Treating Nightmares – The Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Aside from relieving some of the health issues that cause nightmares, consuming medical marijuana could also directly reduce or eliminate nightmares by impacting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is the phase of the sleep cycle during which the eyes move rapidly while an individual may experience dreams.

Nightmares are vividly realistic, disturbing dreams that rattles an individual and keeps him awake from deep sleep. Nightmares usually set the heart pounding from fear and tend to occur mostly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a time when dreaming takes place. An individual may therefore experience nightmares in the early morning hours because the period of REM sleep becomes progressively longer as the night progresses. Although nightmares are much more common in children, one in every two adults may also experience nightmares occasionally.

Of course, the subject of nightmares varies from person to person and some people often have a recurring nightmare about certain traumatic events they might have experienced. For instance, an individual might continue to have nightmares about an attack or an accident he experienced. Although nightmares in adults are often spontaneous, they can also be caused by a number of factors and underlying conditions. 

For instance, nightmares in some people are triggered after eating a late night snack, which increases metabolism and signals the brain to be more active. Moreover, certain medications as well as drugs like narcotics and anti-depressants are also associated with nightmares. In addition, non psychological medications such as blood pressure medications can equally contribute to nightmares in adults. 

Sleep deprivation may also contribute to nightmares and certain factors such as depression and anxiety could also trigger adult nightmares. Besides, sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could also result in chronic recurrent nightmares in adults.

Nightmares become much more than a bad dream when they start taking a negative toll on an individual’s health and overall wellbeing. If severe nightmares are left untreated, the condition could degenerate and result in other health issues including depression, heart disease and obesity. Nightmares are treatable and although imagery rehearsal treatment is a promising cognitive behavioral therapy for recurrent nightmares caused by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, there are a number of other steps that can be taken to reduce the frequency of nightmares. Some of such steps include keeping a regular wake-sleep schedule, engaging in regular exercises, practicing good sleep hygiene as well as being cautious of certain substances like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine which could remain for up to 12 hours in the system and disrupt sleep pattern.

According to some scientists, medical marijuana can effectively tackle many of the underlying causes of nightmares. Thus, many people who have been unable to find relief from standard nightmare treatment have turned to medical marijuana. Some of the causes of nightmares that are reportedly relieved by medical marijuana include:

Stress and Anxiety

  • One of the many benefits of medical marijuana is the fact that it reduces stress and anxiety. Thus, by consuming the right dosage of medical cannabis, you will become less stressed and this will in turn reduce your chances of having or experiencing nightmares.


  • It is apparent that certain medications act as a trigger to nightmares. However, medical cannabis could work as an effective supplement or alternative for nightmare-causing medications such as antidepressants as well as blood pressure medicines.

Sleep Deprivation

  • Sleep deprivation is also one of the known causes of nightmares, but the good news is that medical marijuana is reported to have calming properties that promote quality sleep which goes a long way to prevent the occurence of nightmares.

A few studies have also been carried out on the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating nightmares and sleep disorders. According to a study that was conducted in 2009, nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, could reduce or eliminate nightmares in PTSD patients. Nabilone works in the same way like cannabinoids in marijuana by activating special receptors in the cell. The findings from this study revealed that an impressive 72% of the 47 patients reported a total cessation of nightmares.

Another study that was carried in 1973 at Napa State Hospital in California, also revealed that THC in medical cannabis does not only reduce the amount of time it takes those with insomnia to fall asleep, but that it also helps in reducing the frequency of nightmares.


Web MD
Greenlight Approved

Marijuana strains reported to help with Nightmares:

  • White Nightmare
  • Blueberry
  • Lost Coast OG
  • Monkey Paw
  • Crazy Miss Hyde

How To Get Medical Marijuana


To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.

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