Study Summary: Cannabis for Sleep Disorders

Updated: Oct 9

A September 2022 study entitled "Cannabis Dosing & Administration for Sleep: A Systematic Review" that was published in the journal Sleep investigated the potential efficacy of cannabis as a therapeutic agent for sleep disorders, with a stated goal of guiding "cannabis prescribers in their recommendations to patients, specifically focusing on dosing."

The design of this study was that of a literature review in which the study's authors analyzed the results of previous scientific investigations of the topic. "We searched EMBASE, Medline, and Web of Science and identified 4,550 studies for screening. 568 studies were selected for full-text review and 31 were included for analysis," reported the study.


Results

The research revealed that, of the 31 studies analyzed, sleep improvements were found in "seven out of 19 randomised studies and in seven out of 12 uncontrolled trials." This means that, overall, 48 percent of the 31 studies revealed that cannabis led to improvements in sleep (an average of the 37 percent of randomized studies and 58 percent of uncontrolled trials that revealed positive outcomes).


"48 percent of the 31 studies revealed that cannabis led to improvements in sleep."

Pain Patients Benefited Most

Cannabis demonstrated the most benefits for improving sleep disorders in those suffering "pain-related disorders, as compared to those with neurologic, psychiatric, or sleep disorders."


Also revealed was that study participants who did not suffer from a sleep disorder ("healthy participants") "showed no significant effects." The researchers explained that "subjective improvements in sleep quality were often observed," but that diagnostic analysis revealed "no improvements in sleep architecture."


Minimal Negative Side Effects

Negative symptoms, which the study labeled "adverse events," included "headaches, sedation, and dizziness, and occurred more frequently at higher doses." The study reported that no "serious adverse events" were found.


Conclusions

The study's authors concluded that "high-quality evidence to support cannabis use for sleep remains limited," noting that, of the 31 studies reviewed, significant variability in study design confounds the ability to draw conclusions from the compilation of their data results.


This variability of prior study results, which the present study labeled "heterogeneity," included differences in "doses, timing of administration, and sleep outcome."


View the original study.


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