Survey: Patients Frequently Report Using Cannabis to Combat Sleep Disorders

Sydney, Australia: Patients frequently report consuming cannabis to treat sleep-related issues, particularly insomnia, according to survey data published in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep.

Researchers affiliated with the University of Sydney surveyed 1,600 Australians regarding their use of medical cannabis. 

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed acknowledged consuming cannabis to mitigate symptoms of a sleep disorder, typically insomnia. 

Most respondents said that cannabis greatly improved their sleep quality. A majority of respondents also said that they decreased their consumption of benzodiazepines and alcohol following their use of cannabis – a finding that is consistent with other studies.

Those who reported consuming cannabis were most likely to acknowledge using THC-dominant cannabis products.

“[Our study] shows that the majority of participants reported an improvement in their subjective sleep symptoms since commencing medical cannabis,” authors concluded. “[I]t is imperative that randomized, placebo-controlled trials using quality-assured products are conducted to better understand the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid treatment in patients with clinician-diagnosed sleep disorders.”

The survey’s findings are similar to those of numerous other studies documenting that patients with insomnia and other sleep disorders report subjective improvements following cannabis use. Data published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine reported that the enactment of adult-use marijuana legalization laws is associated with a significant reduction in the sales of over-the-counter sleep aids among the general public. 

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis use patterns for sleep disorders in Australia: Results of the cross-sectional CAMS-20 survey,” appears in Nature and Science of Sleep. Additional information on the use of cannabis for insomnia is available from NORML’s publicationClinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.