Marijuana-safe and effective for treating sleep apnea

Here is evidence that THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid found in marijuana, can benefit people suffering from sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, a toke or two of vaporized or smoked marijuana (or some tincture or an edible) could significantly improve your quality of life. Also, if there is some oxygen deprivation resulting from apnea, the cannabinoids will shield the brain and likely reduce the resulting damage. Front Psychiatry.  Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Proof of concept trial of dronabinol in obstructive sleep apnea.Prasad B, Radulovacki MG, Carley DW.SourceDepartment of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL, USA.AbstractStudy Objective: Animal data suggest that Δ9-TetraHydroCannabinol Δ9THC stabilizes autonomic output during sleep, reduces spontaneous sleep-disordered breathing, and blocks serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea. On this basis, we examined the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of dronabinol Δ9THC, an exogenous Cannabinoid type 1 and type 2 CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea OSA. Design and Setting: Proof of concept; single-center dose-escalation study of dronabinol. Participants: Seventeen adults with a baseline Apnea Hypopnea Index AHI ≥15/h. Baseline polysomnography PSG was performed after a 7-day washout of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatment. Intervention: Dronabinol was administered after baseline PSG, starting at 2.5 mg once daily. The dose was increased weekly, as tolerated, to 5 mg and finally to 10 mg once daily. Measurements and Results: Repeat PSG assessments were performed on nights 7, 14, and 21 of dronabinol treatment. Change in AHI ΔAHI, mean ± SD was significant from baseline to night 21 -14.1 ± 17.5; p = 0.007. No degradation of sleep architecture or serious adverse events was noted. Conclusion: Dronabinol treatment is safe and well-tolerated in OSA patients at doses of 2.5-10 mg daily and significantly reduces AHI in the short-term. These findings should be confirmed in a larger study in order to identify sub-populations with OSA that may benefit from cannabimimetic pharmacologic therapy.PMID: 23346060 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3550518Free PMC Article

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