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Anxiety Health

Ask A Doctor – Anxiety And Insomnia

Written by Dr. Leah Zachar

While insomnia and chronic insomnia affects thousands of people worldwide, there’s also an uncanny, albeit unsurprising link between sleeplessness and worry…

Question: Is there a connection between anxiety and insomnia?

Answer: Yes. Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat nerves and anxiety, in part through its interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. In anxiety, sleep is near impossible as the person is overwhelmed by racing thoughts about past and future events, and a loss of control over one’s responsibilities. CBD treats the insomnia of anxiety by decreasing the anxiety. With decreased anxiety, the mind is less consumed by racing thoughts. One often feels anxious and trying to sleep, like “a hamster racing on a wheel”. When CBD is taken, the brain relaxes, then the body relaxes, and a natural sleep ensues.

Question: I’m 55 and I’ve endured 6 surgical procedures, after many yrs. of physical therapy, exercise, chiropractor etc…. till the pain got so severe I had no choice but to give in to surgery. 2 spinal fusions, neck fusion, 2 shoulder repairs, a total knee replacement, trying to avoid the other knee. Yes, I’ve tried many medications, to no avail, and have had really bad reactions with the antidepressants.

Answer: Wow. You have had a most unfortunate and prolonged series of unfortunate experiences. I think it can be summed up as this: You have chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and levels of frustration beyond comprehension.
Let’s first try to address the anxiety & insomnia & pain together. Simply put, both anxiety and pain make sleep near impossible. And with poor sleep, both anxiety and pain are harder to treat. CBD works directly on the sleep-wake cycle. It helps you sleep. And with a deeper and longer sleep, the pain and anxiety are easier to control.
But even better CBD also helps anxiety and pain, thus you are helping at least three of your main concerns with one product.

Question: I have insomnia. I’ve had it for years, due to awful personal problems – none of them medical. So now I’m anxious, and I can’t sleep. My girlfriend had THC for me and said it may help me. How does THC differ in how it helps treat insomnia?

Answer: THC does NOT work directly to improve the circadian homeostasis (as CBD does). It is associated with daytime sleepiness, delayed sleep latency and negative mood and memory alterations. Though THC may have a short-term sleep benefit, but long-term chronic use is associated with habituation. You also have the issue of THC withdrawal. In THC withdrawal you have sleep disturbances and vivid dreams. Symptoms can last up to 6 weeks. It is worst in heavy cannabis users. Administration of zolpidem attenuates the effects. CBD works in a completely different location than THC, so you do not become dependent on it and you do have any issues of withdrawal.

Question: Is there an optimal dose using CBD for anxiety or is it specific to every individual?

Answer: Low dose CBD, which is 20-40 mg/day is the range needed for “regular” anxiety, and high dose CBD, which is up to 400 mg/day helps with social anxiety. These are ranges, though and are not “set in stone.” Every person responds a little differently to a given dose, as each person’s anxiety is not exactly like another person’s anxiety. Start low, and increase slowly.

The CBD Testers Ask A Doctor sessions are free events happening every Thursday at 1 EST. Join the group below….

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If you liked these questions and answers and want more, why not check out the Q&A from – Ask a Doctor – Types and Causes of Insomnia

[Image credit: Pixabay]

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About the author

Dr. Leah Zachar

Dr. Leah Zachar, M.D. is a physician who worked for nearly thirty years in Internal Medicine.
She currently is a scientific adviser to CBD Testers. Dr. Zachar believes that there is much that medical cannabis, and cannabidiol in particular can offer to traditional medicine.