As has been discussed in this author’s previous posts, consistent and optimal sleep quality and duration are paramount in maintaining health and homeostasis. Sleep hygiene, to include consistent sleeping times, dark rooms, cool temperatures, and the use of blue light-blocking glasses were covered as low cost/low risk interventions. However, when necessary and where indicated, an additional protocol may also have a place in achieving meaningful and restorative sleep; cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As such, the following will briefly explore CBD/THC use and its relationship to sleep in greater detail.

This author resides in Canada, where the recreational and therapeutic use of cannabis products are legal. As such, one is able to speak freely about the potential health benefits, and use,  of cannabis products. The cannabis plant and its derivatives has been produced and used for centuries through two main species: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.1 Furthermore, said plant has in over 80 chemicals called cannabinoids; two of which are widely known as THC and CBD.1(1) Of particular relevance is CBD/THC, their relationship to sleep quality and duration, and relative effectiveness when juxtaposed to pharmacological interventions.

Kuhathasan et al2 stated that available pharmacological options for insomnia and primary sleep disorders include non-benzodiazepine and benzodiazepines hypnotics. Furthermore, several other medications are used, off-label, for the treatment of poor sleep, to include neuroleptics like chlorpromazine/quetiapine and anti-depressants (i.e., mirtazapine, trazodone,), and neuroleptics. However, Kuhathasan et al2(398) noted that many of said medications, despite effectiveness in mitigating poor sleep, have been limited by adverse events to include weight gain, metabolic syndrome, addiction, and daytime drowsiness. Such unfavorable outcomes should behoove one to, at least, consider better alternatives for restoring sleep hygiene.

Cannabinoid receptors within a human are critical for immunity, pain relief, mood, other functions, andsleep.3 As mentioned previously, there are more than 80 active different cannabinoids within cannabis/hemp oil, though THC and CBD have been the most heavily researched substances within said plant.3(21) Most interestingly, Teitelbaum3(23) stated that hemp derivatives have been shown to reduce muscle tightness, nerve pain, inflammation, while improving neurotransmitter levels, reducing arthritic symptoms, and minimizing cancer-related pain. Such is relevant because many individuals may lose sleep as a secondary outcome from the presence of pain; a frequent primary driver of inadequate sleep.3(23)

In conclusion, consistent and optimal sleep quality and duration are paramount in maintaining health and homeostasis. Sleep hygiene, to include consistent sleeping times, dark rooms, cool temperatures, and the use of blue light-blocking glasses are all reasonable low risk/low cost interventions. However, if said protocols do not normalize one’s sleep, the inclusion of CBD/THC, preferably guided by a family physician, may provide another low-risk and likely effective option.

References

1. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes, et al. Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series. Perm J. 2019;23:1-5.doi:doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041.
2. Kuhathasan N, Dufort A, MacKillop J, et al. The use of cannabinoids for sleep: A critical review on clinical trials. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2018;27(4):383-401. doi:10.1037/pha0000285.
3. Teitelbaum J. A hemp oil, CBD, and marijuana primer: Powerful pain, insomnia, and anxiety-relieving tools! Altern Ther Health Med. 2019;25(S2):21-23. http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.libproxy.bridgeport.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=13&sid=099badb8-3b9c-467f-bd98-db7fc756c90a%40pdc-v-sessmgr04. Accessed February 20, 2020.

 

-Michael McIsaac