Cannabinoids and sleep

I was not looking forward to writing this, in part, due to my love-hate relationship with cannabinoids: on one hand, they show potential in many difficult-to-treat conditions; on the other hand, some psychiatric risks and this (CB receptor activation is diabetogenic).

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Further, don’t underestimate the complexity of cannabis plants and the endocannabinoid signaling system.

The cannabinoids (Babson et al., 2017):

-THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis (also in drug form as Nabilone)

-CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis

-Dronabinol, a highly purified synthetic (-)-trans-D9-THC. It’s actually 2-3x weaker than Nabilone (which is a further testament to the complexity of this system, imo).

Nabiximols (Sativex), a roughly 1:1 combination of THC & CBD.

To be clear, the main therapeutic use of cannabinoids is anti-emetic (prevents vomiting) & appetite-stimulation in some conditions (eg, cancer, HIV). The more interesting part, imo, is some of the human studies (discussed below) on people with difficult-to-treat conditions, who also sleep poorly, where any improvement in sleep quality inevitably improves their condition.

This article is specifically on sleep. I’ll do follow-ups on anxiety and maybe inflammation if you’re interested. Let me know!

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