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The Safe Use of Medical Marijuana for Insomnia

There’s nothing more frustrating than painstakingly curating your sleep environment, using mind-quieting strategies, and taking deep breaths only to end up staring at the ceiling for hours without rest.

Trouble sleeping isn’t just frustrating and exhausting—it’s also emotionally draining. And, if you struggle with mental health challenges, the utter inability to turn off your brain and fall asleep can create an insufferable feedback loop.

Even if you’re skeptical about medical marijuana, long-term insomnia might motivate you to consider treatment methods you wouldn’t have tried before. To that end, you may be wondering: Does weed help insomnia?

Medical marijuana can help people achieve better, more restful sleep—this much we know. But it can do so much more than help you fall asleep. It can also help you recover from the root cause of a sleep disturbance (like anxiety) and heal your endocrine system (a key component of sleep health).

In this guide, we’re exploring everything you need to know about recovering from sleep issues by using cannabis for insomnia.

Demystifying Insomnia: Understanding the Role of Anxiety

Even if you don’t experience other symptoms of anxiety, it is closely connected with insomnia. Why? Both sleep issues and anxiety are related to the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

For people without trouble sleeping or anxiety, the SNS slows down during restful sleep. This, in turn, reduces the heart rate and blood pressure.

But during stressful mental, emotional, or physical situations, our SNS is highly activated—this results in a state of arousal. While you might be only mildly aroused during slightly stressful situations and severely aroused during highly stressful scenarios, any activation of the SNS can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure hikes.

One of the reasons why we know so much about the SNS and sleep is due to research on sleep apnea. When people with sleep apnea have an apneic event (like a breathing restriction), their SNS activates in response to physical stress. This can cause patients to wake up.

With this in mind, it makes sense that people with anxiety can have trouble sleeping:

  • People with anxiety might find themselves in a “fight or flight” state more often than the average person.
  • That highly aroused state activates the SNS—the body’s stress response system—which tells the heart to beat faster and be on alert for danger.
  • SNS activation can keep people from falling asleep, while SNS slowdown is a natural consequence of restful sleep.

This is why it’s so important to consider the root causes of medical and mental health issues on your healing journey. Even if you never considered the possibility that anxiety could play a role in your insomnia, anxiety recovery tactics could be the key to unlocking healthy sleep.

The Endocrine System: A Crucial Player in Sleep Health

In addition to the SNS, the endocrine system (the collection of organs and glands that regulate hormones in your body) plays a key role in sleep.

The endocrine system and healthy sleep cycles operate in a feedback loop—when one system thrives, so does the other, and vice versa.

  • When you’re asleep, your endocrine system regulates cortisol production and transport. Cortisol (sometimes called the “stress hormone”) typically peaks within 30 minutes of waking in people with healthy sleep cycles, and this peak activates other hormone regulation functions in the body. But irregular sleep patterns can both disrupt cortisol production and, in turn, other hormonal processes.
  • Melatonin is another critical hormone that’s impacted by and impacts sleep health. Melatonin helps your body regulate its sleep-wake cycles. Poor sleep can disrupt healthy melatonin production, which can further impact your sleep cycle.

In addition, endocrine health is key to well-rounded physical health. Endocrine disruptions (which can be caused by poor sleep) can contribute to:

  • Reduced immune system function
  • Irregular appetite patterns
  • More frequent infections and illnesses

Since the endocrine system is physically widespread and influences so many of the body’s functions, promoting healthy endocrine activity requires a holistic approach.

Medical Cannabis: A Natural Path to Balanced and Restful Sleep

Morning of beautiful young woman in bedIn your search for a whole-body solution to sleep disturbance, consider marijuana for insomnia. Using marijuana for sleep can increase your body’s production of adenosine—a compound that increases your body’s demand for sleep.

Since adenosine can make you feel sleepy, you can use marijuana’s adenosine-boosting effects to your advantage. By carefully timing your dosing, you can:

  • Help your body return to a normal sleep cycle
  • Support healthy endocrine production

And, because endocrine function is key to regulating sleep and wakefulness hormones like melatonin and cortisol, the cycle will continue: a healthy endocrine system is the foundation for healthy sleep, and vice versa.

But if you’re new to using weed for insomnia relief, you may be unsure of where to start. Here are some tips:

  • Timing is everything – If you’re looking for sleep support, consider taking your marijuana dose around the time that you’d like to fall asleep. It’s important to note that different administration methods produce results faster than others—for instance, smoking might produce effects more quickly than ingesting an edible, oil, or tincture.
  • Experiment with administration – Not sure whether you’d prefer to smoke, vape, eat an edible, or sip on a cannabis tincture? Try all of these methods (one at a time), and track your results to find the one that consistently produces the effects you’re looking for.
  • Talk to a medical marijuana expert about formulas – Different combinations of cannabinoids (THC and CBD are the major cannabinoids, but there are minor compounds, too) can produce unique results. Talk to your medical marijuana provider or your dispensary’s budtender to find a cannabinoid formula that works for you.

Practical Guidance for Using Medical Cannabis for Sleep

In addition to the tips above, you could benefit from more detailed advice on medical marijuana for insomnia:

  • Consider using tinctures and oils over smokables – Smokeables might produce effects fast, but they’re typically not as powerful or as long-lasting as consumables like edibles, oils, and tinctures. If you’re looking to fall asleep and stay asleep, cannabis products that you consume instead of smoke might be a better choice.
  • Stir tinctures and oils into a beverage or use them on their own – Tinctures and oils aren’t just effective—they’re also convenient. Whether you stir a few drops into a cup of soothing herbal tea or apply them directly onto your tongue, oils and tinctures are easy to use.
  • Consider strains – While cannabinoid profile is important, so is strain. Strains are subvarieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, and they generally fall into one of three categories: indicas, sativas, and hybrids. While most people say that indicas are best for promoting restfulness, weed affects everyone differently. Experiment with a wide variety of strains to find the one that works best for you.

Are you considering using marijuana for sleep health? You’re not alone. The TeleLeaf community is full of insomnia recovery success stories like these:

“A few simple questions about your state of being and health, and you’re on your way to a better, more functional life—and a better night’s sleep!”

-Matthew G.

“Highly recommend medical cannabis if you are looking for pain relief, relief from depression, want to sleep better, or eat better.”

-Jarrod M.

Building a Balanced Life: The Three Pillars of Wellness

Healthy sleep contributes to all-around well-being. At TeleLeaf, we believe that three pillars can ground you on your journey to holistic health:

  1. Authenticity: When your mind and body are in alignment, you can move through the world at peace and with confidence. Discovering your authentic self will help you create a roadmap for your future growth.
  2. Acceptance: Once we know who we are, we can accept who we are and make choices that align with our authentic selves.
  3. Agency: Accepting our authentic selves gives us the control to forge our own paths and find healing within ourselves.

These pillars can serve as a North Star during your insomnia recovery. Finding a sleep support solution that fits your lifestyle, accepting that you might need a different kind of solution than other people, and using that solution to rediscover control of your sleep health are all admirable goals to strive for in the recovery process—and in your everyday life.

Unlock Relief from Insomnia with TeleLeaf

Insomnia is closely related to anxiety and the endocrine system, and medical marijuana can help you discover long-term healing from anxiety, endocrine difficulties, and (in turn) insomnia.

If you’re looking to incorporate medical cannabis into your holistic health approach, TeleLeaf is here to help. We provide step-by-step guidance for obtaining a medical marijuana card so that our patients can receive the care they need.

Learn more about our revolutionary approach to insomnia recovery, as well as recovery from other debilitating issues, by reaching out to us today.


Sources:

Sleep Foundation. Using Cannabis as a Sleep Aid.
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-aids/cannabis-and-sleep

Scientific Reports. Association between nocturnal activity of the sympathetic nervous system and cognitive dysfunction in obstructive sleep apnea.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-91329-6

Healthline. How Sleep Can Affect Your Hormone Levels, Plus 12 Ways to Sleep Deep.
https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep/how-sleep-can-affect-your-hormone-levels#too-little-sleep

Sleep Foundation. Adenosine and Sleep.
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/adenosine-and-sleep

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