Cannabis and Sleep Apnea: An Upturn of a Possible Remedy

As more and more studies are being conducted with Marijuana, people can’t help but be ecstatic about the possibilities. Such as the case of people having sleep apnea. This is because cannabis is known to be great for people having sleep disorders such as insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. And for some, they can’t help but think if there’s a chance that cannabis and sleep apnea work well together.

That’s why in this article, we will be talking about cannabis and sleep apnea and how does cannabis fare well among patients with sleep apnea. Is this the cure people for people having sleep apnea? Or is this one of those circumstances wherein it can help people have a good way of living by minimizing the symptoms? We’ll find out if cannabis is the right treatment for it.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a very serious sleep illness that disrupts the breathing mechanism of people during sleep. This is troublesome, especially for people who aren’t treating sleep apnea all too well. When a person isn’t treating sleep apnea, they are more likely to encounter more breathing disruptions throughout their sleep, and in severe cases, a hundred times. When this constantly happens, the body and brain don’t get enough oxygen and may lead to other serious complications.

Sleep Apnea Types:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA: This is the most prevalent sleep apnea among the two. OSA is caused when there’s an obstruction of the airway around your neck; it is usually at the soft tissues at the back portion of the throat that collapses during sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea or  CSA: Unlike the Obstructive sleep apnea, the airways aren’t blocked. This is caused by the brain, not sending signals for the muscles to breathe; this is because of the instability in the respiratory control center.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea greatly overlap, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose which type of sleep apnea they have. Below are the most common symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apneas:

  • Very loud snoring
  • Scenarios during sleep where you stop breathing
  • Gasping for air when sleeping
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Having a hard time staying asleep or Insomnia
  • Irritability during sleep
  • Too much sleepiness during the day.

Cannabis and Sleep 

Before we get right through the specifics of cannabis and sleep apnea, it would be essential for you to know how does cannabis help with sleep disorders and how it can help sleep apnea. Cannabis and Sleep go hand in hand. Especially for people having problems with sleeping, they tend to seek the help of cannabis.

Cannabis has two major active compounds that are sought after, THC, and CBD. CBD has no psychoactive effects, while THC has. Both of them interact differently with our bodies. But if you are seeking marijuana’s help, then most likely, you are looking for strains with high concentrations of THC.

When it comes to high amounts of THC, Indica strains are the choice. It is by far the most popular variety when inducing sleep. Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica are two major variety of cannabis, Indica offers a more couch-lock approach, whereas the Sativa make you more creative, focused, alert, and energetic.

So, most likely, you are opting for Indica strains. For some, people are even combining cannabis and sleep aids for better effects. Also, cannabis suppresses REM or rapid eye movement; it is the final cycle before you get to sleep. So, if you consume weed, you might not get into this important phase of your sleep.

Cannabis and Sleep Apnea

Now that you know how cannabis helps people having a hard time sleeping, then we’ll now shift our focus on cannabis and sleep apnea and what are the potential benefits people can get from cannabis.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, untreated sleep apnea can lead to various complications such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disorders, stroke, headache, and depression. Having sleep apnea can reduce the way of life by causing your performance to drop low over the day due to lack of sleep, and just the quality of life in general.

There are certain ways how to treat sleep apnea; the most conventional ones include lifestyle change, breathing apparatus, and in severe cases, surgery to treat any underlying causes.

In recent years, there has been increasing cannabis research and how it can help people with sleep apnea. There’s a 2002 study conducted among rats with sleep apnea; it showed that there are certain components of the cannabis that help and improve the breathing mechanism of rats.

In 2013, there was also a clinical trial conducted in humans by Dr. David Carley. He tested 17 sleep apnea patients and gave them varying THC contents; the result was a promising one. It resulted in having a 32% reduced symptoms of sleep apnea among patients. However, it was only a small sample size, thus requiring more clinical trials to have a more conclusive result.

Nonetheless, these studies show lots of promise and making cannabis a potential alternative for treating sleep apnea. Also, both studies suggest giving high THC strains among patients with sleep apnea.

Unfortunately, the studies on cannabis and sleep apnea are still on the infancy stage. More studies should be conducted before doctors, and healthcare professionals can prescribe the use of marijuana for sleep apnea patients.


Although there is promising research on how cannabis can help sleep apnea, we still need plenty of research to have a conclusive answer. Luckily, all signs lead to a more promising result and the potential of cannabis and sleep apnea working well together.

Let’s just hope for our scientists and doctors that sooner than later, they’ll discover that this humble piece of plant is the answer to all the questions among sleep apnea sufferers. As the research on cannabis and sleep apnea is still commencing, the best thing you can do as a sleep apnea patient is to change your lifestyle and find ways on how to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.

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