· By Chiru Roy
Using Medicinal Cannabis and Ayurveda to Improve Sleep and Treat Insomnia
Cannabis is regarded as the five essential plants in Vedas, and for a good reason. Medical Cannabis or Vijaya” helps one to attain victory over suffering.
However, so much has been said to mislead about the plant that people often get confused. Its beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Cannabis can be abused, yes. Similarly, anything used in excess is bad. But medicinal cannabis has so much potential to help in various ailments and act as a boon for many mankind, if used in the right way.
We are witnessing a much-needed mind shift with ongoing research and worldwide law reforms that has brought the focus back to the benefits of Medicinal Cannabis.
So, Why Medicinal Cannabis?
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years in India to alleviate pain, relax muscles, stimulate appetite, improve sleep and reduce anxiety.
Cannabis is a vital ingredient in more than 80 traditional Ayurvedic formulas, in varying quantities. For individuals who have Insomnia, it works -
- As an effective sleep aid, as it restores the natural sleep cycle.
- With analgesic properties, it can provide relief from chronic pain,
- Its anti-anxiety properties help calm down mind and body,
- Reduces stress and improves mood
Please be advised that Cannabis is a medicine that works differently on different individuals and thus should be started slowly to analyze its impact and interpret the right dose. It is best consumed under the guidance of a doctor and in moderation.
How is medicinal cannabis associated with sleep?
The herb contains many cannabinoids that affect the body through the endocannabinoid system, located in the endocrine system of the body. This system is the biochemical communication system of the body and regulates our physiology, mood, and everyday experience. The endocrine system regulates the processes such as sleep, energy storage and growth and development. Endocrine system disruption can lead to disorders including anxiety and insomnia.
Cannabinoids have the potential to regulate the endocrine system and improve sleep patterns by decreasing anxiety and enhancing REM sleep.
Common Insomnia Causes
Insomnia can be a result of numerous underlying problems, which, when resolved, can slowly improve sleep. Here are some of the common reasons for insomnia –
- Stress- Life events like the loss of a loved one, traumatic situations, job loss or starting a new job can affect your sleep quality and quantity. Long-term anxiety, panic attacks, and PTSD can trigger chronic insomnia too.
- Irregular sleep schedules – You are likely to disturb your circadian rhythm (body’s internal clock) if you do not have consistent sleep habits. Working in shifts and long flights that cause jet lag are some of the reasons that disrupt regular sleep schedules and confuses the body clock.
- Poor lifestyle and eating habits - Unhealthy habits can give rise to serious sleep issues. Binge-watching TV or using electronic devices till late in the night can keep the brain overstimulated. Also, habits like caffeine, alcohol, eating dinner late and eating spicy foods can sometimes be the culprit for sleep disorders and often go unnoticed. Even poor sleep hygiene can disturb sleep.
- Mental health disorders – People with depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD are at a higher risk of suffering from sleep problems due to the state of their mind and mood.
- Medications- Sleep disorders are probably a side effect of some medication, including blood pressure, hypertension, asthma, thyroid and depression. They can disrupt the normal sleep cycle and result in disorders.
- Medical conditions- Breathing problems like heavy snoring, nasal allergies and asthma can put you at risk of insomnia. The underlying problem for sleep disorders could also be pain or health complications arising from Type 2 Diabetes, menopause, frequent urination and rapid blood sugar swings. Finally, neurological problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia and ADHD have also been found to be linked to insomnia.
Types of Insomnia
- Acute- Also known as short-term or adjustment insomnia, it is the most common type of insomnia and can last somewhere from a few days to weeks. The common cause for this could be a life event or some temporary factor like jet lag or physical discomfort. If symptoms persist for a long-time, it can become chronic insomnia too.
- Chronic – This is a long-term sleep problem that keeps a person awake for at least three nights a week for three months. Likely causes for chronic insomnia can be medical or mental conditions, medications as well as lifestyle choices.
Both acute and chronic insomnia is prevalent in people of all ages but more common in women.
- Onset – When someone has trouble falling asleep and ends up tossing and turning in bed to initiate sleep, it is known as sleep onset insomnia. Caffeine and work shifts are common factors.
- Maintenance – If a person has difficulty sleeping through the night and keeps waking up in the middle of the night, it is referred to as sleep maintenance insomnia. This affects the sleep quality and quantity and makes you feel sluggish during the daytime.
Insomnia Treatment: Which sleep disorders can be treated with Medicinal Cannabis?
We sleep to rest the body and reset the mind for the next day. Imagine the plight of those who cannot get a restful sleep. Medicinal cannabis has proved to be a boon for such patients suffering from a range of sleep disorders. The five most common and precarious sleep disorders that can be benefitted from Cannabis Medicines are mentioned below:
- Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea causes breathing to be interrupted for 10-30 seconds in one go, which causes loss of oxygen, resulting in disturbed sleep.
Unable to fall asleep when you want to can cause a lot of stress. When this happens for a prolonged number of days, it is termed insomnia.
- REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
You must have seen people talking or walking or moving their limbs while in sleep; this is REM Sleep disorder, where the person enacts the dreams.
Hypersomnolence makes people very sleepy during the day. This situation does not get better even after a night-long sleep.
- Restless Leg Syndrome
This disorder creates an irresistible urge to shake your legs. Movement of legs causes a lot of disturbance in falling asleep.
Choose Authentic Products
Vedi Herbals offers 100% organic ayurvedic products, which can help treat your sleep issues-
- Sarpagandha Ghan Vati is one of the best natural medicines by Vedi Herbals to treat insomnia, along with high blood pressure and alcoholism, the most apparent problems of today’s life. Infused with the goodness of Cannabis, it is a good remedy for hypertension and insomnia.
- Cannapain capsule, a full spectrum cannabis leaf extract with balanced Cannabinoids is considered to be ideal for treating insomnia. It supplements phyto-cannabinoids to our own endocannabinoid system and helps to regulate movement, mood, memory, appetite, pain and many other activities.
Ayurvedic Cannabis Medicines also have minor side effects, which can be easily reduced by including the following in your diet:
- Medicinal Cannabis may have heating effects on the body, so try to balance it with other herbs and foods which have qualities pacifying its harmful effects. Consume foods that have cooling, moistening, nourishing effects.
- Ghee is an ideal treat for overall nourishment of the body and digestion. While using cannabis, ghee must be a part of the diet. Therefore, it is also used to purify and prepare cannabis herb to bring out its healing properties.
- Spices such as cumin, coriander, fennel, rose, saffron have cooling digestive qualities; including them in your diet will also help.
- Avoid smoking. But if you have to, grind cannabis and mix it with powdered herbs like licorice, jatamasi, fennel, vacha (calamus), sandalwood, jasmine, etc.
- Pomegranate juice, grape juice and coconut water are very refreshing, cooling, thirst-quenching and improve digestion.
In recent years, Medicinal Cannabis has received immense attention and appreciation due to its enormous medicinal potential. Studies and time have proven that Cannabis medicines are a holistic herbal insomnia treatment.