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Marijuana Could Improve Your Sleep, Study Finds

Marijuana could improve your sleep

Marijuana's effect on sleep is no secret to anyone who has smoked the plant before. But while sleepiness continues to be one of marijuana's most well-known effects, many users still don't understand its impact on the sleep cycle.

Maybe you're not even sure what the sleep cycle is, but that's nothing to be embarrassed about, since even scientists have trouble explaining the entire thing. On the other hand, research on sleep has been steadily accumulating over the past few decades as well as research on marijuana's effect on sleep.

What scientists now know is that marijuana can not only change the way your brain sleeps, but can also be used as an effective treatment for a number of sleep disorders.

Medical marijuana? Who would've thought...

Anyways, it's important to understand how exactly sleep works before getting into what marijuana does to your sleep. As it turns out, everyone's sleep can be broken down into 4 stages, which make up what is known as the sleep cycle. "Cycle" is an accurate description of sleep, as the brain goes through each of the 4 stages multiples times in just one night.

Interestingly, REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep - the last stage of sleep - happens to be the most well known among the general public. The brain is most active during REM sleep and this is also when dreaming occurs. On the other hand, the first 3 stages of sleep are typically grouped together under the category of NREM (non-REM) sleep and collectively play a primary role in the restorative effects of sleep.

As it turns out, marijuana mostly affects the last stage of NREM sleep (Stage 3 sleep) as well as the REM stage of sleep by increasing Stage 3 sleep and decreasing REM sleep. This seems to explain why many marijuana users report a lack of dreams when they smoke before bedtime. Although scientists are still unsure of how a reduction in REM sleep affects the body, experts believe that Stage 3 sleep is the most important stage for the sleep deprived, suggesting that marijuana may actually be beneficial for those who lack sleep.

On top of that, studies have found that marijuana can be an effective treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia (1) and sleep apnea (2). In fact, a team of researchers led by Dr. David W. Carley published the first human study on medical marijuana compounds and sleep apnea earlier this year and subsequently received a $5 million grant (3) from the NIH to investigate their findings further.

Sleepless in America: A $32.4 Billion Business

The funny thing is, Dr. Carley's research wasn't entirely motivated by science either. As it turns out, Dr. Carley sits on the board of Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (4), a pharmaceutical company with a vested interest in sleep apnea treatments.

Overall, marijuana seems to have a beneficial effect on sleep, which comes as much of a relief to many of its regular users. As research on medical marijuana continues, it becomes increasingly difficult for the pharmaceutical industry to ignore the role that it might play in the future of medicine. Cortex Pharmaceuticals seems to be on the right track in predicting the future outlook of sleep apnea treatment, which makes up a large part of the steadily rising sleep market - valued at $32.4 billion in the U.S alone (5).







Author's Bio:

TruthOnPot is an online resource for medical marijuana news, facts and research. You can learn more on this topic and others by visiting