Start My Diary Login Sign Up

The Benefits of Cannabis For Insomnia

Created by
JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 18 January 2021


Sleepless nights are a problem for people all over the world. With the help of the cannabis plant, you may finally be able to get a proper night's rest. If you're having trouble sleeping, then this article could be for you.

Although falling asleep from being too high is common, it is not usually the intention like it is for those trying to deal with insomnia. Most people wake up wondering what happened but if you've finally managed to sleep properly after dealing with insomnia you'll wake up with a sigh of relief and contentment.

What Is Insomnia?


Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can affect people both during the day and night. It is an irregularity in the sleeping pattern of the person, meaning they may not get tired for ages and have countless nights of no rest, but then suddenly fall asleep in the middle of the day. Insomnia affects people on different levels, however it tends to be most associated with having sleepless nights.

Symptoms of insomnia:

  • Waking up in the night regularly and not being able to fall back asleep.
  • Problems going to sleep.
  • Sudden tiredness during the daytime.
  • Irritable, impatient behaviour.
  • Depression
  • Lack of concentration

Insomnia is often caused by many other disorders such as chronic pain, heart disease or asthma. Mental disorders also play a big role. An overly active, out of control, anxious mind is very susceptible to insomnia. In the busy, stressful, chemical-filled world we live in, it is no wonder more and more people each year suffer from sleep problems. One's lifestyle is hugely responsible for a healthy night's sleep.

Using Cannabis For Sleep Aid


Cannabis is known to be an effective substance for inducing sleep. There have been a number of studies that show how the active chemical compounds in cannabis work with the human body to communicate a response that affects the way our brain and other organs work.

Cannabis that has high levels of THC is not ideal for dealing with insomnia because it is psychoactive, meaning it may produce the opposite to the desired effects. THC often stimulates the mind, and for insomnia we want to be relaxing the body. CBD (cannabidiol), or even CBN (cannabinol) might be more appropriate.


If you've ever had cannabis with a high CBN content (a product of THC degradation, but also a minor cannabinoid present naturally), then you may know of its sedative effects. The important thing to note with CBN is that it may not be solely responsible for giving this said sedative effect.

In this study conducted in the 1970s, it was concluded that CBN on its own did not make the test subjects feel sedated, stating 'CBN increases the effect of delta9-THC on some aspects of physiological and psychological processes, but that these effects are small and cannot account for the greater potency which has been reported when plant material is used.'

Usually, high CBN cannabis is associated with an old stash where THC has degraded. THC, as well as CBD could also still be present in the cannabis so it might be that the said sedative effect also has to do with other cannabinoids remaining in the bud. There is always a synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes (compounds which also change as cannabis ages) so this makes perfect sense.

The Benefits Of Cannabis For Insomnia

REM sleep

The cannabinoid we are most interested in when it comes to insomnia is CBD. This is because CBD is non-intoxicating and has shown great therapeutic potential in the field. A study performed in 2017 of all the research on cannabis and insomnia up until 2014 suggests that CBD 'may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness'

THC, on the other hand 'may decrease sleep latency but could impair sleep quality long-term' say the researchers. More research is needed, but it may be that a small amount of THC can enhance the medicinal properties of CBD, as we suggested earlier (also known as the 'entourage effect').

Proper rest at night is extremely important for the proper functioning of our brain and body. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD work with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies to keep it in a state of homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system regulates many bodily functions, including sleep. It has been shown that introducing phytocannabinoids activates CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which are known to promote sleep.

Consuming Cannabis For Insomnia

tea before bed

If you do chose to try cannabis for problems with sleep, there are plenty of different ways to get your medicine. Eating it is not recommended, as it is best not to eat right before sleeping anyway. Many people find smoking or vaporizing helps them get a quick top up that lasts them for enough to get a good sleep.

You could also consider making an infusion or taking CBD extract drops. Infusions and tea are known to have relaxing, therapeutic properties on their own, so they can provide added benefit. However, be careful not to drink too much tea before going to bed or you might find yourself waking up in the night to go to the loo.

Related story
How To Make Cannabis Tea

It can be a wise idea to dose with plenty of time before you plan to sleep so that the effects can settle in. Very often tiredness arrives a while after the cannabinoids have taken effect.

Side Effects Of Using Cannabis For Insomnia

person asleep

Depending on how you are trying to treat insomnia with cannabis, there can be more or fewer side effects. Some users may find that cannabis containing THC can sometimes cause disturbed sleep, meaning they can wake up randomly during the night.

Long-term, daily ingestion of THC can affect short-term memory and many users cannot remember their dreams because of it. There are a few other possible side effects from using cannabis products to treat insomnia, namely CBD:

  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Improved mood
  • Change in metabolism
  • Change in body weight
  • Increased appetite


CBD works to relieve pain and has almost no side effects, making it a safe treatment (always check the product has been tested and sourced correctly). The many studies based around cannabis could indicate that the treatment of insomnia with CBD may be due to its effectiveness at tackling the root causes of sleeplessness.

Tip: If you're taking other medication it is best to speak to a doctor before taking cannabis.


Overall, cannabis presents an positive use case for treating sleep disorders such as insomnia. If you're having problems sleeping and considering CBD or other cannabis products, be sure to consult your medical practitioner first.

If you found this article useful or have any tips regarding cannabis use for insomnia, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

External References

Effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabinol in man  I G Karniol, I Shirakawa, R N Takahashi, E Knobel, R E Musty ( 1975 )

Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series Scott Shannon | Nicole Lewis | Heather Lee | Shannon Hughes ( 2019 )

Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature Kimberly A Babson | James Sottile | Danielle Morabito ( 2017 )

Endocannabinoid Modulation of Cortical Up-States and NREM Sleep Matthew J. Pava | Carolina R. den Hartog | Carlos Blanco-Centurion | Priyattam J. Shiromani | John J. Woodward (2014 )

Cannabis species and cannabinoid concentration preference among sleep-disturbed medicinal cannabis users Katherine A Belendiuk | Kimberly A Babson | Ryan Vandrey | Marcel O Bonn-Miller  ( 2015 )

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

This article was updated April 2021.