Cannabis Use and Sleep

Renée Martin-Willett, Ashley Master, L. Cinnamon Bidwell, Sharon R. Sznitman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Substance Misuse and Addictions
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Biology to Public Health
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9783030923921
ISBN (Print)9783030923914
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.


  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cannabis Use and Sleep'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this