The ICANsleep device, which is only available in Israel and California, is undergoing trials in Britain and could be available in a year
A cannabis inhaler could help millions of insomnia sufferers doze off within 10 minutes, its inventor has claimed.The new hand-held device squirts a dose of the drug into the lungs that is just enough to have a sedative effect without getting users high.Researchers say their tests of the ICANsleep gadget show just one dose is all that is needed to work.
Furthermore, they claims participant of the study woke up refreshed with no unpleasant side-effects.
ICANsleep – which looks like an asthma puffer – costs around £100. It is currently only available in Israel and California and could be marketed in Britain within a year where it is undergoing trials. It is estimated a third of adults suffer from occasional bouts of insomnia. The cost is more than just fatigue. Lack of regular sleep is linked to raised risk of depression, obesity, heart attack, stroke and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.
Our ‘open all hours’ culture, increasing stress noise and lights and mobile devices are just a few of the modern lifestyle factors that are blamed. Millions of Britons are prescribed sleeping tablets – which come with a range of health risks.
Key findings of the study
Israeli researchers developed a device which turns cannabis into a vapour. It was designed to contain less than a quarter of the amount of THC – the main psychoactive chemical that gets users high – you would find in a joint. Animal tests suggest the puffer worked in ten minutes or less. Now human trials involving 50 people are being carried out.
ICAN, the Israeli firm which makes the inhaler, insists the gadget is safe and not addictive. Boss Saul Kaye told The Sun: ‘Insomnia is mostly an anxiety disorder and cannabis can be very effective at reducing anxiety. ‘Also, it does not leave you feeling like you have a hangover.’ And investor William Levine of CannRx saidl: ‘You take a puff or two depending on the dosage and in ten minutes you will be drowsy enough to sleep.’
However, Dr Neil Stanley, former head of sleep research at Surrey University, told the newspaper the jury is still out on cannabis and warned more research was needed. For ICANsleep to be available in the UK it would need to get approval from the drug safety watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).
Sleeping pills danger
Over recent years, scientists have conducted various studies to assess the true side-effects and risks of taking sleeping pills. They have found an increased risk of heart attacks, broken bones, dementia and infections. And according to one expert, they pose the same threat as smoking a packet of cigarettes each day.
MailOnline reported in June that a worrying body of evidence is emerging over their dangers, with growing links to cancer, debilitating falls and even heart attacks.
Arizona State University sleep researcher Shawn Youngstedt believes those seeking a good night’s rest should instead exercise more. This brief stint of physical activity helps to burn you out, aiding you in your quest to fall asleep naturally, he said.
Researchers have long argued the need for safe treatments for insomnia due to the health risks it poses. Mr Youngstedt told CNN: ‘Sleeping pills are extremely hazardous. They are as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. ‘Not to mention they cause infections, falling and dementia in the elderly, and they lose their effectiveness after a few weeks.
‘It’s less expensive, healthier and just as easy to exercise and there’s an added bonus: research suggests those who are physically active a have lower risk of developing insomnia in the first place.’