Medical Marijuana for Sleep Disorders
In order to treat sleep disorders with medical marijuana it is necessary to isolate which symptoms it is able to alleviate. An outpatient study done at the Canadian Forces Health Services Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre in Ottawa indicated that marijuana could alleviate stress-related nightmares in individuals with PTSD. This suggests that medical marijuana can help with other stress-related sleep disorders, though more research is necessary.
As far back as the 19th century, marijuana has been used to treat insomnia in the U.S., though its use for insomnia dates much further back in world history. Of course, with marijuana prohibition and the controversy surrounding medical marijuana, this use is not widespread in the medical field today. Nonetheless, one of the side effects of marijuana is sleepiness. This suggests that it could help insomniacs fall asleep or fall back to sleep if they wake up too early. Its usefulness in this area is well known and has been for some time.
As far as treatment for somnambulism (sleepwalking), restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy, there is not enough research to say whether marijuana can be helpful on a large scale for the symptoms of these conditions. The effects of marijuana typically do not last eight hours, which is roughly the amount of time a person should be asleep. Unless medical marijuana is taken in a slow release pill form, it is unlikely to help with these symptoms throughout the night, even if it was shown to be able to help while in the system. Therefore, self-medication with marijuana for these symptoms is likely to be futile. If medical marijuana is to be used for these conditions, it should be done so under the supervision of a medical professional so the efficacy of the treatment can be gauged.
* as always please be sure to consult with a health professional to assess the risks and rewards of adding medicinal cannabis to your treatment program.