Using medical cannabis to combat 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 sleep can cause problems in everyday life such as exhaustion, weakness, irritability and difficulty processing information.

The most common type of insomnia is transient, which lasts for a few weeks and is produced by factors such as the environment, lifestyle or illness. In fact, many people will experience this type of insomnia. Chronic insomnia is caused by environmental factors and physical or psychological illnesses, but can worsen over time and can have serious consequences on the health of the sufferer.

Hemp oil and insomnia | Kalapa Clinic

Cannabinoids and insomnia

  • Relaxant
  • Respiratory stability
  • Analgesic
  • No alteration of cognitive state


The effects of cannabinoids are notorious for their relaxing and “sleepy” effects without affecting the cognitive state or generating addiction after its intake. The results of the studies suggest that cannabinoids may offer some benefits as a natural remedy for treating insomnia.

How cannabinoids interact as a treatment for 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.

Bibliography for Insomnia and Cannabinoids

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

Use cannabinoids for

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