Medical cannabis is increasingly being used for the treatment of chronic pain symptoms. Among patients, there is also a growing preference for the use of medical cannabis to manage sleep problems.
This study aimed to examine the associations between whole-plant cannabis use and insomnia problems in patients with chronic pain. It was conducted at the Institute of Medicine and Pain in Haifa, Israel. You can, of course, consult it by clicking here.
A total of 128 chronic pain sufferers over the age of 50 were recruited to the Institute. Of these, 66 were medical cannabis users and 62 were non-users.
The study design compared the differences in sleep problems between the two groups. Also, correlations between measures of medical cannabis use and sleep problems were assessed among users.
After adjusting for age, gender, pain level, and use of sleep and antidepressant medication, medical cannabis use was associated with fewer waking problems at night compared to no use. No group differences were found for problems falling asleep or waking up early without being able to go back to sleep. Frequent use of medical cannabis was associated with more problems waking up at night and falling asleep.
The use of medical cannabis may have an overall positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night in patients with chronic pain. At the same time, tolerance to the potentially sleep-inducing properties of cannabis can occur with frequent use. Further research based on randomized controlled trials and other longitudinal designs is warranted.