Controversial Study Says Cannabis Use Ineffective in Treating Insomnia

A new study from researchers at Boston University has found that cannabis use may inhibit sleep instead of helping it.

The study — published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Addictive Diseases — examined a diverse group of test subjects and found that those who smoked cannabis daily were almost twice as likely to experience insomnia than those who did not smoke at all.

“Study participants who didn’t smoke every day usually smoked in the evening,” explained the study’s lead author, Michael Stein, who a professor at BU’s School of Public Health. “But once you’re smoking multiple times a day, there’s a greater chance that you’ll report disturbed sleep. Only by stopping marijuana completely, and waiting some time without using it at all, will a person be able to determine how marijuana was affecting, or not affecting, his or her sleep.”

Of the 98 people examined within the study, 49 participants were registered as daily cannabis users, while 29 were classified as casual users and 20 were listed as non-users. The participants were mostly in their twenties, and a slight majority were caucasian and female.

No significant difference was discovered in the sleep patterns of casual users and non-users. However, 39 percent of daily cannabis users exhibited signs of clinical insomnia, while only 20 percent of non-smokers exhibited similar characteristics.

The study’s authors believe that the findings may cast doubt on the common belief by cannabis users that the substance may serve as an effective sleep aid.

“Better sleep is one of the positive effects that marijuana users swear by, but there has been relatively little careful research on this topic,” Stein said.

In fact, the study went even so far as to compare cannabis to alcohol, in that “while daily use results in the worsening of sleep,” those who use cannabis or alcohol intermittently have actually shown improvement in their sleep patterns.

The study placed an emphasis on the importance of future research, saying that more studies should look into the issue, especially in how it relates to the mood of the user at the time of sleep.

Yet while the study was conducted by researchers of repute, there are reasons to be skeptical of its findings. For one thing, the study does not distinguish between cannabis used for medicinal purposes and that used for recreation. As such, the researchers did not account for the dosages taken, the methods of delivery used to imbibe the substance, or the times of day in which the substance was taken.

The study also did not account the fundamental differences between strains of cannabis. Indicas and sativas, for example, offer fundamentally different reactions to those who use the substance, thus ostensibly rendering the BU study’s findings as being incomplete.


Stephen Calabria is a New York City-based journalist and a media advisor for nyvapeshop.com.

4 comments

Propaganda BS I call it. Idiots not using right strain and has solved my problem with not going into rem sleep perfectly

Well I can trow this curve off ! It works beautifully for me ! Helps the MS pain and helps me sleep, all in one go.
You need the right strain , as Abe says…. Makes all the difference .

I get so tired of the ignorant hype.
The main problem with bogus research like this is it really give Cannabis a bad rep. Big Pharma doesn’t want to deal with something that doesn’t fit the cookie cutter mentality & certainly doesn’t want to admit that the MMJ community does an awesome job of researching our own answers without any assistance from Official Labs.
Strain research, learning what works for me by Micro-dosing & figuring out if I combine a crumb of this & 2 crumbs of that I will get phenomenally different results than I get just stuffing a bowl with whatever is handy.
As far back as I can remember, I spent my days desperately trying to stay awake. School was all about pills to stay awake & pills to keep my mind relaxed, OR standing up during classes. Years of sitting on the edge of chairs because the moment I relaxed I was asleep. Having to quit driving because I couldn’t stay awake behind the wheel. Stopped working because I was falling asleep during Ambulance runs with sirens blaring, & in the middle of patient transfers while on my feet. Being called an addict by doctors who refused to run tests or even acknowledge my condition. Taking speed so I didn’t snore during sex…
My kids having to wake me up because Mommy sat down & fell asleep during dinner, or worse, while standing up trying to cook dinner. 🙁 Carefully NOT buying self propelled vacuums & lawnmowers.
Pretty funny when you aren’t living it. 😀 😀 😀
Family history of Narcolepsy & the ONLY thing that has helped in over 50 years without side effects is Cannabis.
I use what I refer to as Zippy (energetic) 1-S.H.O.T. (light Single Hits Often Taken) Pot during the day & IF I still need an assist with getting asleep after being actually awake all day a few hits of something more relaxing is the dang. 😀

I have several cousins in other parts of the country with varying degrees of the same issues, 2 of us live in Recreational states & others who are starting to explore life outside of the pill bottle.

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