Cannabis may have a beneficial effect in sleep disorders: Canadian study

The study’s findings are in line with previous research that has found cannabis consumption can improve sleep outcomes.

Sam Riches 2 minute read May 13, 2022

A new study published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal offers further evidence that individuals with sleep disorders, including insomnia, may benefit from cannabis treatment.

A retrospective chart review was conducted at Hybrid Pharm, a community pharmacy in Ottawa, and included patients who were interested in, or already using, medical cannabis for sleep disorders, according to the study’s abstract.

Thirty-eight patients were included in the study, with 27 of them reporting a subjective improvement in their sleep or related condition. Fifteen of the patients were able to reduce or completely discontinue a prescription medication indicated for sleep.

Eight patients reported adverse effects, however, the abstract notes that the symptoms were manageable and did not require discontinuation of cannabis.

The study’s findings are in line with previous Canadian-based research that has found cannabis consumption can improve sleep outcomes.

Earlier this month, an Ontario study published in the journal BMC Psychiatry evaluated the effectiveness of cannabis in managing insomnia in a cohort of 677 subjects with anxiety, depression or both.

Study participants self-administered cannabis products at home and reported symptom changes using a mobile app. In total, more than 8,400 cannabis-use sessions were recorded over a three-year period.

Participants across all three groups reported “significant improvements in symptom severity after cannabis use.”

“The current study highlights the need for placebo-controlled trials investigating symptom improvement and the safety of cannabinoids for sleep in individuals with mood and anxiety disorders,” the study authors concluded.

Last year, an Australian study found that individuals with insomnia who consumed a nightly sublingual cannabinoid extract reported improved sleep.

Using measurements, including sleep onset latency, total sleep time and sleep efficiency, investigators found that the cannabis extract was “well-tolerated and improves insomnia symptoms and sleep quality in individuals with chronic insomnia symptoms.”

A 2020 study conducted in Israel found that cannabis was also beneficial for treating insomnia in chronic pain patients. The study noted, however, that those benefits may wane as patients develop an increased cannabis tolerance with frequent use.

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