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Insomnia and Medicinal Cannabis

Insomnia is an incredibly common disorder which is characterised by a disruption to one's normal sleep pattern and behaviour.

Insomnia affects 10% - 15% of the population at any given time, but is more commonly identified in older ages, women and amongst those suffering from other psychiatric or medical illnesses. 

Although short bouts of insomnia are normal and no cause for concern (especially through periods of increased stress or socialising), chronic insomnia can have a long lasting impact on one's overall health and wellbeing. Insomnia can be considered a chronic condition when a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for three months or longer.

Some people with chronic insomnia have a long history of difficulty sleeping, which may encourage them to seek medication that helps them return to a normal sleeping pattern.

What are the symptoms of Chronic Insomnia?

Chronic Insomnia can physically manifest in a range of ways, including:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night's sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents

Factors that may increase your risk of developing Chronic Insomnia:

  • Advanced age
  • Existing chronic disease
  • Medications
  • Gender
  • Psychological factors
  • Lifestyle Behaviours
  • Shift Work

How can medicinal cannabis help with Chronic Insomnia?

A clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of medicinal cannabis as a treatment for chronic insomnia has proven that medicinal cannabis is safe and effective. Participants treated with medicinal cannabis fell asleep faster, slept longer and went to sleep sooner after awakening. These participants also reported a higher quality of life as a result of feeling rested after sleep, experiencing less fatigue, feeling less stressed and overall improved functioning. 

Some of the cannabis products that have shown to be beneficial treatments to Chronic Insomnia sufferers include:

  • Nabiximols
  • Dronbinol
  • THC extracts
  • THC:CBD extracts
  • CBD extracts
  • Cannabis indica

They can be consumed as an oil, vape liquid, sprays and wafers.

If you or a loved one are suffering from Chronic Insomnia and are considering medicinal cannabis as a potential treatment, please speak to your GP or to one of our SAS accredited doctors here.