Cannabis consumption is becoming increasingly normal around the country. With more than two-thirds of the states having given the green light to medical cannabis, recreational marijuana or both, the number of people consuming the plant continues to grow.
According to the folks at Utah Marijuana, chronic pain continues to be the number one consideration for medical cannabis users. But there are dozens of health conditions for which people might choose to consume. Consider insomnia. One of the latest trends in cannabis is mixing it with melatonin to help improve sleep.
Is mixing cannabis and melatonin wise? The answer is probably best left to you and your doctor to figure out. But there are some things you should know before going down that road.
Why People Do It
The Cannigma’s Jessica Riley suggests that people choose to mix cannabis with melatonin because one or the other already helps them sleep. As the theory goes, the fact that melatonin supplements seem to help a lot of people sleep indicates that mixing it with cannabis would improve the plant’s ability to improve sleep as well.
This theory works in the opposite direction, too. There are people who already use cannabis on a regular basis. They have also heard that melatonin can help people sleep. So they figure that combining the two would be a more effective than just using cannabis alone.
Mixed Products Already Exist
If you are considering using both melatonin and cannabis together, you can buy the two products separately. But you don’t have to. Manufacturers are now producing sleep aids from both substances. You can get melatonin mixed with THC, CBD, or a whole host of cannabinoids and terpenes together. Just be wary of such products. Know exactly what you are buying before you do so.
The Two Work Differently
To whatever extent melatonin and cannabis might help improve sleep, the two substances work differently. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the human body. Its primary function is to regulate the sleep cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. Darkness encourages the body to produce more melatonin which, in turn, makes one sleepy.
THC and CBD are cannabinoids. They bind to endocannabinoid receptors found throughout the human body. More importantly, the endocannabinoid system regulates a whole host of bodily functions, including sleep. Scientific research seems to suggest that the endocannabinoid system has its own cycle that can influence circadian rhythm.
Disrupting the Circadian Rhythm
Understanding how melatonin and cannabis influence the circadian rhythm brings us to the next and most important point to know: relying solely on the two substances to fall and stay asleep could ultimately disrupt one’s circadian rhythm to the point of actually being harmful.
Melatonin and cannabis aside, doctors are very wary about recommending the long-term use of sleep medications – whether they are over-the-counter or prescription-based. They know that using sleep medications for too long can disrupt the circadian rhythm to the extent that a person can no longer sleep without such medications.
We generally assume that neither melatonin nor cannabis is as risky in this regard as OTC and prescription sleep aids. But no one knows for sure. So the best course of action is to not use either substance as a sleep aid long-term. Use melatonin and cannabis only as-needed. Try to sleep without it whenever possible.
As a Medical Treatment
Finally, insomnia is not a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in every state. If you are interested in getting a medical cannabis card because you suffer from insomnia, check your state’s regulations for details. Consult with your doctor as well.