Did you know that almost 80 percent of Americans will suffer from insomnia at least once in their lifetime? A recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,267 adults showed that at least one-third of them used an over the counter pill or prescription drug to help them get to sleep or stay asleep. Moreover, most of the conventional insomnia treatments they tried in the previous year were either ineffective or had adverse side effects. Doesn’t sound very promising, does it?
Sleeping pills overall showed limited benefits with serious risks associated with their use. In fact, the overall consensus was that sleeping pills should just be reserved for short-term sleeplessness caused by special circumstances like jet lag, a death in the family or stress from a job loss. For insomnia lasting more than a couple of weeks, studies show that CBD holds the most promise.
CBD, the non-psychoactive component in the cannabis plant, is gaining popularity among many insomnia sufferers. It interacts with our endocannabinoid system, which maintains our bodies' state of balance and stability, or homeostasis. For example, a 2017 review of sleep and cannabis in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports shows CBD affects sleep directly, at least as part of their preliminary research. What’s more is that CBD holds promise for those suffering from insomnia caused by PTSD.
So, how exactly does CBD help with insomnia? Research shows CBD helps with insomnia by addressing one of its leading causes—anxiety and stress. For example, The Permanente Journal, which the Kaiser-Permanente health insurance company publishes, showed in preclinical and clinical trials that CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system. The Colorado-based researchers examined the health records of 72 patients using CBD to treat anxiety or poor sleep. Its three-month's study reveals that anxiety levels declined in people whose main complaint was poor sleep.
Moreover, Joseph Maroon, a clinical professor and neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researched how CBD affects the brain. His work found that CBD has chemical properties that can assist some people to also sleep better. He notes that it does this by easing pain and anxiety, again- key culprits that make it difficult for people to sleep well. This effect is possible because relaxes the body by interacting with its endocannabinoid system.
Interest in CBD as a treatment for insomnia has exploded, a recent surge in scientific publications has found that it improves sleep quality in clinical populations. So, when did you realize that CBD could help with sleep disorders? If you did in the recent past, then you have just joined an ancient bandwagon that has been around for thousands of years. Many different cultures have used cannabis to treat a plethora of ailments- including sleep.
In fact, people across the world-- especially in the Far East, have been using cannabis to treat insomnia for hundreds many thousands of years. For example, the Atharvaveda, a Hindu text that dates back to 1,500 BC mentions its usage. The Chinese describe its use for sleep disorders in their medical texts dating back as early as 1,200 AD.
Poor sleep has been a health concern and challenge since the beginning of time with people using cannabis to fight insomnia for much of recorded history. This remedy works effectively due to its interaction with the body's endocannabinoid system. Therefore, millions of Americans battling insomnia are resorting to it even as scientific research grows. While more studies are needed, the effects of CBD on sleep and specifically on sleeplessness caused by anxiety, can no longer be denied.
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