Researchers in Australia will conduct the first study on the effect of medicinal cannabis on adults with chronic insomnia.

Dangerous Effects Of Insomnia And Frequent Lack Of Sleep

The sedation effect of medicinal cannabis is believed to be a potential alternative treatment for people with sleep problems, a condition linked to increased risk for a range of illness, which include cancer and heart disease.

Sleep researchers have compared the dangers of taking sleeping pills to smoking a pack of cigarettes daily. People who lack sleep also have higher odds of obesity and depression.

"Insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

More than a third of the population in the United States do not get enough sleep, according to figures from the CDC. Nearly 10 percent suffers from chronic insomnia.

Medicinal Cannabinoid Or Placebo

The study will have participants taking either medicinal cannabinoid or a placebo for a period of two weeks. The participants will then complete a series of questionnaires and assessments that will probe into how they slept.

The study participants will then crossover the medications and take them for another two weeks before completing another set of assessments. They will not be informed about the order in which they received the medicinal cannabinoid or placebo medication.

The medication comes in oil formation and is administered an hour before bedtime. Researchers will evaluate the participants' quality of sleep using wrist-based activity monitors. The participants will also sleep three nights in a sleep center where their sleep quality will be assessed.

Medicinal Cannabis As Alternative To Current Drugs

Peter Eastwood, from The University of Western Australia, said that current evidence suggests that medicinal cannabis could be a less invasive option to drugs that are currently available in the market.

He cited that prescription medicines, which include Stilnox, Sonata, Imovane, Temazepam, as well as some antihistamines and antidepressants may have unwanted side effects when used for extended period. Long-term use of these drugs, for instance, may lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

"Based on previous research we believe a small dose of medicinal cannabinoid may be effective for treating chronic insomnia and have fewer side effects than current drug treatment options," Eastwood said.

Other sleep experts also recommend exercise to get better sleep.

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