Medical Marijuana: Sleeping Medicine

“The most frequent comment by those ignorant of the medical properties of cannabis or those believing the U.S. Government’s propaganda, is that marijuana patients use it only to get “high” which incidentally can be somewhat like a Starbucks espresso jolt or maybe two or three martinis.

Anybody who knows anything at all about marijuana knows that it causes euphoria or a feeling of well being. After all, isn’t that why we take medicine when we are sick—to feel better?

At any rate, marijuana users, as medical patients of which there are at least 400,000 with legal permits, or as many as ten million “illegal” users who use it instead of alcohol, tobacco, prescription tranquilizers or antidepressants, have found it beneficial for a wide variety of illnesses and diseases.

It is certain that the euphoria or feeling of comfort is very important for all these conditions. If some ignorant people consider that to be getting high, no users will disagree.

Many medical patients use it only in the evening to enable them to sleep. This is true especially with those in chronic pain, which represents about 70 percent of patients. Pain frequently or even most usually prevents sleep and some patients tell me, “if I can get a decent night’s sleep, I can fight alligators all day”.

Sleeping pills are prescribed mostly for those in pain who cannot sleep without those pills. The crazy thing about this is that many or maybe most sleeping pills are as addicting as heroin. Valium, the most prescribed sleeping pill for many years, produced millions of addicts, and there are many valium-like drugs with similar problems.

In my experience with 4,000 plus patients, I was told by hundreds that by using marijuana they were able to cut down or eliminate completely most prescription sleeping pills.

The U.S. Government purports that marijuana is addicting. This is not so. If a person uses it frequently to relieve or control pain, the patient wants relief. Does that mean he is addicted to relief? If one takes aspirin everyday, is he addicted to aspirin? To me, the comparison is valid.

One of the critical signs of addiction is uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Most marijuana users will run out of their medicine once in a while. Do they get withdrawal symptoms? If so, they are very minor, like running out of aspirin.

It is known that very heavy marijuana use (which is uncommon because it costs more than gold) can cause mild withdrawal symptoms, such as disrupted sleep and nervousness (from Merck Manual).

I think the final coup de grace is also given by the Merck Manual “any drug which causes euphoria and diminishes anxiety can cause dependence” (not addiction—my comment).”-

Dr. Phillip Leveque

Cannabis for better sleep

“The use of both natural cannabinoids and cannabis extracts are associated with improved sleep in patients with various debilitating illnesses, according to a review of clinical trial data published in the journal Chemistry & Biodiversity.

“Cannabis … has been utilized for [the] treatment of pain and sleep disorders since ancient times,” authors wrote. “Modern clinical trials indicate that patients administered cannabis extracts report experiencing “more restful sleep, [an] increase [in] their daytime level of function, and [a] markedly improve[d] … quality of life.”

According to available data, of the 2,000 subjects that have been administered cannabis extracts in clinical trials, most “demonstrate marked improvement in subjective sleep parameters.”

Trial volunteers have not reported developing tolerance to the drug, even after using it for several years.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis, pain, and sleep: Lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine,” appears in the journal Chemistry & Biodiversity.”

Cannabis ‘helped woman to sleep’

“A YOUNG mother using cannabis to help her sleep has been given the benefit of the probation act at Wexford District Court.

Shelly Donnelly, Moortown Great, Ballmitty, had pleaded guilty to the possession of cannabis at her home on June 11, 2010.

Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla heard that the property at Moortown Great was searched and a small quantity of cannabis herb was found. It was for Donnelly’s own use.

Eva Lalor, for Donnelly, said her client is 24years-old and has a fiveyear-old daughter with her long-term partner.

Ms Lalor said Donnelly was suffering from insomnia following a family bereavement and was using cannabis to help her sleep. Donnelly, who has no previous convictions, is now on medication to help her sleep.

Judge O Buachalla gave her the benefit of the probation act, saying that he hopes she has learnt her lesson from the experience.”

Stab victim started taking cannabis to sleep

A YOUNG man started smoking cannabis herb to help him sleep after he was stabbed through the heart and lungs, a court heard. Francis Kelly (23) spent two weeks in intensive care, and started taking the drug after he came out of hospital….

He was in intensive care for two weeks and was on tablets while he was in hospital.

Mr O’Doherty said that Kelly couldn’t sleep when he left hospital and he started taking it to help him relax.”


Cannabis helped night worker sleep

Mark Jackson has escaped without having a conviction recorded for his latest drug offences. 
Mark Jackson has escaped without having a conviction recorded for his latest drug offences.

HOSPITALITY manager Mark Jackson has been fined for possessing marijuana, which he smoked after night work to help him get some sleep.

Jackson has a history of drug use dating back to 2000, when the Supreme Court gave him a suspended jail sentence for supplying drugs.

However, his last drug-related offence was in 2005.

Jackson, a 48-year-old who supports four dependents, pleaded guilty in Mackay Magistrate’s Court yesterday to the unlawful possession of a small amount of marijuana and a pipe last October 20.

Police executed a search warrant at his Andergrove home at 12.45am and Jackson was the sole occupant, prosecutor Constable Janelle Young said.

Asked if he had anything to declare, he said he had a bong beside his bed.

A homemade pipe and a small amount of marijuana were found.

He told police he had smoked some marijuana that morning, after night work, because it helped him to sleep.

The items were seized and he was issued with a property receipt.

Duty lawyer John Aberdeen said Jackson “holds a managerial position in hospitality” and did mostly night work.

His previous convictions in 2000 and 2005 were acknowledged but the new offences involved only a small amount of drugs for personal use, Mr Aberdeen said.

Mr Aberdeen asked for no conviction to be recorded because of the length of time that had elapsed since the last offence.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer imposed a fine of $600 and ordered that no conviction be recorded.”

Smoking Cannabis Reduces Pain, Helps Sleep And Improves Mood For Those With Chronic Symptoms

“For patients with chronic (long-term) neuropathic pain, smoking cannabis was found to reduce symptoms of pain, improve mood and help sleep, a report published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Journal Association) revealed. When damage or dysfunction of the nervous system results in chronic neuropathic pain, patients have few treatment options, such as antidepressants, local anesthetics, anticonvulsants or opioids. However, these medications often have undesirable side effects and do not work for everybody.

The authors inform that oral cannabinoids have been effective in reducing the symptoms of some types of pain. However, they many have different effects and risks compared to smoked cannabis.

Investigators from McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University carried out a randomized, controlled trial to determine the analgesic effect of smoked cannabis in 21 patients, aged 18 years or more, all of them with chronic neuropathic pain. THC levels (drug potencies) were divided into 2.5%, 6% and 9.4%. Some participants also received a placebo (0%).

The researchers inform that there was a correlation between increased THC content and better sleep quality. Symptoms of depression and/or anxiety were also reduced at 9.5% THC level.”


The nonpsychoactive Cannabis constituent cannabidiol is a wake-inducing agent.

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a constituent of Cannabis sativa that induces nonpsychotropic effects, and some of its biological actions in sleep have been described by the authors’ group.

 Here, the authors report that when administered 10 or 20 microg/1 microl during the lights-on period directly into either lateral hypothalamus (LH) or dorsal raphe nuclei (DRN), which are wake-inducing brain areas, CBD enhanced wakefulness and decreased slow wave sleep and REM sleep. Furthermore, CBD increased alpha and theta power spectra but diminished delta power spectra. Additionally, CBD increased c-Fos expression in LH or DRN.

These findings suggest that this cannabinoid is a wake-inducing compound that presumably activates neurons in LH and DRN.”

Cannabidiol, a constituent of Cannabis sativa, modulates sleep in rats.

“Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two major constituents of Cannabis sativa. Delta(9)-THC modulates sleep, but no clear evidence on the role of CBD is available.

In order to determine the effects of CBD on sleep, it was administered intracerebroventricular (icv) in a dose of 10 microg/5 microl at the beginning of either the lights-on or the lights-off period. We found that CBD administered during the lights-on period increased wakefulness (W) and decreased rapid eye movement sleep (REMS). No changes on sleep were observed during the dark phase. Icv injections of CBD (10 microg/5microl) induced an enhancement of c-Fos expression in waking-related brain areas such as hypothalamus and dorsal raphe nucleus (DRD). Microdialysis in unanesthetized rats was carried out to characterize the effects of icv administration of CBD (10 microg/5 microl) on extracellular levels of dopamine (DA) within the nucleus accumbens. CBD induced an increase in DA release. Finally, in order to test if the waking properties of CBD could be blocked by the sleep-inducing endocannabinoid anandamide (ANA), animals received ANA (10 microg/2.5 microl, icv) followed 15 min later by CBD (10 microg/2.5 microl). Results showed that the waking properties of CBD were not blocked by ANA.

 In conclusion, we found that CBD modulates waking via activation of neurons in the hypothalamus and DRD. Both regions are apparently involved in the generation of alertness. Also, CBD increases DA levels as measured by microdialysis and HPLC procedures.

Since CBD induces alertness, it might be of therapeutic value in sleep disorders such as excessive somnolence.”

[The modulatory role of endocannabinoids in sleep].

“The endogenous cannabinoid, or endocannabinoid, system is present in the central nervous system (CNS) of rodents and humans. This system includes receptors, endogenous ligands and enzymes. The presence of cannabinoid receptors, called CB1, in the CNS has been reported in the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus, the cerebellum and the brain stem. This neuroanatomical location suggests that this receptor could modify several physiological functions, such as the consolidation of memory, motor control and the generation of sleep.


Recent reports have described the presence of lipids in the CNS that bind to the CB1 receptor. Administration of said molecules induces cannabimimetic effects, and hence it has been suggested that these lipids are endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids. Anandamide, 2-arachidonylglycerol, virodhamine, noladin ether and N-arachidonyldopamine are molecules that belong to the endocannabinoid family. Anandamide has received more attention from researchers because it was the first endocannabinoid to be reported. Pharmacological experiments have shown that this endocannabinoid induces several different intracellular and behavioural changes.


In this study, we review the most important pharmacological aspects of exogenous cannabinoids and the neurobiological role played by the endocannabinoid system, including endogenous and exogenous ligands and receptors. We also examine their pharmacological effects on different behaviours, with particular attention given to the modulation of sleep.”

The role of the CB1 receptor in the regulation of sleep.

“During the 1990s, transmembranal proteins in the central nervous system (CNS) that recognize the principal compound of marijuana, the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta9-THC) were described. The receptors were classified as central or peripheral, CB1 and CB2, respectively. To this date, it has been documented the presence in the CNS of specific lipids that bind naturally to the CB1/CB2 receptors.

The family of endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids comprises oleamide, arachidonoylethanolamine, 2-arachidonylglycerol, virodhamine, noladin ether and N-arachidonyldopamine. Pharmacological experiments have shown that those compounds induce cannabimimetic effects. Endocannabinoids are fatty acid derivates that have a variety of biological actions, most notably via activation of the cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoids have an active role modulating diverse neurobiological functions, such as learning and memory, feeding, pain perception and sleep generation.

Experimental evidence shows that the administration of Delta9-THC promotes sleep.

 The activation of the CB1 receptor leads to an induction of sleep, this effect is blocked via the selective antagonist.

Since the system of the endogenous cannabinoids is present in several species, including humans, this leads to the speculation of the neurobiological role of the endocannabinoid system on diverse functions such as sleep modulation.

This review discusses the evidence of the system of the endocannabinoids as well as their physiological role in diverse behaviours, including the modulation of sleep.”