Insomnia and Medicinal Cannabis

Insomnia and Medicinal Cannabis | Kalapa Clinic


  • Relaxant
  • Respiratory Stability
  • Analgesic
  • No alteration of cognitive state
  • No intake addiction

Do you want to know more about the use of medical cannabis for insomnia?

We have a team of specialists waiting to answer any questions

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder throughout the general population. It is a reduction in the ability to sleep and it can manifest in two ways: making it difficult to fall asleep in less than half an hour or having problems maintaining sleep (triggering nocturnal awakening or waking up too early)

Lack of sleep or poor quality causes exhaustion, weakness, irritability or slowness in processing information

Classification of Types of Insomnia

The most common type of insomnia is transient, lasting a few weeks at most and caused by factors such as the environment, lifestyle or some fleeting illness. In fact, a large part of the population suffers from this type of insomnia at some point in their lives. However, there is another type of insomnia, chronic.

Caused by environmental factors or physical or psychological pathologies, it lasts for months or years. When it lasts that long, this type of chronic insomnia can have serious consequences on the patient’s health.

How cannabinoids interact with insomnia

The endocannabinoid system is involved in modulating the process of sleep and is part of the generation of REM sleep, where everything is related to the CB1R receptor.

There is evidence that cannabis’ potential to combat insomnia has been used by humans since the early days of the Chinese empire [1]. However, its use has declined since the twentieth century, until now, as scientists have started researching the medical benefits of cannabis.

Previously, it was believed [2] that 160mg of cannabidiol could have a hypnotic effect, but could not be definitively demonstrated until later on. At the beginning of this decade a study was published [3] on the different effects of cannabinoids for sleep on 166 random subjects.

Participants were divided into two groups: those with sleep problems and those without. Both groups claimed that they had less trouble falling asleep after consuming cannabis.

The type of the cannabis plant that is consumed greatly influences the cannabinoids present. In a research study published in 2015 [4] the results indicated that users preferred Sativa-type plants to control nightmare and to avoid early awakenings. It was also found that cannabis products with lower percentages of THC had better sedative effects.

In today’s medicine, conditions such as insomnia are usually treated with hypnotics (e.g. Zolpidem, Zopiclone,…) or benzodiazepines (Lorazetam, Diazepam, Valium, etc.), medicines with a high risk of addiction and side effects. Therefore, cannabinoids can be a more natural and effective alternative for treating insomnia.

Bibliography on Insomnia and the use of Cannabinoids

[1] Brand, E. J., & Zhao, Z. (2017). Cannabis in Chinese Medicine: Are Some Traditional Indications Referenced in Ancient Literature Related to Cannabinoids. Frontiers in Pharmacology8, 108.

[2] Robson, P. (2001). Therapeutic aspects of cannabis and cannabinoids. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 178(2), 107-115.

[3] Tringale, R., & Jensen, C. (2011). Cannabis and insomnia. Depression, 4(12), 0-68.

[4] Belendiuk, K. A., Babson, K. A., Vandrey, R., & Bonn-Miller, M. O. (2015). Cannabis species and cannabinoid concentration preference among sleep-disturbed medicinal cannabis users. Addictive behaviors, 50, 178-181.

Our latest news & research

Latest research on medical cannabis

Do you want to know more about cannabis use and insomnia?

We have a team of specialists waiting to answer any questions