Typical treatments for sleep apnea include oral appliances, surgery and nightly use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Recipients of these treatments often complain of discomfort, annoyance and cost.
Encouragingly, studies are pointing to a probable connection between the body’s endocannabinoid system and its role in regulating the airway during sleep. This has led to experiments with cannabis-based compounds in the treatment of snoring and OSA. Most of these have been animal studies, but a 2013 project on a small number of OSA sufferers showed a positive result between administration of a cannabis derivative (Dronabinol) and a significant reduction in symptoms.
The hope is that cannabis-based medicine will eventually provide a simple, convenient and effective treatment for OSA.
Medical Cannabis and Sleep Apnea: ResearchFor those who’d like to know more, we present this sample of related studies:
Functional Role for Cannabinoids in Respiratory Stability During Sleep
Anandamide Enhances Extracellular Levels of Adenosine and Induces Sleep: An In Vivo Microdialysis Study
Proof of concept trial of dronabinol in obstructive sleep apnea