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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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:   

www.integroclinics.com 
Email: Contact@integroclinics.com
Twitter: @clinicsintegro

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Five ways to take CBD for a restful night’s sleep

Sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing, with somewhere between seven to nine hours being optimum to help ensure we feel rested

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Orange County CBD explains how CBD may help with issues such as insomnia, poor sleep and difficulties relaxing before going to bed.

Could CBD help us to get better sleep?

Research shows that more than a third of UK adults struggle to get to sleep on at least a weekly basis, and one in five people has this issue every night. 

It’s no wonder that Google estimates there are more than 100,000 UK searches every month search for things like ‘can’t sleep’, ‘insomnia’ and ‘help with sleep’.

Sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing, with somewhere between seven to nine hours being optimum to help ensure we feel rested and have the energy needed to go about our day. Sleep is when the body performs essential functions such as repairing muscles and tissue and a good sleep cycle is considered to be hugely significant in maintaining good health, physically and mentally.

Can CBD help you sleep?

The scientific studies into the effects and benefits of CBD are still in relatively early stages, but many early signs are promising when it comes to potentially supporting healthy sleep, wake cycles in some people who take it regularly and over a sustained period of time.

Many of those who take CBD say that it aids relaxation, which in turn can help them to fall asleep more quickly than they otherwise would. Here are some tips for different ways to take CBD that could help you get a more restful night’s sleep.

Orange County CBD: A cup of tea with a bottle of CBD beside it

CBD oil just before bedtime

Those who prefer oil as their product of choice can take it before bed in a couple of different ways. For some, drops of CBD oil under their tongue is a fast-acting way to get it into the system, as is a spray into the back of the mouth. Alternatively, some people prefer to take their nightly dose of CBD oil in their bedtime drink. Making your CBD a part of your nightly routine makes it much less likely that you’ll forget to take it.

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A CBD gummy or two before you sleep

Whilst CBD gummies are a great option at any time of the day, taking a couple of them before bed can be a good way to aid relaxation at the right time to help you get off to a sweet night’s sleep. Each gummy has a set dose so it’s really simple to keep track of dosing.

CBD face cream before bed

Making CBD part of your nightly skincare routine can help not only keep your skin hydrated but can also help you get a night-time dose quickly and easily. With a CBD face cream, you apply it topically just like you would with any other face cream product, but you get all of the potential benefits of CBD at the same time as looking after your skin.

CBD: A tub of CBD face cream

Level up the relaxation with a bath bomb

Taking a warm bath before bed can be a great way to relax and by adding in a CBD bath bomb, you can dial up the self-care by getting a dose at the same time. With a blend of citrus scents, Epsom salts, essential oils and, of course, CBD oil too, this bath bomb can become part of your regular relaxation routine after a busy or stressful day.

A pre-night-time vape

If you’re a vaper, whether you use rechargeable or disposable vapes, you may well already vape in the lead-up to bedtime. Using high-quality CBD e-liquid in your vape could be a great way to take a dose of CBD at a key time when you’re going through your normal bedtime routine.

As CBD seems to be most effective when taken regularly and over a sustained period of time, it’s recommended to take your nightly dose (however you choose to do it) for at least a few weeks if you hope to improve your sleep.

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If you haven’t taken it before, it’s also best to start with a lower dose and gradually increase this over time if needed.

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Could CBD and CBN help with improving sleep quality and duration?

A new partnership between CBDistillery and ReLeaf App examined CBD and CBN for sleep with plans for more studies to follow

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A new study from Denver based company CBDistillery and ReLeaf App revealed that CBN with CBD may help to improve sleep duration and quality.

The study using MoreBetter’s tech stake analysed how CBD and cannabinol (CBN) can be combined to improve sleep. The data was collected through the app, MoreBetter ( Releaf App). The app offers patients a way to track and record their cannabis and CBD use.

As well as the app, almost 2000 participants were given CBDistillery‘s Regular Sleep Synergy tincture which contains 150mg CBN and 450mg CBD for 31 days.

CBD and CBN

The results of the study revealed that those who regularly used the tincture found it easier to remain asleep. They also reported 30 to 40 minutes of extra sleep on average.

Of those who participated, 72 per cent said that the combination of CBD and CBN in the tincture performed better than any other sleep aid they had previously tried.  A further 81 per cent stated that they had better quality sleep when they were using the sleep tincture and 61 per cent felt refreshed in the morning.

The company are aiming to research CBN, CBG and anxiety next. It is thought that CBG may offer additional benefits for those struggling with anxiety disorders.

Chase Terwilliger, CEO of Balanced Health Botanicals said: “One of our focuses has always been to increase consumer education about CBD. To do so, we believe that more research and data is needed within the industry for consumers to fully understand how CBD can benefit their overall wellness routines. That’s why we’re so excited to see this first round of results in our ongoing partnership with MoreBetter.”

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“We believe these findings show that when combined, certain cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBN, can work better together than apart to help amplify what we know to be the entourage effect. Next, we will look at how CBG and CBD can help impact those suffering from mild or temporary anxiety, and we’re eager to see what those results will reveal.”

What is CBN?

Cannabinol (CBN) is another compound like THC or CBD that is found in the cannabis plant. CBN is created when THC begins to age. THC slowly breaks down into CBN when exposed to heat or light over time and can be found in older plants.

CBN may have once been considered a waste product but it is now becoming recognised for its health benefits. However, it is worth noting that CBN is still illegal in the UK, unlike CBD. Other cannabinoids such as THC, THC-V, THC-A are also illegal. In the US, CBN legality may depend on the state but there are some companies that have started to create oils and skincare with CBN to boost the CBD content.

CBN has long been associated with sleep although there are not a lot of studies to confirm this. It is thought that older cannabis plants may make people feel sleepy. CBN has shown promise when it comes to ADHD in small studies. One study from 2020 shows a positive result on 59 patients with the condition as those on the higher doses were potentially able to reduce their medication.

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Mental health

Could cannabis before bed help with insomnia?

Canadian researchers examined if Indica or Sativa strains could make a difference to insomnia symptoms

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A new study revealed that cannabis used before bedtime can help to reduce the symptoms of insomnia.

Insomnia is a condition where a person experiences persistent problems with falling asleep or staying asleep. One in three people in the UK, according to the NHS suffer from routine bouts of sleeplessness. This can have an adverse effect on a person’s mental health causing depression or anxiety over time.

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Researchers from Ontario examined if cannabis could help with insomnia by collecting data through an app that recorded the experiences of 991 patients. The participants were asked to use cannabis products at home then record changes to their symptoms through Strainprint. Strainprint is a ‘cannabis journal’ that logs patients usage allowing them to see patterns and track changes to their health over time.

The patients recorded 24,189 sessions over a three year period starting in 2017. The results showed that cannabinoids were effective across all genders and ages despite different product forms and consumption methods.

They noted that while all strains were effective, it was predominantly Indica strains that were found to reduce sleep disorders more than CBD strains.

Indica hybrid strains also presented a reduction in insomnia compared to CBD strains.

Insomnia and cannabis

Researchers wrote: “Results from this large naturalistic sample of medicinal cannabis users who tracked their insomnia symptoms before and after cannabis use suggest significant improvements in insomnia symptoms. … Although all strains were reported to be beneficial for the management of insomnia, predominant Indica and Indica hybrid strains were found to be more efficacious than [were] CBD and predominant Sativa strains.”

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“This general perceived improvement in insomnia symptoms highlights the potential for cannabis to be used as a treatment option for sleep disorders. Future research should investigate the benefits and harms of cannabinoids for insomnia through rigorous randomised placebo-controlled trials.”

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