Is CBD Good for Sleep Apnea?

May 19, 2022

Do you snore loudly when you sleep? Or do you often feel tired when you wake up in the morning? If your answer is yes to these questions, you might have a sleep condition known as sleep apnea. 

Read on to learn more about this sleep disorder and the remedies you can use to alleviate its symptoms.

 

What is Sleep Apnea?

 

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by irregular breathing. Instead of breathing normally, this condition causes your breathing to start and stop when you’re sleeping.

Data obtained from population-based studies put the prevalence of sleep apnea at approximately 2-5% for women and 3-7% for men in the general population. Globally, some 100 million people have sleep apnea.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health conditions like heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, and heart attack, which could be fatal.

Sleep apnea has also been linked to work-related accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and poor school performance among children and adolescents.

Regular snoring (also known as primary snoring) is different from sleep apnea-related snoring. In the former case, research shows that excess weight, alcohol use, sleeping style (sleeping on your back), and old age are potential causative factors.

Even though regular snoring and sleep apnea-related snoring both happen due to the vibration of soft tissues at the back of the throat, people with sleep apnea are likely to:

  • Choke, gasp, or take shallow breaths
  • Pause breathing (for over 10 seconds)
  • Snore louder than people with regular snoring

In a general population, 10% of women and 25% of men are likely to develop sleep apnea. Even though this condition can affect anybody, including children and babies, it is common in older people (50 years and above) and those who are overweight. 

 

Are there different types of sleep apnea?

 

Sleep apnea is distinguished into three types:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

 

This type of sleep apnea is characterized by repetitive episodes of partial or complete upper airway blockage when sleeping. The chest muscles and diaphragm work harder to open the airway, which is under high pressure. Loud gasps or body jerks indicate that breathing has resumed. Obstructive sleep apnea can interfere with sleep rhythm and reduce oxygen flow to vital body organs like the brain.

Central Sleep Apnea

 

Central sleep apnea is caused by the brain’s inability to send the correct signals to muscles that control breathing. This is usually due to problems in the respiratory control center. Malfunctions in the central nervous system often cause these problems.

This type of sleep apnea is prevalent in people with neuromuscular conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), people with heart, lung, or kidney diseases, or people who’ve had a stroke.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

 

Doctors refer to this type of sleep apnea as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. It happens when you have both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.

Sleep apnea does not go away on its own, especially once it becomes chronic. So, the only recourse is to seek medical care. You can also consider using natural CBD products.

 

Does CBD work for sleep apnea?

Woman who can't sleep sits on the side of her bed. 

 

A growing body of research studies indicates that CBD may have numerous benefits. Presently, there is irrefutable evidence that CBD can relieve pain and anxiety and improve sleep quality. However, researchers are yet to uncover the full range of CBD’s health benefits. 

CBD’s ability to treat sleep apnea is based mainly on anecdotal evidence. Limited studies are proving the efficacy of CBD in managing sleep apnea. The closest researchers have come to determining whether CBD works for sleep apnea was in two studies. One study investigated the impact of dronabinol on insomnia, while the other tested the effects of dronabinol on sleep apnea patients.

Dronabinol is a drug made from synthetic THC. According to the first study (dronabinol vs. insomnia), dronabinol registered some positive effects in reducing sleep latency (the time it takes you to fall asleep at night). However, continued use of the drug was linked to poor sleep quality in the long term.

In the second study, the results showed that the participants who took the highest doses of the drug (10 milligrams of dronabinol) registered reduced symptoms of subjective sleepiness and the lowest incidences of hypopnea and apnea episodes. Precisely, dronabinol reduced apnea-related symptoms by 33%.

While these results are promising as far as the use of cannabinoids in treating sleep apnea is concerned, there is a need for more research to determine whether CBD can be used to manage sleep apnea effectively.

 

Can CBD help sleep apnea?

 

Even though CBD has demonstrated numerous health benefits for persons with sleep disorders, it is not exactly known how it can help people with sleep apnea.

Nonetheless, a few animal and human studies have shown that CBD can help manage certain symptoms associated with sleep apnea and improve sleep quality in persons with the condition.

Meanwhile, CBD has proven helpful in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, one of the targeted therapeutic areas in sleep apnea. This suggests that this chemical compound may also play a vital role in treating sleep apnea.

For people with apnea-related conditions like chronic pain, diabetes, and hypertension, introducing CBD oils to your daily routine can help reduce these symptoms. Remember that in some instances, the onset of these symptoms can signal that your sleep apnea condition is worsening. 

While current research has so far yielded promising results, more work still needs to be done to establish a clear relationship between CBD and sleep apnea.

 

Is CBD good for sleep apnea?

 

Currently, the best treatment for sleep apnea is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine works by generating a continuous flow of pressurized air. The air is purified and delivered to a mask attached to the patient’s nose and mouth area. 

The force generated by the pressurized air opens any blockages in the airway. This enables the air to reach the lungs and supply oxygen. As a result, your breathing continues uninterrupted.

However, the popularity of CBD is growing, and people with sleep apnea are increasingly open to trying CBD-based therapies. Some have found relief, but there is still a shortage of empirical evidence supporting CBD’s efficacy in treating sleep apnea.

Before using CBD to find relief from sleep apnea, we recommend consulting a qualified medical practitioner. Inquire if and how you can use CBD. You can also discuss other alternatives, such as lifestyle changes or oral appliance therapy. 

We believe that sleep apnea should not deny you a good night’s sleep, and CBD may offer some relief from sleep apnea. 

 

How does CBD oil work for sleep apnea?

 

CBD oil has proven to be one of the popular remedies for many common ailments. It’s essentially a combination of CBD extracted from cannabis and a carrier element such as hemp oil or coconut oil.

CBD oil may help relieve some symptoms associated with sleep apnea because it has neuroprotective properties. There is research-based evidence that CBD can effectively mitigate some neurological conditions such as muscle spasticity and epilepsy. 

For instance, Epidiolex and Sativex are CBD-based medical prescriptions certified by the FDA to be used in treating epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, respectively. 

A condition like central sleep apnea is neurological because it starts with the brain miscommunicating with muscles that control breathing. Because of its neuroprotective properties, CBD oil may potentially have a positive effect in treating sleep apnea.

Further, CBD oil can help reduce sleep apnea-related symptoms such as high blood pressure. This hypothesis is supported by the findings of two studies investigating the effects of CBD on men with high blood pressure.

In both studies, the participants recorded reduced blood pressure after being treated with 600 milligrams of CBD oil. However, the reduction in blood pressure was short-lived because it was lost after seven days.

The results also showed that the participants registered reduced arterial stiffness and improved arterial blood flow after repeated doses of CBD. However, it is essential to note that thus far, CBD presents promising results in mitigating symptoms associated with sleep apnea. There is no evidence it can treat sleep apnea.

Nonetheless, we can derive further insight into CBD’s ability to treat sleep apnea by examining its interaction with the endocannabinoid system.

According to recent studies, the endocannabinoid system may just be the most important physiologic system in the human body. Why? Because it plays a vital role in influencing many body functions, some of which are yet to be identified.

Thus far, researchers have established that endocannabinoids and their receptors litter the human body. They are present in the brain, glands, connective tissues, organs, and immune cells. The endocannabinoid’s complex actions in the nervous system, the immune system, and all body organs literally make it a bridge between the mind and the body.

One of the major roles of the endocannabinoid system is homeostasis. This refers to the maintenance of balance in the body. In controlling the body’s cellular and internal homeostasis, the endocannabinoid influences our relationship with our environment.

At the social level, the action of cannabinoids on the endocannabinoid system is believed to control human behavior, such as sleep.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to alter numerous body functions. For example, CBD’s binding action with receptors in the endocannabinoid system has been shown to affect pain perception and how the body adapts to stress. 

Sleep apnea is caused by the soft tissues at the back of the throat partially or entirely blocking the airway. Researchers posit that CBD’s binding action to endocannabinoid receptors might help manage sleep apnea by altering the chemical messages that relax the tissues.

So instead of relaxing these soft tissues, the endocannabinoid system instructs the brain to stiffen them to promote self-heal. 

 

Our CBD products for sleep apnea

 

If you feel you’d want to try CBD to manage your sleep apnea, the next logical step would be to know which CBD products are best suited for your condition.

You’re probably looking for immediate relief, so it’s best to skip CBD topicals and go for products that enter your system faster. 

Our FOCL Night is made of premium hemp CBD and fortified with five soothing botanicals to help your mind and body relax. Its organic ingredients such as valerian, passionflower, and Ashwagandha possess therapeutic and anti-inflammatory properties that help your body recover from stress and reduce inflammation.

 

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CBD for a good night's sleep.

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Recall that central sleep apnea is caused by the brain’s inability to communicate correctly with your throat muscles. So our FOCL Sleep Drops might just provide the relief you’re looking for. This product contains organic MCT oil that supports healthier brain development (and helps it communicate better with those throat muscles, right?). FOCL Night also assists in the production of melatonin and serotonin to help you sleep better.

 

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Clean, simple ingredients for the perfect night's sleep.

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Final Thoughts

 

Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep; it’s key to your overall physical and mental wellbeing. If sleep apnea is causing you sleepless nights, leaving you feeling tired and groggy when you wake up in the morning, we propose a host of natural supplements you can explore. At FOCL, we have a stack of CBD products that will give quick relief from the debilitating effects of sleep apnea.

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