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Cannabis for Insomnia and Pain

In patients with pain, insomnia can be a contributing factor to their wellbeing and health.  Insomnia has been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

 I have reviewed several scientific studies that have demonstrated cannabis to be useful for insomnia. One study demonstrated decreased time to fall asleep. Another study demonstrated additional 30 minutes or so of sleep per night with Cannabis use.

A study on patients with chronic pain revealed an improvement in sleep in patients with disturbed sleep.  However, the same study suggested that chronic cannabis use may impair sleep in older patients with chronic pain.  

These studies along with frequent reports from my patients suggest that cannabis is useful in patients with insomnia but more research is needed.


Indica strains are more sedating.

It is best to take 1 to 2 hours before sleep when taking by mouth. Vaporizing it has almost immediate effect. 


The use of CBD is also been shown to help with sleep, as well as THC . The combination is probably best. 


This scientific study shows patients commonly report that use of cannabis reduces the time it takes them to fall asleep —whether or not insomnia was the complaint with which they presented. By Rolando Tringale, MD and Claudia Jensen, MD


Abstract Background: Safe and effective medications are needed for treatment of insomnia. In this large retrospective study of cannabis patients, we analyzed clinical data on patient-reported effects on sleep latency before and after the use of cannabis. Methods We conducted a focused, retrospective analysis of data collected from 166 subjects from two cannabis clinics in Southern California (Ventura and San Clemente). Subjects who reported difficulty with sleeping (n=116) and those who reported no difficulty with sleeping (n=31) were included in this analysis. The primary outcome measures were a comparison of both cohorts and the sleep latency time after the use of cannabis compared with sleep latency time without the use of cannabis. Secondary outcomes were measured by comparing sleep latency between the two cohorts, sleep quality, and effect on dreaming. Analysis was conducted by the Wilcoxon-signed rank test and the Kruskal-Wallis test. Findings The two cohorts (n=147) did not statistically differ in characteristics except for their ingestion of cannabis orally and in their total cannabis ingested per week. We noted a significant decrease in reported time to sleep after the use of cannabis in both those with and those without reported sleep difficulties. In terms of the secondary outcome, we saw a statistically significant difference (p=0.001) in time it took to fall asleep between both groups.


Conclusions; Patients seeking physician approval to use cannabis commonly report benefits on decreasing sleep latency, even if a sleep disorder is not the chief complaint. This previously unreported result is supported by recent findings concerning the endocannabinoid system, as well as voluminous anecdotal evidence. Larger double-blinded studies are indicated to rigorously explore this important clinical effect.

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