Search
Marijuana Doctors
A New Kind Of Healthcare
Search

Medical Marijuana For Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

Updated on January 28, 2019.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

marijuana for dspd

Sleep disorders, including delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), are conditions that medical cannabis can be particularly helpful for. Because it impacts your sleep, DSPD can affect your quality of life negatively. Symptoms such as insomnia, an inability to fall asleep and excessive daytime sleepiness — all often experienced by people with delayed sleep phase disorder — can be managed with medical marijuana. Learn more about DSPS, its symptoms and how medical marijuana treatment can help.

alternative treatment for dspd

Medical Marijuana as an Alternative Treatment for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

Before we go into how medical marijuana treatment for delayed sleep phase disorder can benefit you, we’ll first see how cannabis interacts with our bodies.

For centuries, marijuana has been used medicinally to treat nausea and pain as well as relieve mood problems like anxiety and depression. In the mid-1960s, researchers identified the initial cannabinoid. Since then, they have conducted further research, identifying over 80 individual cannabinoids. Today, researchers continue to investigate these cannabinoids for their possible disease-fighting and symptom-relieving abilities.

Out of the hundreds of various compounds in the cannabis plant, a few have been of particular focus in studies for decades for their potential therapeutic benefits. These compounds, called cannabinoids, are now used in treating a whole range of symptoms and conditions from pain and sleep to inflammation and anxiety, to cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

The two most common cannabinoids are:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD): CBD is nonpsychoactive so you won’t feel the “high,” and it offers many health benefits.
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): THC is psychoactive and does produce the “high.” It also helps induce sleep, so if you’re looking for strains to help you fall and stay asleep, THC-rich strains are the way to go.

Cannabinoids have numerous potential uses, including helping with pain, anxiety, stress and sleep problems. They affect the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is spread throughout the body and brain.

Researchers have made a great deal of progress in their knowledge and understanding of how CBD produces pain-reducing, anti-inflammatory and calming effects in the body. Scientists know CBD interacts with many various proteins, receptors and other chemicals in the brain. The CBD interactions generate changes in the activity of hormones, neurotransmitters, and other cells. Through these interactions, CBD seems to have the ability to affect many functions of the body from emotional regulation and sleep-wake cycles to pain perception, inflammation, and seizures.

Your body also produces its own cannabinoids as part of your ECS. This ECS regulates many physiological processes, including:

  • Pain perception
  • Mood
  • Cognitive functions
  • Appetite

Studies into medical weed and insomnia show CBD might have potential therapeutic benefit for treating insomnia. THC might reduce how long it takes you to fall asleep short-term, but long-term use could potentially impair quality of sleep.

Research into the investigation of cannabinoids and the sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnea show synthetic cannabinoids like dronabinol and nabilone might provide short-term benefits for sleep apnea because of their regulating effects on serotonin-mediated apneas. CBD could be promising for excessive daytime sleepiness and REM sleep behavior disorder.

How Medical Marijuana Treats Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

Marijuana for delayed sleep phase disorder could potentially help treat these and other symptoms of the condition:

1. Inability to Fall Asleep

Because the herb can help eliminate stress and physically relax, it shouldn’t surprise you marijuana could help you fall asleep quicker, particularly for those treating insomnia and conditions like delayed sleep phase syndrome which interfere with your ability to fall asleep as medical weed relieves many troublesome symptoms. It’s worth taking note, marijuana-infused edibles’ effects can last a few hours, helping you stay asleep longer, however, they do take longer to take effect.

Marijuana strains known for promoting sleepiness include:

  • One to One (Hybrid)
  • Crimea Blue (Hybrid)
  • G-13 Haze (Hybrid)
  • Atomic Northern Lights (Hybrid)

2. Insomnia

Medical pot can be a magnificent sleep aid and is why a lot of consumers have their favorite strain right by their bedside. Even individuals with stubborn insomnia can fall asleep with a nice sedating indica. Indica strains seem to induce stronger, sleepy effects when compared with sativas, which are energizing and uplifting.

insomnia sleep aid

Marijuana strains to try for insomnia are:

  • Purple Urkle (Indica)
  • Tahoe OG Kush (Hybrid)
  • Godfather OG (Indica)
  • Granddaddy Purple (Indica)

3. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

A 2006 study tested CBD effects on animal models in both lights-off and lights-on environments. The researchers found the CBD compound increased alertness when the lights were on and didn’t have any discernable effects when the lights were off. The researchers of the study concluded CBD could have therapeutic promise for individuals with excessive daytime sleepiness from not being able to get a good night’s sleep.

A decent daytime strain will allow you to function all day long. A good daytime strain’s top qualities are its mind-clearing, energizing, focus-enhancing and mood-lifting.

Strains that could help with excessive daytime sleepiness are:

  • Jack Herer (Sativa)
  • Cannatonic (Hybrid)
  • Amnesia Haze (Sativa)
  • Blue Dream (Hybrid)

4. Anxiety and Depression

Depression and anxiety are mental abnormalities that affect people in various aspects of life, including health, productivity, and social life. CBD offers great psychiatric potential.

The goal of one study was to review animal model studies involving the use of CBD as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound. Researchers in the studies performed various experiments on anxiety- and depression-related conditions using the elevated plus maze (EPM), forced swimming test (FST) and Vogel conflict test (VCT).

The studies showed CBD had antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects in the animal models. CBD experiments also showed non-activation of CB1 and CB2 neuroreceptors. Many of the studies showed a good CBD interaction with the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.

Good anxiety and depression strains to try are:

  • Granddaddy Purple (Indica), for anxiety
  • Girl Scout Cookies (Hybrid), for anxiety
  • Pineapple Express (Hybrid), for depression
  • Jack Herer (Sativa), for depression

Side Effects of Medical Marijuana

While medical marijuana treatment can supplement standard medicines and counter side effects, it can also have some of its own side effects such as:

  • Short-term memory loss: Some users experienced increased forgetfulness. While short-term memory loss is only temporary and will go away once the herb has worn off, you can avoid it during the day by changing the time of your treatment.
  • Hunger: Cannabis produces “the munchies.” If your marijuana treatment is making you hungry — and weight gain is not a goal of yours — try eating healthy meals and snacks to fill yourself up.
  • Drowsiness: Chances are this side effect will be a good thing for you if you’re experiencing insomnia or an inability to fall asleep.
  • Thirst or dry mouth: Other than drinking water or another healthy sugar-free beverage, you can try chewing xylitol gum to stimulate your saliva glands.

use medical marijuana for dspd

The Best Ways to Use Medical Marijuana for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

Most individuals ingest cannabis by smoking it with a pipe or as a joint. But smoking the herb can potentially harm your lungs, particularly for individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma.

If you prefer not to smoke because you want to protect your lungs, you can try vaporizers or tinctures, which you drop under your tongue. Each of these methods of using cannabis is ideal for sleep.

You may also want to try adding some of the herb to tea and drinking it before bed. Or, you can infuse cannabis in edibles and have a therapeutic bedtime snack.

The setting in which you use your treatment will affect your experience. A supportive and quiet environment is less likely to lead to anxiety and paranoia, which some users have experienced. You should note some individuals are more sensitive to cannabis’s effects and could have stronger reactions than others. Therefore, you’ll want to start with low doses and work your way up.

Explore How to Start Medical Marijuana for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Treatment

Finding a reliable dispensary and qualified cannabis doctor are two essential steps to beginning your marijuana treatment plan for delayed sleep phase disorder. A licensed, experienced medical weed doctor can recommend your treatment for you. Staff at a dispensary will have the proper knowledge to point you in the direction of the products you would benefit from the most.

What Is Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes delayed sleep phase syndrome as a circadian rhythm disorder affecting teens and young adults. Typical onset occurs between 10 and 20 years old. Many people between the ages of 18 and 25 reports having sleep difficulties.

A study conducted in Tottori, Japan, involving nearly 5,000 junior high, high school and university students determined the disorder has a prevalence of nearly a half of a percent among all students tested, almost a tenth of a percent amongst the youngest, and more than 1.5 percent prevalence amongst the oldest students tested. The American Sleep Association (ASA) suggests the numbers are much higher than the Japanese study indicates, with the condition affecting as many as 15 percent of adults and teens.

If you’re a student or young employee with delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), it can be difficult for you to follow normal sleep patterns for waking and sleeping, resulting in difficulty for you to get up for school or at normal starting times.

Causes of Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

While no exact medical cause has been pinpointed for causing delayed sleep phase disorder, a couple of prominent ideas about possible causes include:

1. Trauma to individual patients: DSPS is more common among patients who have experienced head traumas, like traumatic brain injury (TBI), or serious illnesses. The theory behind this is that your body’s natural attempts to heal itself may inadvertently disrupt the normal circadian rhythm in such as a way that your normal clock cannot “resync” without assistance.

causes of delayed sleep phase

2. Lifestyle contributions: Another theory is that lifestyle considerations, such as participation in work-at-home jobs, late night gaming sessions, staying up late to complete homework and study for exams or artistic careers that involve irregular work hours may contribute to DSPS.

Symptoms of Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

Some people who have delayed sleep phase disorder may appear simply to stay up too late and have correlating issues getting up in the morning. For others, it’s a matter of being unable to sleep at what would otherwise be considered the normal times, sometimes requiring additional hours before they can finally fall asleep.

The following are some of the other symptoms you may experience if you have delayed sleep phase disorder:

  • Being unable to wake up at the required time in the morning. This occurs despite attempts you make to set numerous alarms to assist you in waking.
  • Experiencing otherwise normal sleep patterns. This means you experience normal sleep cycles and sleep for a normal amount of time. The only real shift is in the timing of your sleep and wake cycles.
  • Depending on caffeine or other stimulants and/or sleeping pills. You may turn to things to counteract the effects of delayed sleep phase disorder and become dependent on them for getting to sleep and waking up.
  • Exhibiting poor work or school performance. If you’re often too tired to function properly during normal school or work hours, this can affect your performance, leading to lower grades and problems at work.
  • Displaying excessive tardiness or absences from school and/or work. This related to the fact you cannot get up on time in the morning.
  • Complaining of insomnia or being tired all the time. Parents, teachers, administrators, and employers might want to look for this sign of the condition, especially when working with young people.

Complications of Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

Because it mimics the symptoms of other conditions, physicians can have trouble accurately diagnosing delayed sleep phase syndrome. As a result, patients are often misdiagnosed with ADHD, depression and other behavioral problems resulting from the excessive daytime sleepiness DSPS causes rather than being correctly diagnosed.

complications of delayed sleep

Other potential complications arise from failing to diagnose other potential causes of the sleep problems that could include any of the following:

  • A different sleep disorder
  • Diagnosed or undiagnosed medical condition
  • Medications
  • Mental health disorders
  • Substance abuse

It’s important to work with your physician or to rule out other conditions you may have and to identify other possible causes of your sleeping issues before zeroing in on delayed sleep phase disorder.

Current Available Treatments for Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

Physicians and sleep specialists use several treatments to help address delayed sleep phase disorder and get the body’s circadian rhythm back on track. These include the following:

1. Undergoing Blue Light Therapy

With this type of treatment, you’re exposed to very bright lights shortly after waking each morning and avoid bright light exposure during evening hours. This includes going out for a walk in the sunshine early in the morning and avoiding computers and other bright lights — or using nighttime settings that offer dimmer lighting — before going to bed at night.

2. Practicing Better Sleep Hygiene

“Sleep hygiene” refers to your bedtime routine, including the things you do in the 30 minutes to one hour before going to bed. Following a pattern of behavior cues your body and your brain that it’s time to begin the process of shutting down for the night, making it easier to go to sleep. Better sleep hygiene includes you:

  • Cutting out caffeine or alcohol
  • Giving up electronic screens — all of them
  • Dimming the lights
  • Showering, brushing teeth, caring for skin and more
  • Turning down the temperature
  • Meditating
  • Reading or journaling

3. Taking Melatonin or Other Sleep Aids

Some people swear by melatonin for restoring natural circadian rhythms. The best idea is to work with your doctor and seek their advice before taking melatonin or other sleeping aid, especially if you are taking other medications to promote sleep.

Get Medical Marijuana for Your Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Today

If you’re struggling with symptoms of delayed sleep phase syndrome and would like to know if medical marijuana for delayed sleep phase disorder is right for you, search through Marijuana Doctors to find a qualified cannabis doctor and book your appointment.

Find A Doctor Find A Dispensary


Resources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3386505/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1521-0391.2013.12003.x
  3. http://sleepeducation.org/sleep-disorders-by-category/circadian-rhythm-disorders/delayed-sleep-wake-phase/overview-and-risk-factors
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18719343
Facebook
Twitter