Terra Incognita - Cannabis for Sleep

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F27
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Date Joined Feb 2016
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   Posted 6/21/2017 11:04 AM (GMT -7)   
about a year ago I decided to change GPs and did something that is anathema for most Canadians and joined a clinic that I actually **gasp** have to pay for. The cost is significant but I still feel that having a dedicated "wellness team" is something that is really paying off. Unlike my previous clinic, my new place provides nutrition counseling, psychology, traditional Chinese medicine, massage, and kinesiology and I've been able to avail myself of everything.

The changes made to my mental health have been wonderful.

One of my many goals for this new clinic is to help me sleep. I'm a 7 day a week Ambien guy and have been for a long time, and titrating off the stuff while continuing to get enough sleep to work is an incredible challenge. I'm getting older, and being perpetually short of sleep isn't as tolerable as it was say 30 years ago. So my wellness team got together, spit-balled some ideas, and came back to me with the proposal that I try medical cannabis for sleep.

All rightee then.

The approval process was fairly painless. I went to a clinic that specializes in all things cannabis and was accepted and approved without too much fanfare. My first shipment arrived a month ago and since then I've been playing with finding the appropriate dosage to a) put me to sleep, and b) keep me asleep. I've been approaching this as scientifically as possible, titrating down the Ambien whilst titrating up the THC oil and dried cannabis for vaping. I still haven't found the proper dosing protocol but I'm not giving up yet.

Anybody using medical cannabis as a sleep aid? What's your protocol? How do you minimize the downtime associated with intoxication? I want to make this work, as the Ambien is leaving me with memory holes that worry me, but I'm having difficulty balancing the cannabis' side effects with its efficacy.

All advice appreciated.

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
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   Posted 6/21/2017 12:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I use medical cannabis but for psychological help through out the day and for pain. I smoke at night but it isn't what helps me sleep. Well, it may be helping but I use meditation.

I took ambien for years too. When I went off I was taking 1/2 of a pill every other night. I still slept on the nights I didn't take it. I found it easy for me to go off. I still take one maybe once a month or every other month. But they are some I stashed when I was going off of them, so it isn't like I will always have them.

In my meditation process, I focus on relaxing all muscles in the body from head to toe. Then I repeat my mantra while paying attention to my breathing. This doesn't allow me to think of other things and that really helps me fall asleep.

I do partake in the medical marijuana before I go to bed, but there is no set amount or milligrams that I can tell you. I just know it relaxes me and that helps.

I wish you success with this. And I hope you find the amount that you need soon so it can help you sleep.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

RobLee
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 392
   Posted 6/21/2017 1:25 PM (GMT -7)   
I've never taken a sleep med per se, but I did use Tramadol nightly for over ten years. It was prescribed for a leg injury and, as I do not drink alcohol, I looked forward each evening to my "nightcap". It was subtle but worked for the pain... one of those things where after an hour or two I'd 'notice' that my leg didn't hurt anymore.

Once the cancer merry-go-round began to catch up with me a few months back I started taking Effexor for multiple reasons and had to discontinue the Tramadol as the combination could lead to some nasty side effects. Coming off Tramadol was not easy, as I'm sure coming off Ambien must be (and most likely coming off Effexor eventually will be as well).

Without the Tramadol I had strange limb spasms which my Dr said are restless leg syndrome. Never had it before while I was using Tramadol. So now I take Gabapentin at bedtime for the RLS and discovered that it really knocks me out. One cap an hour before bed and I have just enough time for teeth brushing and maybe a little online chat. Then I'm out for the night. I feel a little "dopey" in the morning, especially if my legs wake me up and I take even MORE.

So how does this relate to cannabis? I suppose not at all. Medical MJ is legal where we live and my wife imbibes occasionally. She has lymphoma and is bald so it was easy to get it for nausea and pain. I join in sometimes, but rare. I don't enjoy it like I used to. Considering I spent most of the 70's and 80's (plus a good part of the sixties) stoned, that's something to say. As a friend of mine once said of aging, "I used to do drugs, now I take medication".

I suppose I should wish you good luck weening off one drug and going onto another. My wife would say it's good that you are moving away from pharmaceutical poison and going "all natural".

F27
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Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 874
   Posted 6/21/2017 2:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the response, RobLee. I can't say I'm a big fan of getting high anymore either, it just seems to be a bigger time-suck than I remember. Granted, all the strains I bought are on the sleepy side of the spectrum, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised that consumption results in couch-lock. But yeesh, I feel like I'm replacing a Ambien's laser precision with a cannabis atomic bomb - complete with all the expected collateral damage.

My wife is all about me being natural instead of synthetic. I'm less fussed about that; I just want something that's effective and doesn't leave me with chunks of my memory in tatters.

"I used to do drugs, now I take medication". - gonna keep that one locked and loaded. LOL

@Karen: I was trying meditation for a while too, but could never get past my tinnitus. Unfortunately, the moment I would try to center myself, the only thing I could focus on was the ringing, buzzing, and gonging in my ears. Suffice to say that tended to wind me up instead of relax me.

Do you have any particular strains you would recommend for mood?

RobLee
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 392
   Posted 6/21/2017 3:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, it's definitely one worth remembering.
The actual complete quote was:

"I used to use drugs, now I 'take medication'.
I used to get high, now I 'experience side effects'.

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41915
   Posted 6/21/2017 3:33 PM (GMT -7)   
There is one called "gorilla glue" that I am fond of. But my favorite is "chocoloupe". It is Sativa dominant, so it picks you up a little and gives you some energy.

For pain people like it high in "CBD's". Often it is lower in "THC" though so you don't get the high, just the pain relief. Though I feel the others help with pain too as they relax me.

For sleep, by the end of the day they all make me sleepy. I guess that is normal. But the indica's help me the most with sleep.

I have been smoking for years, and it has always helped my mood. Especially if I am upset about something. I seem to find a way to look at the situation differently or from another perspective and it calms me down. Maybe it is just me but that is the way it effects me.

I am sorry about the tinnitus. Can you relax with the sound in your head. I run a fan at night and that helps me not to hear any ringing or anything in my ears. Maybe you could try some white noise or some nature sounds.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

F27
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 874
   Posted 6/22/2017 8:31 AM (GMT -7)   
The strain names are truly amusing. I come from the days of zero choice - so this new marketplace is a little overwhelming.

Nah, that's the problem, the sound is overwhelming. It wasn't until I started talking about it with my shrink that I came to realize that much of my life is about being distracted enough not to notice my tinnitus. White noise doesn't help because I'm pretty much deaf when I take out my hearing aids.

Ahhh, another challenge to overcome. smile

NiceCupOfTea
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 10090
   Posted 6/25/2017 4:52 PM (GMT -7)   
F27 said...
@Karen: I was trying meditation for a while too, but could never get past my tinnitus. Unfortunately, the moment I would try to center myself, the only thing I could focus on was the ringing, buzzing, and gonging in my ears. Suffice to say that tended to wind me up instead of relax me.


Similar for me, but replace tinnitus with itchy skin and restless legs. Before they started I did sometimes used to be able to lie there, completely still, and let thoughts flow through my mind until I fell asleep - it felt like a form of meditation basically. But I stopped being able to do that once the crappy itchy skin arrived (it's always been much worse at night too). Magnesium oil has really helped with my restless legs, but the itchiness has been crazy since I've stopped the duloxetine. Hoping it's a temporary side-effect...

As you know, medical cannabis is banned in the UK sad So backward...

The tinnitus sounds crap by the way. I didn't realise it was that bad. These little things that you can't cure or treat are so annoying!
Dx Crohn's in June 2000. (Yay skull)
Tried: 5-ASAs, azathioprine, 6MP, Remicade, methotrexate, Humira, diets.
1st surgery 20/2/13 - subtotal colectomy with end ileostomy.
2nd surgery 10/7/15 - ileorectal anastomosis. Stoma reversed and ileum connected to the rectum.
Current status: Chronic flare. Do I have any other kind?
Current meds: 50mg 6MP; Entyvio (started 3/11/16)

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41915
   Posted 6/25/2017 5:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi NCOT,

Nice to see you post. Have you ever put coconut oil on your skin? It heals a lot of things, maybe it would help with the itchiness. I had a dermatitis on my hands when I was younger, they itched so bad. I had to use steroid creams and take pills for a long time before it cleared up. So I know how frustrating and annoying that the itchiness can be. I had restless leg too a few years back. I tried some pills for it but they made me feel worse. Finally it stopped.

F27,

What about ear buds and some meditation tapes? Or just some relaxing music? Would that keep MRSF27 up at night? I hope you find something that works for you.

Hugs to both of you.

Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

F27
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 874
   Posted 6/26/2017 8:13 AM (GMT -7)   
I've had tinnitus for as long as I can remember. My first band (Johnny **** and the Studs) were terrible, but it didn't matter because we were really, really loud. People liked us because we were loud, and we would probably be together today if we could have just agreed on who would be Johnny ****, and who would be studs.

Tinnitus doesn't have a treatment modality, but it is generally served well by distracting noises. White noise, or even frequencies tailored specifically to your tinnitus, can help make the sounds less invasive. Generally, I find that as long as I have my hearing aids on, I'm not bothered by my tinnitus because there are so many other noises in the world.

Where tinnitus becomes difficult for me is when I take my hearing aids out. I'm essentially deaf at that point, so the noises in my head become the only noises I hear. That's when I begin to realize how loud they are. That's why I can only sleep after eating ambien, and that's why white noise doesn't help - without my hearing aids, I can't hear it.

I recently tried Traditional Chinese Medicine to see if that could help. Lot's of acupuncture and something called 'Guasha' which made my neck looked like it was covered in hickies. Didn't work, unfortunately, but did make positive changes to my energy level.

I keep looking at the potential of stem cell therapy to help heal my hearing, but until that happens, I need to keep looking for ways to shut my brain off so that the ringing and buzzing doesn't keep me from sleeping.

Thus the weed.

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41915
   Posted 6/26/2017 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Does the marijuana help? Or are you still experimenting with it?

That has to be so frustrating. I run a fan at night but I can hear it so it blocks everything else out. I do have a ringing in my ears but with the fan on, I can't hear it.

I hope that the cannabis helps you fall asleep. I took ambien for years too. But can't seem to get it anymore due to my age I guess. I really don't need it though so it doesn't really matter for me.

Take care F27.

Have a good evening.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

F27
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 874
   Posted 6/26/2017 1:51 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm still playing with it, although the THC oil will probably be my choice. Vaping is okay, but I seriously don't like being high that much, with the oil I still get high, but it's different.

Guess who had 50ml of CBD oil leak into his briefcase? I don't think I'll be able to take that bag across the border anymore. LOL

You take care too. smile

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41915
   Posted 6/26/2017 2:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Bummer, I hope you didn't lose a lot. It gets expensive. And no I wouldn't try to transport that bag anymore. Sorry it happened.

I see now, 50ml. Bummer.

I have an oil pen. We make our oil so it does have thc in it. But we can get cbd oil too. My husband has some ointment made with cbd oil and coconut oil. It works real good for pain and for headaches especially. We keep it in the refrigerator because with the heat we had it was melting. Good stuff for pain.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies
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