My wife has sleep apnea but has never used cannabis products before.

by HelloMD

Is there something you would recommend she try first? Also, what dose?


Answers


Answer - Doctor Marsha Bluto

Sleep Apnea affects more than 12 million Americans. A condition that causes you to wake frequently at night due to constant, gradual decreases in oxygen levels of your blood. It can be due to due to central apnea which is a ‘brain-based’ apnea, or obstructive apnea which is common in people with obesity and who snore. Often called the “silent killer”, it is grossly underdiagnosed and undertreated and can lead to early heart attack, stroke and pulmonary hypertension if not diagnosed and treated. It can be diagnosed by doing a sleep study and treated with a CPAP machine that aids in keeping your airway open while you sleep.

In a study led by Michael Calik, PhD, Dronabinol, a synthetic cannabis medication with similar effects to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) previously prescribed to cancer patients for treating nausea was injected into rats. According to results, the cannabinoid injections were able to attenuate serotonin-induced apnea, the ‘brain-based’ apnea. Researchers also found that Dronabinol seemed to increase activation of the genioglossus – a muscle responsible for sticking out your tongue. Relaxation of the genioglossus has been implicated as a potential cause of obstructive sleep apnea in the past. So, as THC is similar to Dronabinol one could reasonably assume THC in medicinal cannabis could offer the same benefits.

Everyone responds differently to cannabis so my advice is to start with the lowest dose and titrate doses slowly so you can evaluate how it works for you. I might even suggest as slowly as every 6 weeks. I typically recommend a starting dose of 2.5-5mg to start. The product you chose will depend on the duration of effect you would like to achieve. Typically tinctures can last 3-5 hours while edibles can last 8-10 hours. I would recommend not using a THC product every day as you can build up tolerance.


Answer - Doctor Sharon Olson

I agree with Dr Bluto's answer but I also have treated many sleep apnea patient's with Buteyko Breathing. As newborns, we cannot breath through our mouth, only the nose and a newborn could die if the nose became obstructed. It is essential to breath through the nostrils to balance our blood gasses by stimulating the cribriform plate in the top of the nares (upper, inside nostrils). With Buteyko Breathing, you tape your lips with 1/4 inch, 3M paper tape (you will not rip your lips off in the morning) and your nostrils will clear for easy breathing. If a patient takes narcotics or prescription sleeping drugs it is essential to get them changed over to cannabis because the cannabis will not suppress the sleep center in the brain. Giving high CBD cannabis during the day along with vitamin D3 typically helps the patient lose weight along with a rapid detoxification weight-loss program that I typically suggest and their health starts to improve rapidly and the only thing the patient becomes addicted to is the tape.


Answer - Doctor Sharon Olson

Yes, Cannabis is a benefit with central sleep apnea but not in the way you might think because Cannabis does not make you well in this situation but it also will not make you worse. Alcohol and many prescription sleep aids can depressed the sleep center in the brain markedly reducing oxygenation of the brain and potentially causing damage or death but Cannabis allows you to sleep without affecting or making central sleep apnea worsen. In order to cure sleep apnea please, consider reading about Buteyko breathing. To be very clear, I do not believe Cannabis will cure your central sleep apnea but weight loss, proper breathing skills and avoidance of foods that cause increased mucous or swelling of the mucous membranes along with the use of cannabis for healthy restorative sleep have the potential of curing sleep apnea. Meanwhile, you may have to use an apnea machine.