What is Sleep Apnea?
The word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” Approximately 42 million American adults suffer from sleep – disordered breathing (SDB), and according to Berger Henry, 1 in 5 adults has mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
In general, there are three types of apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea – This is the most common of the three. It occurs when soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep
- Central Sleep Apnea – This type of apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway. With CSA the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe
- Mixed Sleep Apnea – As the name implies MSA is a combination of the two.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. After the pause, normal breathing will resume with a snort or choking sound.
Sleep Apnea tends to affect men over the age of 40, but it can hit people of all ages. Furthermore, those that suffer from sleep apnea have also been known to have:
- Obese (BMI>30)
- Diagnosed with hypertension
- Use alcohol or sedatives often
- Have family history of OSA
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Outcomes
It is important to treat apnea as it can lead to serious sleep disorders that can lead to significant heart problems. According to a recent article by Sleep & Breathing, quoted on the HuffingtonPost,
people with untreated, severe OBS are more than two times more likely to die from heart disease.
Untreated Sleep Apnea can lead to heart failure, elevated blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, resistant hypertension, diabetes, and stroke.
Conventional Medical Treatment
Fortunately, nowadays are now different treatments that can help alleviate sleep apnea. One of the most commonly prescribed treatments for sleep apnea is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and gently blows air into your airway allowing you to breathe at a more steady rate. Most primary care doctors will recommend this form of treatment as it doesn’t involve intrusive medical procedures or medications.
Medical Marijuana and Sleep Apnea
Over the last couple of years, cannabis has gained traction in the medical arena, and it is now being suggested that specific strains could help combat sleep apnea.
In 2002, researchers at the University of Illinois published findings showing that THC and oleamide were effective in stabilizing respiration in mice during their entire cycle of sleep. What was interesting, was the fact that delta9THC managed to reduce the apnea index during NREM and REM sleep stages, by 42% and 58%, respectively. Another breakthrough appeared in 2013, when Dr. David Carley showed that THCdronabinol is safe, well-tolerated, and reduces AHI by approximately a third over 3 weeks of oral therapy. in selected patients with OSA.
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Sleep Apnea
Thanks to the evolution of the marijuana industry there are now quite a few different cannabis strains on the market that can help with sleeping disorders or sleep apnea. Just remember; it is extremely important to consult with a marijuana doctor about your specific condition before you consider medical marijuana as a treatment.
Cannabis Strain #1 – OG Kush.
This marijuana strain will appear on every list, and it can help a variety of medical problems, not just sleep disorders. OG Kush is a hybrid cannabis strain containing 90% percent Indica and 10% Sativa. It’s the perfect “chill down” pill and is known to help its patients unwind. Furthermore, you can find this strain in virtually every dispensary.
Cannabis Strain #2 – Blackberry Kush
The next cannabis strain on our list is Blackberry Kush. Similar to OG Kush this is a hybrid marijuana strain that leans towards Indica. The cannabis strain is incredibly potent, and its 20% THC content offer its patients an amazing dose of high. It is known that if you smoke too much of this marijuana strain, you’re going to fall asleep in no time. The buds on this cannabis strain are dense, covered with trichomes and red hairs. It has a fruity sweet taste like grape or berry with a smooth feel that is less likely to lead to coughing.
Cannabis Strain #3 – Northern Lights
This is really an old-school marijuana strain and has been around since…well, who knows! It is an inbred descendant of the original Afghani landrace cannabis strain and is rich with goodness. THC levels can reach 19%, and its impact is almost immediate felt giving it’s patient a powerful body effect together with an amazing euphoric and relaxation feeling. Northern lights is known to be an effective cannabis strain for Insomnia, chronic pain and anxiety. It is also known to be used by those that suffer from Sleep Apnea. If you live on the west coast, you will find this popular cannabis strain in every dispensary.
Cannabis Strain #4 – Grape Ape
As the name says, Grape Ape tastes like deep purple sweet grapes. It is a crossbreed of Mendocino Purps, Skunk, and original Afghani, making it more Indica then Sativa (90%/10%). This cannabis strain has pure goodness and treats a plethora of medical conditions including; chronic pain, migraines, and arthritis. It provides a relaxing experience and is known to lead to a deep sleep. This is classed as the night-time strain and therefore is on our list for one of the strains that help sleep apnea.
Cannabis Strain #5 – Critical Kush
Known for having an earthy and spicy feel, this strain is a mix of THC and CBD goodness (25%, 1%), that will definitely calm your body down sending you off for a good nights sleep. Due to its potent effects is perfect for combating stress, chronic pain, depression and injuries which are all associated with sleep apnea.
Final Thoughts About Cannabis and Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea isn’t a condition that should be untreated. Apart from leading to different health issues, it is also responsible for lowering the performance of your day to day capabilities and can seriously impact lifestyle.
We hope that these 5 cannabis strains provide some relief and if you have any other recommendations be sure to share them with us on our Facebook Page.