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Cannabis Use and Sleep

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Abstract

Cannabis has long been associated with sleep disturbance, but the precise nature of this relationship remains unclear. The limited effectiveness and tolerability of existing sleep aids indicates a critical need for viable alternatives. Cannabis may prove such an alternative, as a growing proportion of cannabis users report a beneficial effect of cannabis on a range of sleep disturbances. Further, emerging clinical evidence supports the use of cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in the treatment of sleep disorders, as well as disordered sleep secondary to other diagnoses such as chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. However, these results are often inconsistent across studies, likely due to a combination of varying user characteristics – such as duration and frequency of use – and different formulations and potencies employed by different research designs. Additionally, extensive research supports a bidirectional relationship between sleep and cannabis use, such that sleep disturbance increases cannabis use and risk of misuse, while long-term cannabis use increases risk of sleep disturbance. To explicate the complex relationship between cannabis and sleep, we propose the following directions for future research: 1) comparison of plant-based and synthetic cannabinoids in relation to sleep; 2) comparison of different modes of administration, dosages, and potencies; 3) comparison of different durations of cannabis use (i.e., pre-onset of use, short-term use, and long-term use); 4) comparison of cannabis use exclusively as a sleep aid versus effects of cannabis on sleep outcomes comorbid with other conditions; and 5) comparison of sleep outcomes between recreational and medical cannabis users.

Keywords

  • Sleep
  • Cannabis
  • Alcohol
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Insomnia

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Correspondence to Sharon R. Sznitman .

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© 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

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Martin-Willett, R., Master, A., Bidwell, L.C., Sznitman, S.R. (2022). Cannabis Use and Sleep. In: Patel, V.B., Preedy, V.R. (eds) Handbook of Substance Misuse and Addictions. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-67928-6_70-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-67928-6_70-1

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-67928-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-67928-6

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference MedicineReference Module Medicine