Cannabis and Insomnia – How It Helps

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It is an exciting time in the world of medical marijuana. Research being conducted suggests that medical marijuana may one day offer effective treatment for a wide range of different medical conditions including Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and HIV/AIDS.

While the research in these fields still requires many more rigorous scientific studies, medical cannabis is already showing promise in other health areas. One of the best-studied use of medical marijuana is for chronic pain and sleep disorders such as insomnia. 

About thirty per cent of the population experiences insomnia at some point in life, so if you are already facing problems to sleep, you are not alone. The research aims at answering whether medical marijuana can help with insomnia. 

While more research is needed to give definitive proof, here is an exclusive look at cannabis and insomnia. 

What Is Ins​omnia?

what is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that involves persistent difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep or getting quality sleep. People with insomnia often do not get as much sleep as they want, which affects them during the day. 

Insomnia is usually caused by medical conditions or lifestyle habits and is associated with increased sympathetic nervous system activity. Some of these include; stress, medications, stimulants, sleep patterns and busy schedule. 

Insomnia can lead to depression, irritability, alleviated risk of heart disease and memory problems. Though it is thought to be a sign of several medical, psychiatric and sleep disorders, insomnia can be a primary condition with no other associated conditions. 

Is Medical Marijuana Effective in Treating Insomnia?

There is limited research on cannabis and insomnia due to federal regulations. However, there are many studies showings the effectiveness in improving sleep with marijuana. 

Patients suffering from insomnia can use medical marijuana as an alternate and efficient sleep option. In one of the studies conducted, it shows that cannabidiol (CBD), increases sleep in rats and is hence useful in dealing with insomnia. 

Corroborative evidence indicates that cannabinoids help reduce insomnia and blocking anxiety-induced insomnia. 

According to insomnia patients, cannabis works much better when compared to conventional sleep medications. Plus, it is not addictive and leaves them feeling exceptionally well the following day. 

In cases where cannabis can treat the primary condition causing insomnia, in turn, it will treat insomnia itself. However, medical marijuana might also increase insomnia severity or cause other problems.

It is hence advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional for optimal results. 

Insomnia Symptoms Treated by Medical Cannabis

Some of the insomnia symptoms treated by medical marijuana include;

  • Sleeping difficulty. People struggling with insomnia might have their sleep cycle fall out of sync. Research has shown that medical cannabis restores an individual's natural sleep cycle and is an effective sleep aid.
  • Depression or anxiety. Medical marijuana has been found to improve depression and anxiety, which may result as a side effect of lacking adequate sleep. 
  • Lack of concentration. Medical marijuana can help with focus and attention that is lacking when you feel tired due to insomnia. 
  • Daytime sleepiness. Majority of people think about medical marijuana as one that causes giddiness, relaxation and drowsiness. However, not all strains have a relaxation feeling. Some of them are uplifting and energizing to help you overcome daytime sleepiness caused by insomnia. 
  • Headache. Insomnia can sometimes cause headaches, which might interfere with the performance of your daily tasks.

According to research, medical cannabis is helpful with headaches. 

Ways of Using Medical Marijuana for Insomnia

One of the ways that you can experiment on how useful cannabis is for insomnia is by changing how you take the substance. If you are experiencing severe pain that is causing your lack of sleep., vaping and smoking marijuana may be beneficial. 

This is because the effects will be felt right away. With studies affirming that cannabis helps to relieve pain, this will generally make you feel better and help produce more sleep. 

However, the effects of vaping and smoking last for a shorter time, which might mean you wake up in the middle of the night. Another viable way of using marijuana for insomnia is consuming cannabis-infused edibles. 

You will have to wait for about thirty minutes to a few hours before the effects kick in. This means you won't fall asleep immediately. 

However, the advantage of these cannabis edibles is that the impact lasts longer compared to vaping and smoking.

Best Marijuana Strains for Insomnia

When your primary focus is treating insomnia, choosing the right type of marijuana is an essential factor to consider. Sativa dominant marijuana strains tend to have an uplifting and energizing effect, which is not good if you want to get sleep.

Not everybody experiences the high feeling but it is best not to use sativa strains when your goal is combating insomnia. The best strain for marijuana is Indica. 

This strain usually induces a sleepy feeling that helps you feel sluggish and stay asleep. 

According to scientific research, cannabinol (CBN) is a cannabinoid in cannabis that has a sedating effect. It might hence be the right choice to choose a strain with high levels of CBN. 

Aged marijuana tends to be higher in CBN because tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) breaks down into CBN with ageing, making it a better choice for insomnia. THC is also efficient in treating insomnia though it might worsen symptoms of anxiety if taken in high doses. 

It is hence recommended that you go for low THC strains if your insomnia results from anxiety. Some of the strains that may be the best option for insomnia include Ingrid, Godfather OG, Skywalker, Ogre, Northern Lights, Purple Urkle, Big Bud and 9 Pound, Hammer. Although the names will change in different States and countries.  Best to consult with your medical cannabis doctor.


If insomnia has kept you up at night, trying out marijuana as an affordable treatment option might help improve your condition. Using a higher CBD strain might be more helpful than higher THC strains. 

However, the effects may be specific to the dose, route of administration and the individual patient. You can quickly get a medical marijuana doctor in the legal marijuana states to give you expert advice on how to use cannabis for your insomnia. 

Face your day feeling more ready and rested with the help of medical marijuana. 

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