A study published in the journal Sleep found that THC and a natural endocannabinoid both stabilized respiration during sleep and decreased apnea, in rats at least. (Endocannabinoids are the chemicals produced by the body which THC and other cannabinoids resemble.) The study was performed by researchers at the Center for Sleep and Ventilatory Disorders at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Apnea is a disorder which involves interruptions of breathing during sleep. This leads to long-term sleep loss, which can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, and other problems. The study concludes that endocannabinoids likely play an important role in regulating the autonomic nervous system during sleep, and that a cannabinoid-based treatment for apnea should be pursued.
– Sleep: “Functional Role for Cannabinoids in Respiratory Stability During Sleep”: www.journalsleep.org/Citation/Sleepdata.asp?citationid=2104