Night terrors, also known as sleep terrors, can be frightening to people who are experiencing them, but many patients do not remember them as they are in sound sleep. Night terrors are a sort of parasomnia, or sleep disturbance, characterized by strange sleep behaviors. Patients who have sleep terrors frequently wake up feeling worn out or exhausted.
There is extensive evidence that using medical cannabis can improve sleep quality. Numerous studies have found health advantages that can enhance sleep quality, and restfulness, reduce sleep disruptions, and shorten the time it takes for you to fall asleep. In this article, we will examine how cannabis can help the patients who are experiencing night terrors.
Difference between Nightmares and Night Terrors
While the terms “night terrors” and “nightmares” are sometimes used interchangeably, they refer to various sleep disorders that affect a person at different phases of consciousness.
Nightmares are bad dreams that make their sufferers experience fear, horror, discomfort, or anxiety. Although they can persist in adulthood, they often start before the age of 10 and are seen to be a normal part of development. Major life events or increased stress at home or at work may cause them. In addition, consuming too much alcohol or eating just before bedtime, combined with some drugs, might cause nightmares. Typically, nightmares happen during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Approximately 71% of PTSD sufferers, as opposed to 2-5% of the general population, report nightmares after trauma.
Unlike nightmares, night terrors often happen during non-REM (NREM) sleep and are classified as a sleep arousal disorder. The majority of the time, they happen during the first three to four hours of sleep and are more frequent in kids than adults. Although they might last up to 30 or 40 minutes, night terrors normally endure 10 minutes. The patient is entirely sleeping and is unlikely to remember the incident, even if they might be kicking, flailing, yelling, or even opening their eyes. Similar to other sleep disorders like sleepwalking, it is not advised to wake a patient up when a sleep terror is taking place.
Cannabis as a Medical Treatment for Sleep Disorders
Cannabis can be used as a medical treatment for sleep disorders like night terror but it is important to keep in mind that short term cannabis usage proves to be an effective method. On the other hand, if you use cannabis for long-term it can worsen your sleep patterns. This can also be experienced after giving up on cannabis. Therefore to avoid any negative consequences, healthcare professionals recommend starting with a low dosage.
An overview of many studies indicate that patients may benefit from high doses of CBD and lesser amounts of THC to help improve sleep. The most prevalent terpene in cannabis, mycerene, has a strong connection to sleep. Cannabinol (CBN), which has sedative properties, is also becoming popular in dispensaries. It is essential to discuss your concerns regarding your sleep problems with a clinical cannabis specialist or a sleep specialist.
Night Terrors and Medical Cannabis
To know the relation between the night terrors and medical cannabis, we have to take a look at the research that supports the use of cannabinoids in RSBD, a REM-related parasomnia. The research was not explicitly focusing on cannabis and night terrors but we can still draw the conclusion whether cannabis is a suitable treatment for sleep disorders or not. The main topic of this investigation was the usage of CBD in persons with REM behavior disorder who also have Parkinson’s disease. Although the size of this study precludes conclusive conclusions regarding the effectiveness of cannabinoids in treating parasomnia, it did demonstrate that CBD can block RSBD, which is highly encouraging. In general, you should talk to your doctor about your sleep problems and consider using cannabis as a possible solution.
Which Type of Cannabis is Best For Sleep?
Cannabis comes in a different variety of strains, each having different characteristics. But the most common strains are indica and sativa:
According to some consumers, indica is more soothing and may contribute to feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
Sativa is thought to be more energizing and might give some people a euphoric high. Sativa is frequently used by people to increase their energy.
Indica may be thought of as the greatest cannabis strain for sleep due to its calming properties. However, sativa may be preferred by those who use cannabis to prevent nightmares. Depending on the precise composition of cannabinoids and other chemicals, hybrid strains containing a combination of indica and sativa may generate a variety of effects.
The majority of the distinctions between sativa and indica strains are based on the individual experiences of cannabis consumers. Some researchers argue that the variability in THC content and other chemicals in any given product is more important than the distinction between indica and sativa strains.
There is more research needed to use cannabis as a treatment for night terror. If you want to use cannabis for treating night terrors, you should consult with your healthcare provider first.