Among the many types of sleep disorders Narcolepsy is a rare condition that causes excessive sleep during the daytime. It affects 1 in 2000 people and occurs equally in both genders. People suffering from it feel very sleepy during the day and may fall asleep involuntarily while involved in activities. Because of this, it can be particularly dangerous when driving or doing risky physical labours; in Narcolepsy the sleep wake boundary gets blurred and hence they show sleep characteristics when awake. There is currently no cure for Narcolepsy and the CBD product, pure CBD oil can be useful in its treatment. So, what is Narcolepsy and how is CBD oil beneficial in its treatment?
What Is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is categorised to be a neurological disorder and the symptoms appear as early as in childhood or adolescence, but in many cases it is diagnosed when symptoms become severe later in life. Because the sleep wake boundary is blurred, many of the deep sleep features like catalepsy or muscle paralysis of REM sleep are displayed during daytime. Besides, it causes disruption to night time sleep and people experience vivid nightmares. There are two types of it, namely: Type 1 with catalepsy and Type 2 without catalepsy, the former is the most common type.
Narcolepsy with catalepsy is caused due to the absence of chemical hypocretin in the brain that regulates wakefulness, arousal and appetite. The destruction of the cells producing it located in the hypothalamus makes it difficult for the person to stay awake and disrupts the sleep-wake cycle.
The Importance Of Sleep
A good night’s sleep is vital for good health as it helps to flush out harmful toxins in our body including the brain. The recommended daily hours of sleep varies from 7 to 10 hours and it can vary between individuals based on various physiological and environmental factors. Lack of proper sleep can result in an underperforming immune system, behavioural issues, memory issues, weight gain etc. In many of the sleeping disorders including narcolepsy it affects your overall physiological performance.
Symptoms Of Narcolepsy
- Catalepsy: It is also known as muscle paralysis resulting in weakness of arms, legs or trunk, losing voluntary muscle control, slurred speech due to slack jaw. This is triggered by strong emotions such as anger, surprise, laughter etc.
- Excess Daytime Sleep: Excessive daytime sleep is one of the most common symptoms of Narcolepsy and it can affect their activities. Besides, it causes severe fatigue, memory lapses, mental confusion, mood swings and lack of concentration.
- Hallucinations: Hallucination is defined as a person having sensory experiences like hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling things that do not exist for real and it can make a person paranoid, nervous and afraid. People with narcolepsy experience hallucinations when they are falling asleep or waking up.
- Sleep Paralysis: People with narcolepsy experience paralysis of muscles when falling asleep or waking up and it can last for a few seconds to several minutes.
Treatments For Narcolepsy
As mentioned earlier there is no known cure for Narcolepsy and it is a lifelong disorder. If it is properly diagnosed earlier enough the severity of the symptoms can be reduced. The usual treatments that are administered focus on reducing the major symptom, catalepsy arising due to disturbances in the REM sleep cycle with the help of prescription drugs. The daytime sleepiness is managed by using stimulants like antihistamines and the REM sleep disturbances are managed using antidepressant drugs. The other methods include behavioural therapies to control the trigger of strong emotions. Also lifestyle changes like avoiding nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, heavy meals before sleep and fixed routine for sleep helps to reduce the symptoms.
How Is CBD Oil Useful In Treating Narcolepsy?
Of the many CBD health benefits like reducing inflammation, relieving pain it is also useful in the treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia and narcolepsy. This is because of its effect of enhancing the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a chemical pathway of endocannabinoid chemicals produced by our body and any deficiency in these endogenous chemicals causes diseases or health disorders. Consuming CBD oil helps in fixing these deficiencies and alleviating the symptoms of the disease.
The most common type of narcolepsy is the one with catalepsy and it is triggered by strong emotions. Consuming pure CBD oil helps to manage this due to its calming effect as well as providing good night-time sleep. Besides, its improvement of the sleep-wake cycle provides better daytime alertness. So it reduces fatigue, improves concentration, gives mental clarity and as a result increases the efficiency of day time activities. Also, cannabidiol reduces REM sleep disturbances, effective in reducing unpleasant nightmares and hallucinations. Apart from this, it helps to prevent the incidence of catalepsy or muscle paralysis because of its influence on the REM sleep.
Pure CBD oil is found to be a good complementary option for those undergoing treatment for narcolepsy by improving their quality of sleep.