Insomnia is the main reason I obtained by medical marijuana card. Like many who suffer from mental health illnesses or addiction, I find insomnia is the No. 1 trigger for my anxiety. Ever since high school, I remember sleepless nights watching the clock strike 3 a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m. …
Although marijuana doesn’t help my insomnia per se — I take a prescribed sleep aid for that — it definitely helps me relax. I remember smoking an Indica-labeled strain for the first time and thinking, “Yes!” Finally, this is something that slowed my thoughts, calmed my nerves, and made me tired. Having some OG on deck at all times gave me a sense of security.
Medical marijuana psychiatrist Dr. Matt Roman said, “Marijuana is an effective sleep aid because it restores a person’s natural sleep cycle, which so often falls out of sync with our schedules in today’s modern lifestyle.”
I was reminded of this topic during my most recent encounter with insomnia while on vacation. Doesn’t that sound like a contradiction? I had finally made it on the cruise after departing New York, and we had three days at sea before hitting Bermuda. Little did I know the struggle that awaited.
This was Norwegian Cruise Lines, which was designed to provide the most relaxing, most deserving, most memorable vacation/Fourth of July of my life. I’m a wanderer, so traveling is a huge pastime of mine. I usually have no problems sleeping elsewhere, and typically sleep better in hotels.
My typical medication for insomnia is a low dose of Seroquel, which I have discovered to be the least harmful medication for me. I take Seroquel every night, so the nights on the cruise should have been no different, right? I was wrong.
After night one, I found myself unable to fall asleep for hours. I had my own room, my own bed, my own lair — all factors that lead to a good night’s sleep.
An article by Healthline reported, “Whether you have a sleep disorder or you’re having difficulty sleeping after a stressful day, cannabis could help you.” CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis, specifically may help treatment insomnia with its therapeutic potential and may hold promise in helping with REM sleep behavior disorder. Furthermore, the analgesic properties in marijuana could provide relief for those with chronic pain, while the anti-anxiety properties could help with physically and mentally de-stressing.
Notably, some studies have found that THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis, may decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, but also reduces the quality of sleep in the long run.
I lay there frustrated and thought about how badly I could use a joint, just to calm my nerves. I thought of my brother next door who has no problems sleeping, and suffers from no mental health disorders. I think of how jealous I am and how I fall in the 10 percent of Americans who suffer from chronic insomnia.
Night two came around, and again, and I sprung out of bed after three hours. Night three came around, and all I could think about was another sleepless night. I dreaded the possibility of not being able to get rest again — what a vicious cycle.
Cannabis, where you at?