Results and recommendations
After successfully analyzing data, it was recorded that those who consumed or used cannabis closer to bedtime took a shorter duration of time to fall asleep. While those who consumed cannabis earlier in the night also reported a longer time in falling asleep. This study’s independent variables had no significant effect on the duration of the time it took for the participants to fall asleep.
With regards to the number of awakenings throughout the night, researchers were able to conclude that there was no significant relationship between the cannabis intake and NOA. With the exception of gender, there are no other variables and factors that substantially affected NOA. Generally, the female participants had more nighttime awakenings compared to the male participants.
Significance of the study and its scope and limitations
Their study’s findings showed that cannabis use effectively reduces the time it takes for a person to fall asleep. Moreover, the effectiveness is enhanced when cannabis is used or taken closer to bedtime. The results also suggest that there is no direct relationship between cannabis intake and the number of awakenings during the night.
Cannabis has been widely used in medicine and recreation for its incredible health benefits and therapeutic effects, including its promising properties that can make cannabis a useful sleep aid. Through this study, researchers were able to conclude that cannabis indeed is an effective sleep aid. This will then provide more evidence and statistics-based research to aid cannabis’s legitimacy as a sleeping aid significantly. Furthermore, the researchers recommend another study focusing on more specific variables such as the method of consumption and dosage and other medications that the participants can take.
This study’s limitations include the fact that the researchers were not able to collect data on the possible use of stimulants such as coffee, tea, or energy drinks. The number of participants was also relatively limited, with a study duration of only seven days. Further studies with the use of more participants with a more diverse age group done for a more extended period are recommended. The study notes that it is vital that you consult your physician or any healthcare professional if you are planning to use cannabis to improve the quality of your sleep.
Things to consider before taking cannabis for sleep
Smoking any kind or consumption of cannabis might pose a health risk if you have an underlying condition. If you are unsure or still hesitant, it is crucial that you consult your doctor regarding your sleep cycles and your REM. Also, long-term use of sleep aid is not recommended as this can result in unwanted dependency. Remember to use cannabis responsibly.
Final thoughts before you sleep
Not all sleep aids will work for everybody in the same way, and cannabis is no different. Indeed, cannabis has a remarkable use for anxiety management; however, some people may find that the use of even a little amount of cannabis can make them more anxious or paranoid, which is why it is imperative to see which will work best for you. There are many other strains of cannabis that you can try in micro-doses – this is to avoid unwanted side effects. This way, you will be able to find the best cannabis strain that can help you fall asleep without increasing your anxiety levels.
Cannabis is an effective sleep aid for short-term use, and if you are still having trouble sleeping despite the use of a sleeping aid, you should consult your doctor.
Latest research to understand the effectiveness of cannabis as a sleep aid:
The Science Behind Cannabis and Sleep
Cannabis contains compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which interact with the brain’s receptors. Studies suggest that these interactions can increase sleep-promoting adenosine and suppress arousal systems, potentially aiding in relaxation and sleep.
Effectiveness in Various Conditions
Particularly noteworthy is cannabis’s impact on individuals with conditions such as chronic pain, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis. Research shows that these groups may experience quicker sleep onset, fewer night-time disturbances, and improved overall sleep quality when using cannabis occasionally.
The Public Perspective: A 2023 Study
A recent study revealed that over 80% of participants using cannabis for sleep found it helpful in relaxing the mind and body, leading to deeper and longer sleep. Interestingly, THC was the preferred choice over CBD for sleep purposes among these users.
Contrasting Views on Chronic Use
While occasional use seems beneficial, chronic or frequent use of cannabis might have adverse effects on sleep quality. This could be due to the desensitization of the brain’s CB1 receptors, which play a crucial role in sleep regulation. Such findings suggest that heavy, daily use of cannabis may lead to sleep deficits, including insomnia and reduced sleep quality.
Cannabis vs. Traditional Sleep Aids
Many individuals report better sleep with cannabis compared to prescription or over-the-counter sleep medications. However, cannabis also has potential side effects like anxiety and irritability, though users generally felt more focused and relaxed the next day compared to using other sleep aids.