Does Medical Cannabis Help Sleep and Insomnia? | cannabisMD

Does Medical Cannabis Help with Sleep and Insomnia?

Sleep and insomnia, does medical cannabis help

The effects of cannabinoid administration on sleep: a systematic review of human studies

Cannabidiol, (CBD), is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD will not make you high; tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the component of cannabis that has this job. Products made with CBD are on the rise because of their potential to help depression and anxiety, but because of the lack of studies, it is not known what most of them do. Only two CBD-containing medicines have been studied extensively, and neither has yet to get United States approval. Cannabis is used among 4.5% of the global population and its component, CBD, has been known to have a sedating effect and to treat muscle spasm and pain. THC has shown promise to treat cancer related nausea and anorexia. This paper reviews the literature on cannabis and sleep, and outlines the effects of cannabis administration on sleep quality in humans.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Main points

  • Smoking cannabis may have effects on sleep
  • Medicinal cannabis may be beneficial to people with sleep problems

Smoking cannabis may have effects on sleep disorders

Smoking cannabis, such as indica strains, has the potential to interrupt sleep the normal cycle of sleep as the psychoactive agent THC is prevalent in the drug. The paper describes the bias in the method of this study because the subjects were not tested for other substance use that could influence poor results. The research suggests that slow wave sleep (SWS), otherwise known as deep sleep, may be interrupted by cannabis use. It also suggests that the 2nd stage of sleep, otherwise known as non-REM sleep (Rapid eye movement), is improved corresponding to the decrease in deep sleep. It does not appear that cannabis affects the time you stay asleep or your wake cycles, however it may be detrimental to the people who don’t sleep well.

Medicinal cannabis may be beneficial to people with chronic insomnia

It is seen in those with a medical condition, reductions in sleep disturbance can lead to a better sleep without impacting the total amount of time asleep. Pain is a sleeping problem symptom, and with small doses of medical cannabis, this pain can be eased so that the marijuana user with a pain related condition can get a good night’s sleep.


To better clarify the impact of cannabinoid use on sleep further study is required that does not include patients that are using other substances, it measures user’s tolerance to medical marijuana, it includes how much cannabis is prescribed and it includes controls such as age, gender and substance abuse history. Overall, this study highlights the fact that medical marijuana can help with sleep aid with little long term side effects to those who already have sleeping problems.

Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly is registered with the British Psychological Society, breaking the taboo on mental health issues is one of the driving forces in his life. His background in biomedicine gives him additional understanding of the factors that work together to influence the human condition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *