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

Abstract

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.

Summary

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.

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References

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

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Correspondence to Kimberly A. Babson.

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

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

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

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Sleep Disorders

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Babson, K.A., Sottile, J. & Morabito, D. Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. Curr Psychiatry Rep 19, 23 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9

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Keywords

  • Cannabis
  • Cannabinoids
  • Sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea