CBD and Narcolepsy: An Effective Treatment Option?
Sleep is obviously an essential part of everyone’s life and can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Any interruptions, health concerns, or issues related to your sleeping patterns can create serious worry about your overall well-being. Narcolepsy is an extreme example of something that can affect your sleeping patterns. Studies show that 1 in 2,000 people suffer from narcolepsy and complain about not getting the benefits of sleeping that others do. Keeping this in mind, more people are seeking natural solutions to help alleviate their fatigue and other symptoms. CBD is a natural solution that’s growing in popularity. But what is the relationship between CBD and narcolepsy?
People are looking for simple solutions and supplements that don’t have too many extra chemicals. This is why CBD products have started becoming popular among those dealing with this condition. For those who want to use a natural solution, CBD might be useful. Here is a deeper dive into what makes it a unique option.
To better understand what this condition is all about and how CBD products may be helpful, it’s imperative to analyze what the disorder entails and why it can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder which impacts a person’s ability to regulate their sleep cycles. For example, an individual with narcolepsy may suddenly feel tired in the middle of the day. This can happen at any time of the day and it can be quite difficult to regulate. It can even occur when the individual has taken the time to sleep for 8-10 hours during the night. These attacks can have a disturbing impact on a person’s quality of life and make it difficult to function and stay healthy.
It’s important to note, narcolepsy is an umbrella term that describes a disorder that comes in two distinct types. (Type 1, with cataplexy, and type 2, without cataplexy). For reference, the Mayo Clinic defines cataplexy as a sudden, uncontrollable loss of muscle tone. It may be triggered by intense positive or negative emotions. If you have type 2 narcolepsy, you may only experience one or two cataplexy episodes in a year. But you could experience several daily episodes. Each person’s experience is unique.
Understanding the Symptoms of Narcolepsy
CBD has the potential to reprogram your body in subtle yet effective ways that can be sustained long term. This is one of the main reasons CBD products are heralded by the masses as effecting symptoms of many different conditions. For those who are trying to understand how narcolepsy works and what the symptoms are, here is a deeper dive.
This is the most common symptom an individual is going to have when it comes to dealing with narcolepsy. Essentially the individual is going to feel like they haven’t slept during the night and are starting the next day without any rest at all. This can have a serious impact on a person’s ability to go about their daily activities. It can also lead to additional symptoms such as memory lapses, mental fog, and mood swings.
How Does CBD Help? – CBD may promote the stabilization of energy in the human body, which may then result in consistent sleep patterns, reduced irritability, and the elimination of sudden physical episodes (i.e. muscle weakness).
One of the main symptoms that can lead to accidents involves cataplexy. Cataplexy is when a person loses muscular control and seems to get weak to the point they are unable to regulate how they move. This can cause issues such as total body collapse, slurred speech, and sudden loss of consciousness. Studies show 30-50% of all sufferers end up getting hurt because this symptom comes on suddenly.
How Does CBD Help? – CBD may regulate the production of hypocretin (orexin) in the human body. This plays a role in sudden muscle weakness that can even stem from fluctuations in emotion (i.e. stress/laughter).
Some people will mention starting to see or hear things that aren’t present in real life. The brain can cause these hallucinations in an effort to convince you to get some sleep as soon as possible.
How Does CBD Help? – Studies involving patients with episodes of hallucinations have demonstrated a noticeable effect using CBD . This includes reducing the flaring of specific receptors in the brain that cause hallucinations and/or psychosis.
In rare cases, some individuals cite sleep paralysis as a symptom of their condition. This means they are unable to move/speak when they wake up. This usually doesn’t last for a long time (a few seconds or minutes) but is something that can have a profound impact on a person’s psychological well-being.
How Does CBD Help? – Sleep paralysis may be restricted through CBD use by increasing the central nervous system’s response time during the REM cycle. Thus, when an individual wakes up, they are not left in a state of immobility.
Understanding the Causes of Narcolepsy
Treating narcolepsy requires a good understanding of the underlying symptoms. The reason CBD is noted as being a potential tool for managing narcolepsy comes down to the root causes of this condition. By understanding these causes, it becomes easier to realize the importance of the relationship between CBD and narcolepsy. So what are the main causes of narcolepsy?
In general, narcolepsy can be triggered by certain factors throughout a person’s life. For example, this could be something as simple as going through a stressful break up with your partner and finding it difficult to overcome. This sort of traumatic experience can develop into an onset of narcolepsy.
How Does CBD Help? – High cortisol levels can elevate a person’s stress and cause the endocannabinoid system to malfunction. This leads to significant symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, and other related symptoms. CBD helps regulate the body’s cortisol levels and keeps them within a manageable range.
Rapid Fluctuations in Emotions
In the same vein, there are additional triggers that can do the same thing. Extreme excitement at the birth of a child or dealing with death in the family can both be very emotional events. Though these events may lead to different types of emotions, they can both trigger narcolepsy symptoms.
How Does CBD Help? – CBD may act as a relaxant to ease a person’s emotional triggers and thus soothes the body too. This may help limit an individual’s likelihood to drastically fluctuate between emotions (i.e. elation, depression) .
On the other hand, other causes are inherent according to medical professionals. For example, some individuals are going to be born with a specific genetic code that causes them to be predisposed to narcoleptic episodes.
This has to do with chromosome 12 in the human body and it directly affects your ability to sleep. If something is off in this regard, you are more likely to have a longer-term battle against narcoleptic episodes.
How Does CBD Help? – While CBD cannot change an individual’s DNA, it can offer respite from the resulting symptoms (i.e. stress, fatigue, and a malfunctioning endocannabinoid system). This should improve a person’s quality of life.
In most cases, a person won’t deal with gene-related issues when it comes to narcolepsy and it will only play a role in your life based on the triggers mentioned above. However, it’s best to stay informed and aware of all possible causes.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Narcolepsy
Since CBD products (from the right source) are 100% organic, this makes it easier for individuals to use them without hesitation. Pharmaceutical medications can have dangerous side effects and may not be worth taking because of the impact they can have on your health. CBD is a straightforward supplement that may help control symptoms associated with narcolepsy. It is easy to use and has many other potential benefits for your body and mind.
Individuals that use CBD products claim to notice a change in how they sleep and how they feel when it comes to symptoms such as cataplexy. They feel more in tune with themselves throughout the day and don’t lose as much control of their limbs. Whether this has to do with hallucinations, daytime sleepiness, and/or fatigue, there is nothing worse than feeling like you are not in control of your body.
If you are living with narcolepsy and its related symptoms, feel free to browse Tanasi’s wide range of high quality CBD products. This is a world-class CBD provider with millions of dollars of research behind it. They can deliver 100% natural CBD straight to your front door.
Cannabinoid therapies in the management of sleep disorders: A systematic review of preclinical and clinical studies
Cannabinoids, including the two main phytocannabinoids Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are being increasingly utilised as pharmacological interventions for sleep disorders. THC and CBD are known to interact with the endocannabinoid and other neurochemical systems to influence anxiety, mood, autonomic function, and circadian sleep/wake cycle. However, their therapeutic efficacy and safety as treatments for sleep disorders are unclear. The current systematic review assessed the available evidence base using PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, CINAHL and PsycInfo databases. A total of 14 preclinical studies and 12 clinical studies met inclusion criteria. Results indicated that there is insufficient evidence to support routine clinical use of cannabinoid therapies for the treatment of any sleep disorder given the lack of published research and the moderate-to-high risk of bias identified within the majority of preclinical and clinical studies completed to-date. Promising preliminary evidence provides the rationale for future randomised controlled trials of cannabinoid therapies in individuals with sleep apnea, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder-related nightmares, restless legs syndrome, rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder, and narcolepsy. There is a clear need for further investigations on the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid therapies for treating sleep disorders using larger, rigorously controlled, longer-term trials.
Keywords: Cannabidiol; Cannabinoids; Cannabis; Insomnia; Obstructive sleep apnea; Sleep disorders; THC.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Conflict of interest statement
Conflicts of interest RRG and NSM have received discounted investigational products for an unrelated clinical trial from Neurim Pharmaceuticals Inc. RRG and NSM have also received investigational product and matched placebo from Teva Pharmaceutical in unrelated clinical trials. ISM is a consultant for Kinoxis Therapeutics, and is an inventor on several patents relating to novel cannabinoid therapeutics. RV has received income as a consultant or advisory board member from Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Canopy Health Innovations Inc., and FSD Pharma. The other authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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