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A result of either blocked airways or problems with signaling in the brain, sleep apnea occurs when breathing is repeatedly disrupted during the night. If left untreated, this condition can lead to bigger health complications, such as heart disease and depression.

Treatment ranges from simple lifestyle changes to the use of a special breathing device (CPAP) at night to, in more extreme cases, surgery. While these may offer some assistance in managing the symptoms, they don’t tackle the root cause of the condition, which varies from hypertension and hormone imbalance to spinal injuries. While there are no clinical studies on CBD as a suitable antidote, it has been shown to effectively treat some of the underlying health issues, making it a promising alternative to conventional therapies.

The two most common types of sleep apnea are central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is linked to brain function and occurs when the brain doesn’t send the correct signals to the muscles that control breathing. By acting on receptors in the brain, CBD has shown potential to influence these signaling pathways, which may in turn help to regulate the muscles in the upper airway.

Equally important is CBD’s known anti-anxiety properties. Excess stress and anxiety effects sleep patterns, but by reducing levels of cortisol, our body’s stress hormone, CBD is able to promote relaxation. This not only assists in combatting hypertension, which is a cause of some sleep apnea, but helps to reset the sleep cycle, encouraging better quality sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is, as the name suggests, caused by an obstruction of the upper airway and predominantly affects menopausal and post-menopausal women as well as people suffering from allergies and nasal congestion. By working with the endocannabinoid system, which regulates body function, CBD is able to bring hormone levels into balance and boost immune function, which helps to improve these underlying conditions.

But CBD’s benefits don’t stop there. As anyone with a sleep disorder knows, poor quality sleep at night leads to poor concentration and energy levels during the day. Like a domino effect, the drowsiness and fatigue one feels can begin to negatively impact everything from how you perform at work, to your relationships and even your safety behind the wheel of a car. Research has shown that CBD interacts with both dopamine and serotonin receptors which are important in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. The release of dopamine also promotes a sense of wakefulness and keeps you alert.

While CBD can’t replace the existing treatments for sleep apnea, it is a valuable weapon in your treatment arsenal. Adding CBD, whether in vape or oil form, into your daily routine will go a long way in improving your overall wellbeing.

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