Medical Marijuana for Sleep: Are Tinctures or Edibles the Perfect Option?
Updated: Jun 3, 2022
Many people have trouble sleeping, and the pandemic stress of the last two years has increased incidents of insomnia in every age group. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "Some of the most serious potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Other potential problems include obesity, depression, reduced immune system function, and lower sex drive."
Sleep is also crucial for brain health, and not getting an adequate amount of sleep every night can contribute to the early onset of brain changes. But, can insomnia lead to dementia?
There is still much to be learned, but so far, one study suggests chronic sleep deprivation could increase your dementia risk by 20%. And at middle age, getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night may increase your dementia risk in the future.
Insomnia can occur in one-third of people living with dementia and can include difficulties with sleep onset, sleep maintenance, non-restorative sleep, or early morning awakenings, and contributes to restless behaviors such as "eloping" or wandering, walking, pacing, and repetitive questions.
Medical Marijuana for Sleep
In many studies,[i] and much anecdotal evidence from clinicians, regaining restorative sleep is one of the most significant improvements to the quality of life of many MMJ patients.
Ethan Russo, MD, is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and author. Russo served as Senior Medical Advisor, medical monitor, and study physician to GW Pharmaceuticals from 2003 to 2014. The United Kingdom-based company ran numerous Phase I-III clinical trials of Sativex®, a botanical drug designed to alleviate cancer pain unresponsive to optimized opioid treatment. Sativex® was also studied as an alternative to Epidiolex®, a medication for intractable epilepsy.
In Dr. Russo's 2007 review, "Cannabis, pain, and sleep: lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of Sativex," a cannabis-based medicine, he found that :
"Sleep-laboratory results indicate a mild activating effect of CBD and slight residual sedation with THC-predominant extracts. Experience to date with Sativex [a 1:1 oral mucosal spray] in numerous Phase I-III studies in 2000 subjects with 1000 patient-years of exposure demonstrate a marked improvement in subjective sleep parameters in patients with a wide variety of pain conditions including multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathic pain, intractable cancer pain, and rheumatoid arthritis, with an acceptable adverse event profile."[ii]
Many of the practitioners we have spoken with for the Cannabis Helps Dementia podcast have found that moderate and higher doses of CBD can be sedating. Low amounts of THC can bring restful sleep to most people. Many residents of residential care facilities in Northern and Southern California often find a 1:1 CBD:THC or 2:1 CBD ratio to be highly effective for achieving better sleep for many community members.
Tinctures: Getting the Drop on THC & CBD Oil
One of the most accurate methods of dosing cannabis oil is using THC and CBD tinctures in carrier oils to make them more bioavailable through the oral mucosa, under the tongue, and inside the mouth, similar to Sativex spray.
Grassp Health carries a curated selection of tinctures. This selection provides a balanced ratio of cannabinoids to provide a general sense of well-being and symptom relief from various conditions and ailments, particularly sleep, pain, and mood. Shop Now
Papa & Barkley - 1:1 THC Releaf Oil (900mg) THCa: 450mg CBD: 450mg Balance and comfort in every drop.
The perfect balance of CBD and THCa to uplift your mood and relieve discomfort without the marijuana 'high.' Best for Occasional Stress & Anxiety Psychoactivity Level: None to Minimal
The Releaf Tincture captures P&B's whole plant infusion into a convenient, cannabinoid-rich tincture. Relief Tinctures provide a holistic, discreet, and flexible option for those needing strong pain and anti-inflammatory relief.
Papa & Barkley Releaf tinctures provide a flexible option for whole-body comfort. One of the quickest ways to feel the benefits of cannabinoids, this concentrated liquid offers potent relief from pain and inflammation. The entire body can feel the effects of tinctures within fifteen minutes. Each individual can customize dosage based on personal preference to last over three hours. Use tinctures sublingually for the fastest results by dropping your dose under the tongue and holding for 15 seconds until absorbed.
Are Edibles the Perfect Option?
If you are talking about a 100mg THC brownie, probably not, and certainly not for older adults or people living with dementia. The practicality of eating even a fraction of a 100mg THC edible in any form is prone to mistakes, despite the best intentions of the friendly budtender at your local dispensary.
One dose is all that is necessary; 2.5 mg, which is the psychoactive threshold of THC, can profoundly improve the behaviors and mood of a person living with dementia. In contrast, a 25mg cookie may cause discomfort so much so that the patient may never return to cannabis medicine.
But not all edibles have to be sweet or in large doses in the form of highly palatable treats that may present issues. Grassp Health also carries:
Papa & Barkley - CBN Releaf Capsules (40mg CBD; 80mg THC; 20mgCBN) Cannabinoids - Per serving (1 capsule): 2mg CBD, 4mg THC, 1mg CBN
The perfect way to cap off the night, with a powerful combination of CBD for relaxation, THC for comfort, and CBN for soothing effects, these vegan, gluten-free CBN capsules help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. 2:4:1 CBD:THC:CBN Best for, Relaxation, Discomfort, Falling Asleep & Staying Asleep Psychoactivity Level: Moderate
Give Granny a Weed Gummy or Mint?
Perhaps capsules or tinctures are not an option depending on your circumstance or willingness of the individual to take the clinical cannabis under the tongue or swallow capsules.
The solution can be cannabis-infused gummies with a low-dose of THC, and/or low-dose THC mints, both available at Grassp Health, superb clinical cannabis edibles online, with delivery throughout LA County in the Grassp App.
Starting with a low dose of a balanced 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, many older adults can regain restorative sleep within days of starting the small amount.
Kiva - Petra Mints Cinnamon CBD 1:1
Hybrid THC: 100mg CBD: 100mg (2.5mg THC/2.5mg CBD per piece)
Sweet and spicy with just a touch of heat, Petra Cinnamon CBD freshens your breath, warms your senses, and chills you out. With a perfect balance of CBD and THC, you'll wonder where these sugar-free, plant-based mints have been your whole life.
Camino Gummies - Yuzu Lemon 1:1
THC: 100mg CBD: 100mg (5mg THC / 5mg CBD per piece)
Dip your feet into the slow current of a cool river with Kiva's Yuzu Lemon Camino gummies. Let its harmonizing blend of THC and CBD, Sativa and Indica-like terpenes, and sweet, subtly tart notes of citrus balance you from the inside out.
Kiva - Terra Dark Chocolate Almond CBD 1:1
Hybrid THC: 100mg CBD: 100mg (5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD)
CBD Almond Terra boasts a rich, crunchy, sweet, and salty taste you will crave with a balanced formula you're guaranteed to adore. Each delectable dark chocolate bite is handcrafted with 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD to bring you back to alignment in the most delicious way possible.
Wyld - Pomegranate 1:1 CBD + Hybrid Enhanced Gummies Hybrid THC: 100mg CBD: 100mg (10mg THC:10mg CBD per gummy.)
Wyld has taken the best of both worlds with their Pomegranate 1:1 THC:CBD gummies. They compliment any adventure by providing an enjoyable high for both mind and body using a Hybrid terpene blend. If you are new or sensitive to edibles, the Pomegranate gummies are a great place to start.
Wyld - Pear 1:1 CBG + Hybrid Enhanced Gummies (100mg) Hybrid THC: 100mg THC:100mg CBG per container (10mg THC:10mg CBG per gummy.)
The restorative effects of CBG in combination with THC, alongside the terpenes found in Hybrid strains may provide greater rejuvenation than THC alone. This combination may be beneficial when looking for balance.
In a recent survey by Dr. Etan Russo, the minor cannabinoid CBG, or cannabigerol, is most successfully used to address symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and insomnia.
In contrast to THC, CBG is not an intoxicating cannabinoid, which is attractive to a large part of the population. Also, CBG has a relatively benign adverse event profile and minimal withdrawal symptoms.
Clinical cannabis medicine in balanced ratios of 1:1 CBD, low-dose THC, and other minor cannabinoids are proving to be some of the most beneficial formulations for a wide range of health problems in older adults, including sleep, pain, and mood.
Are you looking for natural and safe alternatives to sleeping pills? Cannabis-infused edibles or tinctures could be the solution for you. These products can be delivered to your door by Grassp Health. Sign up today and start getting better sleep with clinical cannabis.
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[i] Babson, K.A., Sottile, Morabito, D. Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature Curr Psychiatry Rep (2017) 19: 23 DOI 10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9 https://www.med.upenn.edu/cbti/assets/user-content/documents/s11920-017-0775-9.pdf
[ii] Russo, E. B., Guy, G. W., & Robson, P. J. (2007). Cannabis, pain, and sleep: lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine. Chemistry & biodiversity, 4(8), 1729–1743. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbdv.200790150