Since then several other so-called endocannabinoids and their receptors have been discovered. Scientists have come to recognize that endocannabinoids interact with a specific neurological network—much the way that endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine do. Exercise, Mechoulam notes, has been shown to elevate endocannabinoid levels in the brain, and “this probably accounts for what jogging enthusiasts call runner’s high.” These compounds, he explains, apparently play an important role in such basic functions as memory, balance, movement, immune health, and neuroprotection.

As mentioned previously, while CBD-dominant products help some people sleep, in others it promotes wakefulness. Orally administered THC, especially products from heavier “Kush” strains and Purple cannabis varieties, are very effective for sleep disorders. These tend to be high in myrcene and linalool, a terpene shared with lavender and known to be effective for relaxation. Cannabis combinations with ratios of 1:1, 4:1, or 24:1 CBD:THC can be used when patients want to reduce psychoactivity.


CBD may help reduces REM behavior disorder in people with Parkinson’s disease. REM behavior disorder is a condition that causes people to act out physically during dreaming and REM sleep. Typically, during REM, the body is largely paralyzed, a state known as REM atonia. This immobilization keeps sleepers from reacting physically to their dreams. In REM behavior disorder, this paralysis doesn’t occur, leaving people free to move—which can lead to disruptive sleep and to injuring themselves or their sleeping partners. Cannabis may also work to reduce pain and improve sleep quality in people with Parkinson’s disease.

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