Study: Medical cannabis effective for sleep disorders

July 1, 2020

Insomnia that persists for a long period of time can seriously endanger your health. In a randomized double-blind clinical trial, researchers have now been able to show that treatment with medical cannabis can be effective.

There are multiple causes of chronic sleep disorders. Often, they are triggered by psychological strain, stress and unfavourable sleeping conditions. Various neurological diseases, such as restless legs syndrome or chronic pain, can also make it difficult to fall asleep and prevent people from getting a good night’s sleep. Similarly, the use of medications (e.g. thyroid hormones or antidepressants) and illegal drugs can also cause sleep problems.

Due to the lack of sleep, symptoms such as tiredness during the day, nervousness, inner restlessness as well as concentration and comprehension problems can occur. Sleep disorders can also affect mental stability, resulting in depression or anxiety disorders. The immune system also suffers from sleep disorders.

Treatment of insomnia

The therapy depends on the cause. If psychological problems are present, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy may be appropriate. Learning relaxation techniques (e.g. autogenic training or meditation) can also be helpful for those affected.

It is also important for those affected to pay attention to a healthy diet and proper sleep hygiene. With the help of special rules of conduct, those affected can promote healthy sleep.

As a rule, sleeping pills are only used in severe cases, as they lose their effectiveness after a short time and also quickly become accustomed. It is also problematic that the sleep disorders reappear when the medication is discontinued.

Medical cannabis as a therapeutic option

In a recent randomized double-blind clinical trial, 23 subjects were treated with medical cannabis for 14 nights. After a one-week rinsing phase, they again received a placebo for 14 nights. The subjects took a single dose of 11.5 milligrams of cannabinoids or a double dose of 23 milligrams of cannabinoids using a sublingual solution.

The results show that the volunteers treated with medical cannabis fell asleep more quickly and also slept significantly longer. The volunteers also reported that their quality of life improved, they felt less stressed and less tired. They also felt better rested after sleep.

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