In a model of maternal separation, sleep reduction has been related to the endocannabinoid system through the expression of CB1 in the prefrontal cortex and hypothalamus while oleamide improved sleep in adult rats (Reyes Prieto et al., 2012).
The administration of 2-AG restores sleep in the same model of maternal separation but not in wild type rats, proving the role of the endocannabinoid system in sleep processes (Pérez-Morales et al., 2014).
Activation of CB1 receptors in the endopeduncular nucleus can induce sleep while their blockade promotes insomnia-type symptoms in rats (Méndez-Díaz et al., 2013).
CB1 receptors mediated sleep effects caused by Anandamide in a rat model with in vivo microdialysis (Murillo-Rodriguez et al., 2003).
Anandamide may interact with oleamide processes to induce sleep.
CBD would act as an inhibitor of Anandamide uptake through TPRV1 receptor, suggesting a role in sleep (Bisogno et al., 2001; Mechoulam et al., 1997).
In a EEG experiment with rats, administration of a synthetic CB1 antagonist showed arousal-enhancing properties, suggesting again a role of the endocannabinoid system in sleep (Santucci et al., 1996).
Administration of a synthetic inhibitor of Anandamide uptake showed increased sleep in rats and enhanced c-Fos expression in sleep related brain areas (Murillo-Rodríguez et al., 2008).
Administration of THC in people with insomnia showed decreased time to fall asleep compared to controls (Cousens and DiMascio, 1973).
In a different study, administration of smoked cannabis containing THC also showed benefits to fall asleep and increased stage 4 sleep (Schierenbeck et al., 2008).
The effects of CBD in sleep appear to be related to a reduction of anxiety-induced REM sleep instead of sleep regulation processes (Hsiao et al., 2012).
Medical cannabis users have reported use of cannabis to treat multiple medical symptoms.
Symptoms with higher reports of cannabis use are pain, anxiety and insomnia (Walsh et al., 2013).
In two different studies, subjects with high scores of PTSD reported benefits of using cannabis to cope with PTSD-related insomnia (Bonn-Miller et al., 2010, 2014).
Nabiolone, a cannabinoid approved drug, showed also benefits to treat sleep problems related to PTSD (Cameron et al., 2014).
In a study focusing on sleep disorders and cannabis use, 81 participants reported use of cannabis to treat insomnia and 14 participants reported use of cannabis to reduce nightmares (Belendiuk et al., 2015).
A cannabinoid dependent study showed that subjects reported residual effects during daytime after the administration of THC before sleeping.
CBD would eliminate those residual effects but subjects reported sleepiness after CBD administration (Nicholson et al., 2004).
For more information, please read a review on the topic by Gates et al. (2014).
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