New research suggests medical marijuana may be able to help people who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia. Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, sleepiness during the day, depression, anxiety, irritability, and worrying about sleep. The American Sleep Association claims 30% of adults suffer from short-term sleep issues, and 10% suffer from chronic insomnia. Current treatment options include prescribing sleep medication, treating conditions which may be causing the disorder, or undergoing behavioral therapy. Studies have found marijuana may be able to offer an alternative therapy for insomnia. One research review from 2017 found the cannabinoid THC could help patients fall asleep faster. Another study from 2004 found CBD had the opposite effect, and actually produced wake-inducing effects. Another study from 2006 found patients who were prescribed synthetic marijuana for pain also used the medication because it improved sleep. A study from 2004 found THC and Sativex reduced pain and increased sleep.
While marijuana can serve as a sleep aid, there are side effects that coincide with using the medication as well. It may reduce dreaming through diminishing REM sleep, cause a hangover-like effect, and become less effective over time. For most, reducing dreams would be a negative side effect, but acoording to one scientific review in 2017, this was actually a beneficial outcome for patients suffering from PTSD. For those patients, the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone effectively reduced nightmares. Various studies have found that using marijuana before bed can produce increased sleepiness, changes in mood, memory impairment, and increased daytime sleep the following day. Lastly, marijuana may be best used as an occasional sleep aid. Overtime, chronic used of the medication becomes less effective, but at the same time stopping its use can further make sleep difficult.
There are pros and cons to using marijuana as a sleep aid. When choosing to use the medication, it is best to use in lower doses and infrequently. If you use the medical cannabis for sleep, be sure to keep track of it with our journaling function. That way, you can monitor the frequency and strength of your dose, while also keeping track of whether or not its benefits outweigh its negative side effects. This information has been provided in part by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. This post does not represent an endorsement on behalf of Leaf Science for our product.