Many people prefer cannabis to traditional sleep drugs, study suggests

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A new study focusing on cannabis users and their sleep patterns has revealed a significant trend: most individuals using cannabis for better sleep have stopped using over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids.

This analysis involved surveying 1,255 cannabis users, 80% of whom reported abandoning traditional sleep aids like melatonin and benzodiazepines in favor of cannabis.

Published in the journal Exploration of Medicine, the study, led by Carrie Cuttler, associate professor of psychology at Washington State University, highlights a strong preference among participants for inhaling high-THC cannabis through smoking or vaporizing.

These methods are known for their quick action in aiding sleep onset. Surprisingly, about half of the respondents also favored cannabis strains containing CBD and the terpene myrcene, known for its potential sleep-promoting properties.

Cuttler, alongside psychology doctoral student Amanda Stueber, conducted the study by analyzing self-reported data from individuals regarding their use of cannabis and other sleep aids.

The data, provided by Strainprint, a Canada-based medical technology company, also included the perceived effects of these products.

The findings suggest that cannabis users generally feel more refreshed and focused in the morning compared to when using traditional sleep aids, experiencing fewer headaches and nausea.

However, they also reported feeling sleepier and experiencing mood changes, anxiety, and typical cannabis-related side effects like dry mouth and red eyes.

Interestingly, more than 60% of participants reported achieving the recommended six to eight hours of sleep with cannabis alone, a significant contrast to the less than 20% achieving this with prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids, or even when combining cannabis with these aids.

While cannabis edibles and THC capsules were used by some, these longer-lasting alternatives were less popular, likely due to the immediate need for relief when trying to fall asleep.

Despite the positive outcomes reported, Cuttler warns of a selection bias in the study, as the participants were already inclined to view cannabis favorably for sleep.

She emphasizes the need for future research with more objective measures to fully understand cannabis’s effects on sleep.

The study sheds light on the changing perceptions and uses of cannabis for sleep-related issues, suggesting its potential advantages over traditional sleep medications.

However, it also underscores the need for further clinical trials, particularly focusing on myrcene and other cannabis compounds, to validate their efficacy for sleep without the intoxicating effects of THC.

This research offers valuable insights for healthcare professionals dealing with cannabis users and those seeking alternative solutions for sleep problems.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about herb that could help you sleep well at night, and these drugs could lower severity of sleep apnea by one third.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies that coffee boosts your physical activity, cuts sleep, affects heartbeat, and results showing how to deal with “COVID-somnia” and sleep well at night.

The research findings can be found in the journal Exploration of Medicine.

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