January 14, 2019

May 08, 2018

Sleep apnea is a medical condition that affects more than 22 million US citizens. In simple words, irregular breathing pattern during sleep is called apnea. According to medical sciences, this condition arises when throat muscles, during sleep, go in an extremely relaxed state blocking air passage to the lungs.

Mild sleep apneas can be identified by snoring. However, people suffering from acute apnea can experience disruption of sleep and aggravation of other medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension etc. Aside from that, it affects the quality of sleep and that has its adverse effects on the entire day of the affected individuals.

A recent research shows that the condition of sleep apnea can be mitigated by synthetic cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the organic molecules that makeup cannabis strains.

Treatment of Sleep Apnea
Treatment of Sleep Apnea – Image powered by Rockypointdentistry.com

Why Is This Research Significant?

Even though the research is still in its budding phase, but it is still a significant step in devising a comprehensive treatment for sleep apnea. For now, available sleep apnea treatments are not convenient for many. Either the patient has to use tenacious sleep masks, or undergo surgery to treat their condition of intermittent breathing. Therefore, many patients avoid the treatments and persist with their condition. With the development of a medical product that can be orally administrated, millions of people in the country will be able to get rid of their sleep apnea.

Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago have tested a synthetic cannabinoid dronabinol on 73 patients with obstructive sleep apnea. The patients administered three different pills over the course of time: placebos, low-dose cannabinoid pills, and high-dose cannabinoid pills.

According to the chief researcher, this is the first of its kind study to observe cannabinoid effects on the symptoms of sleep apnea where the procedures have been conducted like the testing of any pharmaceutical product.

Findings of the study are very encouraging as it has been found that dronabinol is effective in reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea. The patients who administered cannabinoid medications experienced less fatigue and other symptoms of sleep apneas as compared to the patients on placebo. It has also been deduced that the alleviation of symptoms is proportional to the dose of cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids Might be the Key for the Treatment of Sleep Apnea
Cannabinoids Might be the Key for the Treatment of Sleep Apnea – Image powered by Dailymail.co.uk

REM phase of sleep is the most affected by sleep apnea where patients might experience complete blockage of the air passage sometimes. The study has revealed that cannabinoid could help in reducing the acuteness of sleep apnea during REM sleep.

Notwithstanding the results of this study, it will take considerable time to have a cannabinoid-based oral supplement in dispensaries for the treatment of sleep apnea. But it is worth-noting that dronabinol is conditionally approved by the FDA for patients undergoing chemotherapy. This federal support might help the research to materialize in a drug.

Moreover, it is only a single study and for the development of any pharmaceutical drug extensive body of research is required. But if subsequent studies validate the finding of this research then we may get an effective sleep apnea treatment very soon.

Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]


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