MINNEAPOLIS – A University of Minnesota sleep expert says the state health department may have jumped the gun by approving medical marijuana for sleep apnea.
The condition affects 18 million American adults, mostly males, according to the National Sleep Foundation. It causes the upper airway to collapse during sleep, which repeatedly interrupts breathing and can lead to serious health problems.
The latest research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, shows that synthetic THC, the main drug in marijuana, can stimulate the vagus nerve in the brain during sleep causing breathing to stabilize.
“It showed some pretty significant and impressive benefits for the two arms of the study that were not the placebo arm,” said Tom Arneson, research manager for