Study: Cannabis Promotes Sleep in Chronic Pain Patients

Haifa, Israel: The use of plant-derived cannabis is associated with improved sleep among older patients with chronic pain, according to data published in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

A team of Israeli investigators examined the association between sleep problems and cannabis use in older (50+ years of age) chronic pain patients. A total of 128 patients were enrolled in the study. Of them, 66 used medical cannabis for at least one-year. Sixty-two were non-users.

Researchers reported that cannabis use was associated with an overall "positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night."

They concluded: "This study is among the first to test the link between whole plant MC (medical cannabis) use and sleep quality. … Our findings showed that MC patients were less likely to report problems with staying asleep compared with non-MC patients, independently of potential confounders. … This suggests that MC may have a sleep-promoting characteristic in terms of minimizing awakenings during the night. … These findings may have large public health impacts considering the aging of the population, the relatively high prevalence of sleep problems in this population along with increasing use of MC."

Full text of the study, "Medical cannabis and insomnia in older patients with chronic pain: A cross-sectional study," appears in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.