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Could cannabis medicines be the answer to your insomnia?

Many adults experience short-term (acute) insomnia, which can last for days or weeks.



Insomnia image

Integro Clinics pain consultant Dr Anthony Ordman, sheds light on how using them can be of real benefit to fibromyalgia patients struggling with insomnia.

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it difficult to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. You may still feel tired when you wake up.

Over time unsatisfactory sleep can sap not only your energy levels and mood but also affect your health, work and quality of life. How much sleep is enough varies from person to person, but most adults need seven to eight hours a night.

At some point, many adults experience short-term (acute) insomnia, which can last for days or weeks. It’s usually the result of stress or a traumatic event. But some people have long-term (chronic) insomnia that lasts for months or more. Insomnia may be the primary problem or it may be associated with other medical conditions or medications.

Insomnia and fibromyalgia

Dr Anthony Ordman, senior medical consultant at Integro Medical Clinics, believes that insomnia can often stop the body from completely relaxing and that this can lead to patients experiencing pain and tight muscles the following day.

“Normally, in the deepest stages of healthy sleep, the body undergoes deep muscle relaxation, and our brain stores the memories of the previous day while, at the same time, toxins are flushed out of the brain’s nerve cells. But if deep sleep doesn’t happen, night after night, then it’s not difficult to see that tight, painful muscles and brain fog may occur, along with changes such as the spinal cord neuro-chemical imbalances,” said Dr Ordman.

“Potentially adding to this problem; if you treat insomnia and its ensuing anxiety with drugs like Zopiclone or other benzodiazepines, it doesn’t improve deep sleep, only sleep duration. They can also lead to dependency.”

This is particularly evident in conditions, such as fibromyalgia.

Dr Ordman said: “Using fibromyalgia as an example, there is no one conventional medicine to treat this condition. Nerve pain medicines and anti-depressant medicines are often tried.  These sometimes do help, but more often add their own side effects to the patient’s difficulties. Most conventional pain medicines such as morphine, amitriptyline and gabapentin/pregabalin, which are available for long-term pain, do not really work effectively for pain in the body’s spinal cord and central nervous system.

“By contrast, cannabis medicines have their main effect there.  As I am now seeing, cannabis medicines can offer effective treatment for fibromyalgia, as they seem to re-balance and regulate the human body’s endocannabinoid system, to reduce pain and spasms, and restore a more normal sleep pattern. The same can be said for a range of long-term medical conditions in which you see the same pattern and side effects occurring.”

Nerve pain and long-term injury pain, that prevents the patient from achieving a comfortable and restful sleeping position at night, will also result in disturbed sleep.

Insomnia and THC

Integro Clinics patient, Sara Smith, told us: “Post an accident from which I received damage to my C4 and C5 vertebrae I found it very difficult to achieve any decent periods of continuous sleep at night. I was uncomfortable and would wake with nerve pain and pins and needles down my left-hand side. I originally began my cannabis medicines treatment with a mix of THC and CBD oil, which I would use during the day for longer-lasting pain relief, but my personal treatment plan was eventually tailored to allow for a stronger THC only oil at night.”

She added: “This definitely helped me get to sleep and extended how long I slept continuously. I was also experiencing menopause, which I know also contributes to insomnia, so I would say that the CBMP’s were helpful all around. I was also able to come off the prescription diazepam I was taking to help me get to sleep. This made me feel awful the next day – really drowsy and thick-headed. The cannabis medicines never have this effect on me.”

Integro Medical Clinics Ltd always recommend remaining under the care and treatment of your GP and specialist for your condition while using cannabis-based medicines. The Integro clinical team would always prefer to work in collaboration with them.

If you would like further information or to speak to Dr Anthony Ordman please contact Integro Clinics: 
Twitter: @clinicsintegro

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