Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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Weed as sleep-aid: healthy or not?

One of the most common uses of marijuana is for getting a peaceful, uninterrupted night’s sleep. Especially those indica strains. But the question has been brought up many times if this is actually a healthy way to combat insomnia.

In a study from the University of New Mexico, a correlation was found between legalization of marijuana and a drop in sales of sleep aides in that region. The public’s preference on medication is clear here.

However, one of the concerns is the reduction of REM sleep when using marijuana before going to bed. REM (rapid eye movement) is the stage in which we dream, and is crucial for allowing our body to rest. In some cases this is the intention – those who suffer from night terrors or PTSD would prefer to leave any dreaming out of their night. But a sustained lapse in the REM stage of sleep can cause longer lasting exhaustion.

In a recent study published in BMJ Journals, chronic pain patients were observed. Overall, the result seems positive as a short term gain in all-night sleep with much less periods of waking up throughout the night. However, over time a tolerance builds.

“[Medical cannabis] use may have an overall positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night in chronic pain patients,” study authors concluded. “At the same time, tolerance towards potential sleep-inducing properties of [medical cannabis] may occur with frequent use.”

There is much more research that needs to be done, in particular with the long term effects of reduced REM stages of sleep. However, if the choice is between marijuana and over the counter sleep aides, the answer remains much safer and healthier on the marijuana side.

Read more at the Regina Leader-Post.

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