Article image

Cannabis users seem to sleep better than most other people

In a notable shift from traditional sleep aids, a recent study has revealed a growing preference for cannabis among individuals struggling with sleep-related issues. The Washington State University-led research, involving 1,255 cannabis users, sheds light on changing trends and perceptions regarding sleep aids.

Key findings from the study

The study found that over 80% of participants have ceased using over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids such as melatonin and benzodiazepines, favoring cannabis instead. This preference is largely due to the fast-acting nature of inhaling high-THC cannabis through smoking joints or vaporizing flower. These methods were previously identified as beneficial for those having trouble falling asleep.

An intriguing aspect of the study is the specific choice of cannabis strains by about half of the participants. These strains not only contain CBD but also the terpene myrcene, known for its presence in hops, basil, and other plants. Myrcene has been suggested in scientific literature to promote sleep, a discovery that cannabis users seem to have independently realized.

Carrie Cuttler, the senior author of the study and an associate professor of psychology at WSU, expressed her surprise at these findings.

“The fact that people are seeking the terpene myrcene in cannabis to assist with sleep was unexpected,” she said. This self-discovery by cannabis users aligns with some scientific evidence supporting myrcene’s sleep-promoting properties.

Studying cannabis and sleep

Conducted by Cuttler and psychology doctoral student Amanda Stueber, the study involved analyzing self-reported data on cannabis use and its perceived effects, contrasting them with other sleep aids. The data were provided by Strainprint®, a Canada-based medical technology company.

Participants reported varied morning outcomes and side effects. Generally, cannabis users felt more refreshed and focused, experiencing fewer headaches and less nausea compared to traditional sleep aid users. However, they also reported increased sleepiness, anxiety, irritability, dry mouth, and red eyes.

Despite some negative side effects, Cuttler noted, “The use of cannabis for sleep-related issues was perceived as more advantageous than over-the-counter medications or prescription sleep aids.” Importantly, unlike sedatives and alcohol, cannabis was not linked to a ‘hangover’ effect, although some lingering effects like mood changes were noted.

Sleep duration and cannabis forms

The study also found that over 60% of participants using only cannabis reported getting the recommended six to eight hours of sleep. This contrasts with less than 20% achieving similar sleep durations with prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids, or when combining these with cannabis.

Only a minority of participants used cannabis edibles (33.8%) or THC-containing capsules (14.1%) for sleep. These forms, known for their longer-lasting effects, were less popular, possibly due to the delayed onset compared to inhaled cannabis.

Limitations and future research

Despite the positive findings, the study is not without limitations. Cuttler cautioned about a strong selection bias towards individuals already favoring cannabis for sleep.

“Not everyone is going to find that cannabis helps with their sleep,” she stated, emphasizing the need for future research with more objective measures.

The study offers valuable insights for healthcare professionals working with cannabis users and those seeking alternative sleep solutions. It also paves the way for clinical trials to validate the efficacy of myrcene and other non-intoxicating compounds in cannabis for sleep.

In summary, as attitudes and laws around cannabis use continue to evolve, this study contributes significantly to our understanding of its role in managing sleep-related issues. It underscores the need for further research, both to confirm these findings and to explore the potential of cannabis and its components in sleep management.

More about health benefits of marijuana

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, has been a subject of debate for its medicinal properties. Recent research has shed light on its potential health benefits, making it a topic of interest in medical circles.

Pain management

Marijuana is well-known for its ability to alleviate chronic pain. Active compounds in marijuana, known as cannabinoids, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, effectively reducing pain. This makes marijuana a promising alternative for those suffering from conditions like arthritis and migraine.

Mental health

Studies have shown that marijuana can have positive effects on various mental and neurological disorders. It can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression in some individuals. Additionally, marijuana shows promise in reducing seizures in epilepsy patients and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease due to its neuroprotective properties.

Anti-inflammatory benefits

Cannabinoids in marijuana possess anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it useful in treating conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). By reducing inflammation, marijuana can relieve some of the discomfort and pain associated with these conditions.

Marijuana can be beneficial for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. It can alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Moreover, some studies suggest that cannabinoids can slow down or kill certain types of cancer cells, though this area requires more research.

Improving lung capacity

Unlike smoking tobacco, marijuana does not harm lung health. In fact, a study suggests that marijuana can actually increase lung capacity, making breathing easier for some individuals.

In summary, while marijuana has several potential health benefits, it’s important to approach its use with caution and under medical supervision. This is especially true due to its psychoactive effects and varying legal status worldwide. Ongoing research continues to unravel the complexities and full potential of marijuana in the medical field.

The full study was published in the journal Exploration of Medicine.

Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter for engaging articles, exclusive content, and the latest updates.

Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day