Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature

  • Kimberly A. BabsonEmail author
  • James Sottile
  • Danielle Morabito
Sleep Disorders (P Gehrman, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sleep Disorders


Purpose of Review

The current review aims to summarize the state of research on cannabis and sleep up to 2014 and to review in detail the literature on cannabis and specific sleep disorders from 2014 to the time of publication.

Recent Findings

Preliminary research into cannabis and insomnia suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may decrease sleep latency but could impair sleep quality long-term. Novel studies investigating cannabinoids and obstructive sleep apnea suggest that synthetic cannabinoids such as nabilone and dronabinol may have short-term benefit for sleep apnea due to their modulatory effects on serotonin-mediated apneas. CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness, while nabilone may reduce nightmares associated with PTSD and may improve sleep among patients with chronic pain.


Research on cannabis and sleep is in its infancy and has yielded mixed results. Additional controlled and longitudinal research is critical to advance our understanding of research and clinical implications.


Cannabis Cannabinoids Sleep Insomnia Sleep apnea 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

James Sottile and Danielle Morabito declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Kimberly A. Babson has received personal fees from Insys Therapeutics.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly A. Babson
    • 1
    Email author
  • James Sottile
    • 2
  • Danielle Morabito
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for PTSD-Dissemination & Training DivisionVA Palo Alto Health Care SystemMenlo ParkUSA
  2. 2.Palo Alto UniversityPalo AltoUSA

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