If you are like most people in the United States, you may feel like you do not get enough sleep; and, you would be correct. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that 1 out of 3 adults do not get enough sleep, causing them to declare insufficient sleep a public health epidemic in 2014. The National Institute of Health (NIH) also estimates that 50 to 70 million people have sleep or wakefulness disorders. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of workplace accidents that happen annually as a result of sleep-deprived employees, there are many other health risks associated with insufficient sleep.
Getting enough sleep improves your health, strengthens your immune system, improves your mood and boosts productivity. Improving sleep…could make a positive impact on public health. —-Kristen Knutson, National Sleep Foundation
According to the NIH, the consequences of sleep deprivation include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Certain cancers
- Depression and anxiety
- Decreased memory, focus and decision-making
- Inability to manage stress
- Lower immune function
- Decreased sex drive
- Inflammation (increased cortisol levels)
Does the solution to all of this amount to taking naps or sleeping in on weekends or during vacations? Yes, if the sleep deficit is short-term or an unusual occurrence. However, research shows that catching up on long-term sleep deprivation did not help improve attention levels or decrease cortisol. Furthermore, A University of Pennsylvania – Penn Medicine study also showed that it resulted in lost brain neurons that are responsible for alertness.
How can cannabis help?
The cannabis plant is comprised of many compounds that work with the body to help it maintain balance (homeostasis) and optimal health. These compounds are called cannabinoids. Currently, there have been over 100 identified cannabinoids with CBD and THC being the two most well-known and talked about. However, there is another that I would like for you to consider, especially to address the issue of sleep. It is, Cannabinol (CBN), a cannabinoid that is derived from THC. When THC is oxidized, or gets old, it’s chemical composition becomes that of CBN. Decarboxylating, or heating up, cannabis to 315 degrees will also produce CBN.
Cannabinol works by binding with the body’s CB2 receptors that are mostly found in the peripheral nervous system, the bones, the skin, liver, pancreas and immune system. A 1976 British study found that when paired with THC, higher levels of CBN have a sedative quality which helps with sleep and reduces anxiety that could cause sleeplessness.
Where to get it
Because CBN is a derivative of THC, you will not find it on the shelves of your neighborhood health food or grocery store. In non-recreational use states, like Ohio, you can access it via actual cannabis flower and other dispensary products like teas, tinctures and pills.
Users of products like these, containing CBN, report deep, restful, refreshing sleep without the grogginess or haze that often accompanies the use of prescription sleeping pills and over-the-counter sleep aids. Furthermore, in addition to helping with sleep, studies have shown that CBN can help with pain, has anti-bacterial qualities and induces appetite.
Are you struggling to get enough sleep? What have you tried? I’d love to hear from you.
- To determine the best time to wake up and go to bed based on your age, check out Start Sleeping’s Sleep Calculator.
- For more information on CBN, check out this video