Waking Up Refreshed: The Impact of Marijuana on Sleep Aid Dependence

Waking Up Refreshed: The Impact of Marijuana on Sleep Aid Dependence

Waking Up Refreshed: The Impact of Marijuana on Sleep Aid Dependence


As the debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana continues to rage, one area of interest that has emerged is its potential use as a sleep aid. With an estimated 50-70 million Americans suffering from sleep disorders, the search for effective, non-addictive sleep aids is a pressing issue. This article explores the impact of marijuana on sleep aid dependence, examining the potential benefits and drawbacks of its use.

The Current State of Sleep Aid Dependence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults does not get enough sleep. This has led to an increase in the use of over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids. However, these medications often come with a host of side effects, including dependence. A study published in the BMJ found that long-term use of these drugs is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This has led many to seek alternative treatments, including marijuana.

Marijuana and Sleep: The Science

Marijuana contains two primary active compounds: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the psychoactive compound that produces the “high” associated with marijuana use, while CBD is non-psychoactive and has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including improved sleep.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia. THC, on the other hand, appears to decrease the amount of REM sleep, which is when most dreaming occurs. This can be beneficial for those suffering from conditions like PTSD, where nightmares can disrupt sleep. However, it’s worth noting that REM sleep is also important for memory and cognitive function.

The Potential Benefits of Marijuana as a Sleep Aid

One of the main potential benefits of marijuana as a sleep aid is its ability to reduce sleep latency, or the time it takes to fall asleep. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that marijuana users reported falling asleep faster than non-users.

Additionally, marijuana may help to reduce the frequency of nighttime awakenings. A study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs found that medical cannabis users reported a significant decrease in disturbed sleep.

The Potential Drawbacks of Marijuana as a Sleep Aid

While marijuana may offer some benefits as a sleep aid, it’s not without potential drawbacks. One of the main concerns is the risk of dependence. While marijuana is generally considered less addictive than other substances, long-term use can lead to dependence in some individuals.

Additionally, while marijuana may help individuals fall asleep faster, some research suggests that it may reduce the quality of sleep. A study published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases found that marijuana use was associated with poorer sleep quality in young adults.


While more research is needed, current studies suggest that marijuana may offer some benefits as a sleep aid, including reduced sleep latency and fewer nighttime awakenings. However, potential drawbacks, including the risk of dependence and reduced sleep quality, should not be overlooked. As with any treatment, individuals should consult with a healthcare provider to weigh the potential benefits and risks.

As the conversation around marijuana continues to evolve, it’s clear that this plant may have more to offer than just a high. Whether it’s a viable solution for sleep aid dependence remains to be seen, but the potential is certainly there.

By C.N.W


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
  • BMJ. (2014). Benzodiazepine use and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: case-control study. https://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g5205
  • Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. https://journals.lww.com/psychopharmacology/Abstract/2019/02000/Cannabidiol_in_Anxiety_and_Sleep__A_Large_Case.2.aspx
  • American Journal of Psychiatry. (2008). Sleep in Patients With Chronic Insomnia: A Meta-Analysis of Polysomnographic Studies. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2008.08040404
  • Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. (2018). Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia under Naturalistic Conditions. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.2018.1480859
  • Journal of Addictive Diseases. (2014). Cannabis Use and Sleep: Expectancies, Outcomes, and Future Directions. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10550887.2014.969603
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