I know that a lot of people fear the legalization of marijuana, for whatever reason. But from a medical point of view, it’s hard to understand why.
This plant — with its many oils and phytochemical compounds — offers a myriad of clear health benefits, at minimal risk. And has proven effective in a variety of cases where hope was nearly lost. So I’ve yet to come across a good explanation as to why Americans shouldn’t have access to it. Especially considering the scope of conditions it can treat just continues to grow wider and wider.
Gone are the days when marijuana was only considered useful to patients with cancer or AIDS. Today, we know it can help anything from seizures to anxiety to Crohn’s disease.
And now, you can add sleep apnea to that list. Because according to one new study, a synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana — might be an effective treatment for this common (and potentially deadly) condition.
As it stands, the first-line of treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, which helps to keep your airways open while you sleep. But most of my patients hate wearing these devices, and if you’ve ever had a look at one, it’s easy to see why. So it’s no surprise that most people eventually stop using them altogether.
Unfortunately, though, there aren’t many other options. (Outside of weight loss, of course — which is the first recommendation I always make.) But that may change soon, thanks to Dronabinol.
Big Pharma whipped up this patented form of THC all the way back in 1985, so they could sell it as a drug to treat chemotherapy-related nausea and wasting syndrome with the FDA’s blessing. (Because heaven forbid anyone gets these benefits the old-fashioned way — that would be beyond the pale.)
Previous research on the drug indicated that it might be able to stop spontaneous apneas during sleep. But since those were primarily animal studies, researchers recently decided to conduct a formal trial — this time, featuring 73 human subjects with moderate-to-severe sleep apnea.
Patients randomly received one of two dosages of Dronabinol — 2.5 mg or 10 mg — or a placebo for six weeks. And in the end, the results were the same on either dose: subjects taking the drug experienced a significant reduction in apnea episodes compared to placebo, during both REM and non-REM sleep.
But, the group taking the 10 mg dose also showed significant improvements in daytime sleepiness — and reported the most satisfaction with their treatment, too.
Again, no matter how you feel about marijuana, it’s obvious that patients with sleep apnea need more treatment options. Especially when you consider how many of them — at least one million, according to some estimates — have completely given up on what’s currently available.
What’s troubling, though, is that this research will likely be used to turn Dronabinol into Big Pharma’s next cash cow. When it should be used to shine a spotlight on one of nature’s most potent healers.
There are so many conditions for which medical marijuana can be helpful. When I took the course to be able to prescribe it, I was absolutely shocked by just how much research there is… and just how many uses have already been firmly established for this plant.
In my line of work, the goal is always to treat patients effectively using the most natural means possible. Nothing fits that bill better than marijuana — and if it means fewer people rely on side-effect laden drugs, then as far as I’m concerned, full legalization can’t come soon enough.
In the meantime, there are many other natural options for getting the quality sleep you need. In fact, later today at 3 PM EST, I’ll be hosting a free webinar on how to do just that. And I’d like to invite readers of my Reality Health Check to join. You can sign up for my Perfect Sleep Summit by clicking here or visiting www.PerfectSleepSummit.com. Hope to see you later!