Preliminary research into cannabis and insomnia suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia. CBD affects parts of the endogenous cannabinoid system that play a role in regulating the circadian sleep-wake cycled which includes the maintenance and promotion of sleep. CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Chronic insomnia is characterized by sleep disturbances such as difficulties falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or inability to return to sleep on awakening occurring at least 3 nights per week and for at least 3 months. Sleep disturbance is coupled with clinically significant daytime impairments in social life, occupational function and/or educational achievement. Patients tend to hesitate from seeking treatment until they experience perceived daytime impairments.
Treatment goals for insomnia are to improve sleep quality and duration and alleviate daytime impairments.
Preclinical data has suggested the anxiolytic affects of CBD were effective in reducing the frequency of rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder events in Parkinson’s disease and reduced anxiety symptoms and improved sleep disturbances in a young child with PTSD.
However more clinical studies for the effectiveness of CBD on insomnia must be done to learn more about the anxiolytic effects and CBD therapy for sleep disturbances and insomina.
Babson, K. A., Sottile, J., & Morabito, D. (2017). Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. Current psychiatry reports, 19(4), 23. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9
Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041
, et al Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for chronic insomnia disorder (‘CANSLEEP’ trial): protocol for a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, proof-of-concept trial