Cannabis has long been associated with sleep disturbance, but the precise nature of this relationship remains unclear. The limited effectiveness and tolerability of existing sleep aids indicates a critical need for viable alternatives. Cannabis may prove such an alternative, as a growing proportion of cannabis users report a beneficial effect of cannabis on a range of sleep disturbances. Further, emerging clinical evidence supports the use of cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in the treatment of sleep disorders, as well as disordered sleep secondary to other diagnoses such as chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. However, these results are often inconsistent across studies, likely due to a combination of varying user characteristics – such as duration and frequency of use – and different formulations and potencies employed by different research designs. Additionally, extensive research supports a bidirectional relationship between sleep and cannabis use, such that sleep disturbance increases cannabis use and risk of misuse, while long-term cannabis use increases risk of sleep disturbance. To explicate the complex relationship between cannabis and sleep, we propose the following directions for future research: 1) comparison of plant-based and synthetic cannabinoids in relation to sleep; 2) comparison of different modes of administration, dosages, and potencies; 3) comparison of different durations of cannabis use (i.e., pre-onset of use, short-term use, and long-term use); 4) comparison of cannabis use exclusively as a sleep aid versus effects of cannabis on sleep outcomes comorbid with other conditions; and 5) comparison of sleep outcomes between recreational and medical cannabis users.
|Title of host publication||Handbook of Substance Misuse and Addictions|
|Subtitle of host publication||From Biology to Public Health|
|Publisher||Springer International Publishing|
|Number of pages||30|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2022|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.
- Sleep disturbance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (all)
- Psychology (all)