Scientific Review: Sleep, Pain And Cannabis
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Did you know that one of the most common reasons that patients report the use of cannabis for medical purposes is to reduce pain and improve sleep? Given the popularity of cannabis as a sleep and pain remedy, there are remarkably few studies investigating the relationship between cannabis, sleep and pain.

Research, thus far, and results are encouraging, although inconclusive as to whether the effects of cannabis use on pain are mediated as a result of improved sleep, or vice versa. Clarity is needed as this information will impact accurate prescription of medical cannabis.

Key Findings

The study demonstrates cannabinoids are linked to:

  • Increased sleep quality through the stages of the sleep cycle
  • Enabling the ability to stay asleep

The study illustrates the difference between the effects of THC versus CBD on sleep quality:

  • CBD on its own has been shown to increase wakefulness – it’s a stimulant. (Notably, other studies have demonstrated conflicting results, with CBD's effects dose-dependent and influenced by environmental stimuli.)
  • THC on its own seems to be a sedative; and when combined can be combative to both poor sleep and pain.

This article discusses outcomes of synthetically-derived cannabinoids as opposed to plant-based medical cannabis products, so results need to be treated with this in mind.

Sleep challenges and pain combined is a complex issue and further clinical studies exploring plant-based medical cannabis use are needed

Study Details:

Download the Study.

Review Article: Sleep, Pain and Cannabis Ferguson, G., & Ware, M. A. (2015) Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy

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