Insomnia is a common sleep disorder causing difficulty falling- and staying asleep. Insomnia may interfere with health, work performance, mood, energy level and over-all quality of life. The disorder can be both acute or chronic.

  • What is Insomnia?
  • Insomnia & cannabinoids
  • Text references, literature discussion
    & clinical trials

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder causing difficulty falling- and staying asleep. Insomnia may interfere with health, work performance, mood, energy level, and overall quality of life. The disorder can be both acute (lasting for days or weeks) or chronic (months). Often, insomnia is caused by stress, traumatic life events, or habits that disrupt sleep. Therefore, lifestyle changes can often relieve the disorder, however, insomnia is often associated with underlying medical conditions or medications as well.1


  • Difficulty falling- and getting back to sleep
  • Abrupted sleeping patterns e.g. Waking up during the night or waking up too early
  • Increased tiredness or sleepiness during the day
  • Increased irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Decreased attention span, memory, and focus
  • Increased errors in everyday life
  • Ongoing worry about sleep

Insomnia may be the primary problem, but it can also be caused by events which might lead to disturbed sleep:1

  • Stress
    Concerns regarding work, school, finance, family, friend, and love life, etc.
  • Poor sleep habits
    Irregular bedtime schedule or certain activities before bed such as watching television
  • Everyday travel, work, or school schedule
    Disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms (internal clock)

It is important to identify and treat any underlying problem causing insomnia which normally helps resolve insomnia though sometimes it can last for a long time (i.e. chronic condition).1

  • Cannabinoids
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Endocannabinoids

  • CBD
  • THC

  • CB1
  • TRPV1
  • 2AG
  • Anandamide
  • OEA
  • Terpenes
  • Strains
  • Enzymes
  • Metabolites



Synthesizing & Degrading Enzymes


The connection between Insomnia
& cannabinoids

Insomnia Drugs Woman

Preclinical data proposes that the cannabinoids THC and CBD may be therapeutic in the treatment of insomnia, as the endocannabinoid system plays a role in the sleep processes.2

In addition, recent findings have reported that CBD may be used as a potential candidate in the therapeutic treatment of insomnia, whereas THC may help reduce sleep latency.3

Note: If you have any further information relevant to the connection between Insomnia and cannabinoids, or find any of the information inaccurate, outdated or incomplete please contact us here.

Text references, literature discussion
& clinical trials

  • Text references
  • Literature discussion
  • Clinical trials

In a model of maternal separation, reduced CB1 expression was found to be associated with sleep reduction while oleamide ameliorated sleep in adult rats (Reyes Prieto et al., 2012).

In the same model of maternal separation but not in wild type rats, sleep was shown to be restored by administration of 2-AG, demonstrating that the endocannabinoid system is involved in sleep processes (Pérez-Morales et al., 2014).

In rats, sleep can be induced via activation of CB1 receptors in the endopeduncular nucleus whereas its blockage promotes insomnia-type symptoms (Méndez-Díaz et al., 2013).

In a rat model with in vivo microdialysis, anandamide was shown to increase sleep through mediation of CB1 receptors (Murillo-Rodriguez et al., 2003).

CBD may function as a suppressor of anandamide uptake through TPRV1, proposing a role in sleep (Bisogno et al., 2001; Mechoulam et al., 1997).

In an EEG experiment with rats, the CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR 141716A exhibited arousal-enhancing activities, proposing again that the endocannabinoid system is involved in sleep (Santucci et al., 1996).

In rats, VDM 11 (inhibitor of ANA cellular uptake) was found to improve sleep and increase c-Fos expression in sleep-related brain areas (Murillo-Rodríguez et al., 2008).

People with insomnia had decreased time to fall asleep upon THC administration compared to controls (Cousens and DiMascio, 1973).

In rats, anxiety-induced REM sleep alteration may be blocked by CBD (Hsiao et al., 2012).

Nabilone (a synthetic cannabinoid) was reported to produce positive effects in treating sleeping problems related to PTSD (Cameron et al., 2014).

In one study, 81 and 14 participants reported that they use cannabis to treat insomnia and reduce nightmares, respectively (Belendiuk et al., 2015).

One study involved 409 people with insomnia to assess the effect of cannabis consumption via an app. It was shown that there is a connection between medical cannabis consumption and improvements in perceived insomnia (Vigil et al., 2018).


Vigil, Jacob M., et al. “Effectiveness of raw, natural medical cannabis flower for treating insomnia under naturalistic conditions.” Medicines 5.3 (2018): 75.

Clinical trials

A large retrospective case series at a psychiatric clinic involved patients to assess the effect of CBD on sleep and/or anxiety. It was found that 48 patients (out of the 72) experienced better sleep in the first weeks but it varied over time. 57 (out of the 72) patients experienced reduced anxiety in the first weeks and it remained reduced during the study time (Shannon et al., 2019).

In one study, patients reported significantly more sleep upon treatment with CBD (160 mg) compared to placebo (Carlini and Cunha, 1981).


Shannon, Scott, et al. “Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: a large case series.” The Permanente Journal 23 (2019).

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