Shockingly, 50-70 million people in the United States alone experience some type of sleep disorder symptoms. There are several reasons for sleeplessness including, anxiety, PTSD, and insomnia, just to name a few. Will cannabis help insomnia? Learn more below.
Cannabis Strains & Insomnia
What is important to realize is that the cannabinoid and terpene content of any strain is what gives it specific characteristics. Prominent cannabis researcher Ethan Russo states, “factors as plant height and leaflet width do not distinguish one cannabis plant from another… the only reasonable solution is to characterize them by their biochemical/pharmacological characteristics” (2019).
Clearly, Russo, and others such as ourselves, would like to see a classification system for cannabis that relies on the plant’s cannabinoid and terpene content, rather than a simple classification such as Indica or Sativa.
Cannabinoids and terpenes are not exclusive enough (to Indica or Sativa classifications) to warrant any claims of exclusive medicinal benefits from either a Sativa or an Indica. The important characteristics to recognize within cannabis are the cannabinoids and terpenes, many of which have recognized medicinal benefits.
Will Cannabis Help Insomnia? CBD for Sleeplessness
Cannabidiol (CBD) for Sleep, Insomnia, and Anxiety
In a study of 72 patients entitled, “Cannabidiol (CBD) in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series”, it was found that 66.7% of patients had improved sleep scores within one month after taking CBD regularly, however, these scores fluctuated after the one month period.
Anxiety can be a reason for sleeplessness or insomnia, and this study also looked at the anxiety levels of the patients involved. Interestingly, anxiety levels decreased in 79.2% of the patients and remained decreased for the duration of the study, unlike the sleep scores, which fluctuated somewhat after the first month of the study. All 72 of the patients had presented with high anxiety or poor sleep prior to the study.
In a 2011 study, CBD was found to have a positive effect on sleeplessness in rats that had been exposed to anxiety-inducing conditions in a laboratory. The study produced a deeper state of sleep for the rats who had ingested CBD compared to those who had not.
In a review of cannabis medical literature from 2014-2017, it was summarized that cannabidiol (CBD) may have a true therapeutic use as a remedy for insomnia, however, additional and ongoing research is still needed to confirm this.
THC for Insomnia and Sleeplessness
THC is well-known to make cannabis users feel sleepy or drowsy. Cannabis terpenes and cannabinoids can naturally relax the body and prepare it for a night of sleep.
Although THC may induce sleep, it can be harmful to REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep quality. The REM sleep process allows for dreams, so, with THC interpreting this process, it may be a helpful remedy for those suffering nightmares from PTSD or other ailments.
Will Cannabis Help Insomnia? Terpenes for Insomnia and Sleeplessness
Terpenes are responsible for the signature aroma of cannabis, and they also contain several medicinal benefits. There are over 200 terpenes within cannabis and many of these terpenes are also found in common fruits and vegetables, as well as other flowering plants.
Terpenes are naturally developed by plants such as cannabis in order to repel predators and attract pollinators. These terpenes are affected by many factors including temperature, sunlight, soil types, and general climate, to name a few.
Terpenes That May Help With Insomnia:
Myrcene: Myrcene can be identified as having an earthy-like scent with notes of orange peels or citrus fruits such as lemons. Myrcene may also exhibit red fruits or spice scents. Naturally found in mangoes, thyme, and hops, myrcene is a highly sought after terpene.
Linalool: Linalool is recognizable as a flowery scent, naturally found in laurels, lavender, and rosewood.
Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene is a peppery, spicy, and woody. Exhibits notes of cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, oregano, or rosemary.
Terpineol: Terpineol has a woody scent and is often found alongside pinene. This terpene occurs naturally in pine trees, lilacs, and over 150 other plants but is somewhat rare within cannabis.
Cannabis Strains High in These Terpenes:
Cannabis and Individuals with no Sleep Disorders
Daily cannabis use was found to have a negative effect on sleep cycles in people who had not recorded any difficulties with sleeping or sleeplessness. This means those who have no problem with their sleeping pattern may find cannabis somewhat harmful to the overall quality of their sleep.
Try These Helpful Sleep Routines
Although cannabis may help some with falling asleep, there are several other routines that should also be followed:
- Exercise regularly (30 minutes per day)
- Ensure the room that you sleep in is completely dark
- Follow a routine of waking up and going to sleep at similar times every day
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine 4-5 hours before bed
It is clear that many more long-term and ongoing studies are needed surrounding insomnia and cannabis in order to get a clearer picture of the true benefits of cannabis (with regards to this particular ailment).
The limitations of the current research allow for no concrete conclusion to be drawn at this point in time when considering cannabis as an aid for insomnia or sleeplessness.
Thank you for reading, “Will Cannabis Help Insomnia”. Sharing this on social media using the icons below helps us to grow and provide cannabis information like this on a regular basis. All sources for this article can be found below.
- Babson, K, A. Sottile, J. & Morabito, D. (2017). Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature (2014-2017).
- Conroy, D. A., Kurth, M. E., Strong, D. R., Brower, K. J., & Stein, M. D. (2016). Marijuana use patterns and sleep among community-based young adults. Journal of Addictive Diseases 35.
- Hsiao, Yi-Tse & Yi, P.L. Li, C. Sariel & Chang, Fang-Chia. (2011). Effect of cannabidiol on sleep disruption induced by the repeated combination tests consisting of open field and elevated plus-maze in rats. Neuropharmacology 62.
- Russo E. B. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9.
- Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal. Issue 23.