According to the National Sleep Foundation, between 50 and 70 million Americans have chronic or intermittent sleep disorders. About 30 to 40% of us will also develop insomnia at some point in our lives. Sleep disorders not only affect work performance and stress management. Sleepy driving results in 1,500 deaths and 100,000 car accidents every year.
Suffice it to say that many of us need a good night’s sleep. And while Americans spent $ 41 billion on sleeping pills and medicines in 2019 alone, none of those purchases included marijuana, which is a shame, if the research is to be believed.
A 2019 study by the University of Mexico, published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, found that sleep aid purchases fell after states legalized recreational marijuana. The researchers concluded that the negative association between over-the-counter sleeping pills and cannabis access represented a consumer preference for marijuana in the treatment of sleeping pills. Additionally, in a study published in the journal Sleep in 2008, scientists discovered that high-THC weeds reduced the frequency of REM sleep when we are dreaming. Those who use marijuana before bed tend to dream less. This means you will also experience fewer nightmares, a desirable trait for those who suffer from night terrors or PTSD symptoms.
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There are numerous anecdotes that marijuana improves sleep. A group of Israeli scientists recently tried to better understand whether marijuana can help chronic pain sufferers get to bed. In their study, published in the medical journal BMJ, around half of the participants were medical marijuana users and the other half were not. They found that, in the short term, marijuana quickly contributed to sleepless participants in the 128-person study falling asleep through the night.
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However, the study also found that patients with chronic pain might develop a tolerance to marijuana. This led to insomnia and difficulty getting to bed on time. For the group as a whole, 24.1% stated that they constantly woke up early and could not go back to sleep, while 20.2% stated that they always had difficulty falling asleep. Another 27.2% said they had slept intermittently or woke up constantly in the middle of the night.
When comparing marijuana users and non-users, the study found that marijuana users generally didn’t wake up until the morning after falling asleep.
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“[Medical cannabis] Its use may have an overall positive effect on maintaining sleep during the night in patients with chronic pain, ”the study concluded. “At the same time tolerance of potential sleep-inducing properties of [medical cannabis] can occur with frequent use. “
The scientists behind the study suggested that more research is needed to better determine how often and what effectiveness of medicine patients with chronic pain should receive when it comes to marijuana. It’s also worth noting that daily use of sleeping pills is not recommended.