- Feb 5, 2021
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Can CBD Help Sleep Apnea?
The effectiveness of medical marijuana as a treatment for different conditions has always been a hot topic. Proponents of its medical use swear by it and how it has changed their lives. However, researchers are still hesitant about whether to include it as a suitable treatment option. Most of the marijuana-based drugs available in the market either constitute Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or Cannabidiol (CBD). Of the two, CBD-based treatments are the most prevalent, and many of them are FDA approved.
Medical marijuana can also be a treatment option for certain sleep disorders such as insomnia. It also works well to manage symptoms that cause sleep disorders, including chronic pain and anxiety. For this reason, many are now asking the question, ‘’can CBD help sleep apnea?’’ The short answer is, there is no short answer.
Why is there a debate?
Those who use marijuana, either medically or recreationally, often report better sleep. A further claim is that there are many CBD treatments available that treat insomnia, which is a symptom of sleep apnea. However, medical professionals and researchers disagree. They claim that CBD cannot be a fully-fledged treatment as it only cures the symptom and not the condition. They further state that they need to conduct more research to understand the working of the treatment better. Researchers claim that a lack of understanding of sleep apnea is what is causing all the debate.
Where is the misunderstanding?
Sleep apnea is a result of an obstruction of your airway during sleep. It occurs in individuals who have a narrower air passage or when the airway muscles collapse during sleep. The condition can be congenital or a result of lifestyle. Among sleep apnea symptoms are insomnia, snoring, gagging, and a dry mouth when you wake up.
The misunderstanding occurs in whether CBD treats the entire condition or just parts of it. According to sleep professionals, CBD treatments help you sleep better and not manage sleep apnea.
How do CBD treatments help with sleep disorders?
The American Sleep Association identifies that both THC and CBD work on the endocannabinoid system of the body. The system is responsible for governing sleep, mood, and appetite. It comprises two receptors, namely CB1 and CB2. THC attaches to the CB1 receptors, and that is where you get your high from, whereas CBD attaches to the CB2 receptors. Most marijuana users report feeling drowsy after experiencing the high, but it is unclear how this comes about.
Research is ongoing to understand better the effects of CBD on CB2 receptors and whether it can treat other sleep disorders. For now, CBD treatments help you manage pain and anxiety, all of which contribute to poor sleep and insomnia.
What is the current stance?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, medical marijuana is not a viable treatment for sleep apnea. They further state that they cannot issue a clear directive on the same until they do more research into the subject. The main points they raise as contentious are:
- It is still unknown what the correct dosage is for different age groups
- The side effects of continued use are still unclear.
- The exact form of treatment is still not clear.
As studies are still ongoing on the above, they cannot offer a proper recommendation on whether CBD can help with sleep apnea.
There are valid points on either side of the spectrum. However, the organizations with the mandate to manage treatments have still not validated the claim. Until then, it is best to maintain what has been proven and see what the future holds.