5 Steps to Seek Relief from Insomnia
According to a 2016 report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 35% of US adults have experienced sleeping issues. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon, with insomnia being one of the most common sleep disorders. Throughout the month of August, we will be using the Releaf Blog to explore the complexities of an insomnia diagnosis as well as possible treatment methods that can be used to address both insomnia and any underlying issues that may be prevalent.
What is Insomnia?
In layman’s terms, a person may be living with insomnia if they experience difficulty falling asleep or if they have a problem sustaining sleep for long periods of time. Insomnia can manifest itself in two forms, acute (short-term) or chronic insomnia (long-term), and both conditions can be debilitating making it difficult to function at optimal capacity.
Since we are not medical professionals, we cannot diagnose ailments. Please consult with a physician to discuss possible treatment plans if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries about sleep
Current Treatment Methods
There are a vast array of insomnia treatments, and most treatment plans will include some form of counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition to counseling and CBT, the diagnosing physician may recommend an over-the-counter or prescription medication to help induce sleep. There are several types of prescription sleeping pills on the market, all of which carry the potential for adverse side effects that can be just as debilitating as insomnia. The long-term risk of taking prescription sleep aids may not be worth the short-term relief one might experience after taking them. Alternative treatments options should be considered; medical cannabis is one of them.
Treating Insomnia With Medical Cannabis
Medical cannabis, an underutilized treatment option, is slowly making its way onto the scene as a legitimate treatment option for insomnia patients. In the past, there was anecdotal evidence speaking to this effect, but we now have mounting scientific evidence documenting the efficacy of medical cannabis as a possible form of treatment for insomnia.
In early July, the Releaf App team contributed to the body of research by co-publishing a peer-reviewed article with a talented team of researchers at the University of New Mexico. The study, which analyzed anonymous aggregated data from Releaf patients’ insomnia sessions, found that there was an average symptom severity reduction of -4.5 points on a 0-10 point scale when patients used cannabis to help them fall asleep. It also found that pipes and vaporizers were associated with greater symptom relief, and more positive side effects, than joints. Furthermore, sessions during which Cannabis indica flower was smoked or vaped resulted in fewer context-specific negative side effects than sessions with Cannabis sativa.
Accessibility to Medical Cannabis
Our non-profit partner Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has taken significant efforts to address accessibility issues by creating a robust resource to help folks navigate through the process of applying for a medical marijuana license. Please visit ASA’s website to learn more about the benefits of using medical cannabis, or if you would like to learn about the ailments that are covered by the medical cannabis program in your state.
Insomnia can be debilitating, but you don’t have to go through it alone. There are treatment options that can be explored, and the steps below should guide the way.
Step #1 – Set up an appointment to meet with a medical professional so that they can provide an official medical diagnosis.
Step #2 – Visit the SafeAccess database to learn how to become a state authorized MMJ patient.
Step #3 – Visit our “Getting Started” page and download the Releaf App to help track & document your treatment. Utilizing our technology allows patients make data-driven decisions on their course of treatment.
Step #4 – Visit one of our dispensary partners
Step #5 – Document each treatment session to determine which treatment option works best and share those results with your doctor, budtender, and/or patient consultant.