Cannabis and Insomnia

Insomnia is an extremely common condition. There is not one of us who has escaped this entirely. When insomnia is mild and intermittent, it is just part of life. However, insomnia can become a very serious problem for many patients.

There are various kinds of insomnia and various ways in which insomnia presents itself. For some patients, the insomnia is just associated with difficulty turning off their brains when falling asleep. Otherwise these patients feel fine – if not tired. For them, the use of cannabis, generally of Indica ilk, works extremely well. They dose themselves in one of many ways: smoking, vaporizing, edibles, tinctures, etc. The success rate for these patients is very high.

The second type of insomnia, is where the patient falls asleep very easily, but keeps waking up. The typical awakening hours are 1 AM or 3 AM and then again around 5 AM. These long nights of clock watching are torture for most patients. Additionally, most find that just taking some cannabis at night is not enough. Even with nightly Indica, they still keep awakening. These patients do feel better than without any cannabis, but far from ideal. These patients almost always have daily and severe anxiety. On their days off, they often will medicate with Sativa strains, but during the week, it is tricky to medicate with Sativa strains. This is where I encourage my patients to use Sativa Tinctures. These are solutions made with alcohol/glycerin. They can easily be sprayed under the tongue, work very well and are very private. A proper tincture, properly used, will help with daily anxiety without causing any sedation or “high”. The patients soon find that the daytime Sativa treatment, solves their frequent awakening. Magic!!


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27 Responses to Cannabis and Insomnia

  1. You made me smile. :)

    Yes, by decreasing daytime anxiety and using small amounts of cannabis at night very frequently helps with sleep. It is probably the single most common use of cannabis.

    Very kind plant

  2. Nester says:

    Lastly, ever since i started using cannabis as my sleeping and stress medication I have lost weight and have been stress free from work. I always exercised 4 times a week even before i started ingesting cannabis and it was hard to loose weight. I guess it was because i didnt sleep well(about 4 hours a night). But now I lost 15 pounds and feel much better. It feels freaking good when you sleep and wake up once and its already 7am :-) .

  3. Nester says:

    @ Joe

    In regards to cannabis shutting down your body and mind unnaturally is not quite right. From experience and researched cannabis balances both your body and mind which causes you to relax. Anxiety and insomnia are both mental issues cost by stress and everyday problems, hence, cannabis helps your body and mind shut down naturally to help your body recover from the everyday trauma(stress,depression,etc). Unnatural would be taking sleeping pills and other synthetic medicine. In my opinion I much rather use natural herbs that have the same chemicals our own bodies create(cannabinoids) to fight deseases, helps with mental issues, etc. Anyways, I trust ancient medicine that has been used for thousands of years than new synthetic medicine that has proven to kill our bodies slowly . One question I have is how are some people dumb enough to trust pharmaceutical medicine that is new and dont trust an herb that has been used for a very long time?

  4. Pingback: Medical Marijuana: Healers v's Dealers - Head Haze

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  6. Well, I wish that a healthy diet and exercise worked for everyone. It is difficult to argue with just taking care of yourself. However, it is just not that simple. There were probably reasons as to why you stopped using cannabis at night and once you stopped, for sure the same issues came back and you were/are able to deal with them, at least for now, without any other help.

    Two points:
    1. Not to be negative, but it MIGHT happen one day that diet and exercise don’t work well enough for you, so I would be careful about saying it is not the way to go – ever.
    2. I don’t advise my patients to get stoned every night; I don’t have any particular issue with that, but often, just to fall asleep, you do not need to get ripped; just a little CBD/THC blend in your smoke or tincture and presto…..it is the morning

  7. joe says:

    The only reason I can’t sleep at night is because for the past year or two I haven’t been to bed without being high. Your body and mind get used to being shut down unnaturally so don’t when you stop smoking cannabis. Insomnia is related to stress or anxiety or some other factor but smoking cannabis to solve it is a mugs game. Routine bed times, healthy diet and plenty of exercise is what you need. The cannabis is just a bonus :)

  8. Ironic that you are from the UK. GW Pharmaceuticals makes a great product, Sativex, that is a mixed THC/CBD liquid in a spray. However, I don’t think it is currently legal in the UK. It is not yet legal in the US, but is legal in Canada and several other countries. Check out sativex.com. I have no clue how/where to get Nytol. I would check google.

  9. Jude says:

    Dear Dr Frankel -

    I live in the UK (London) and suffer from insomnia of the get-to-sleep-then wake up at 2 type. I’ve tried sleeping pills and disliked the ‘bang on the head’ feeling they give. The UK non prescription drug Nytol, an anti-histemine type remedy, often works but not reliably. Do you know where I can purchase sativa tincture over here? Is it available online?

    Thank you for any advice you can give me.

  10. Michele Kamenetzky says:

    Dear Dr. Frankel,

    I suffer from chronic insommnia. I used Lexapro for many years, successfully treating my insommnia – but then discontinued it due to other adverse side effects. I am currently on Clonazepam, which seems to work. My doctor is concerned because I am increasing my dosage, therefore perhaps becoming resistant. I wonder if it’s possible to obtain a tincture to try, through the mail? I am a CT resident.

    Please advise; thank you!

  11. Thank you for the kind words. If you have any further sleep questions related to cannabis feel free to drop me a note. I have also been finding that most Sativa strains work just fine at night for patients and that unless the THC level is very high, the patient’s anxiety is relieved and they go to sleep.

    Wait for CBD Rich tinctures!! No agitation at all.

  12. Tholo says:

    My efforts at dealing with number 2 behavior have been interesting experiences. There are periods where normal sleep patterns return. I haven’t yet figured out why the insomnia stops, but this thread offers some insights that will be useful in diagnosing and ultimately dealing with this condition.

    I guess if a patient does not live in a “green” state they can make their own tincture. By preference I respond well to sativa dominant strains but recently received a potent indica which I can use to test Dr Frankel’s treatment suggestions.

    Some folks can benefit from a low, even homeopathic dose, as the doctor suggests.

    When people respect the healing power of cannabis they will be amazed at the results. It is truly a 21st Century aspirin.

    Thank you Dr Frankel for this useful information.

  13. WLAN Router says:

    i love alternative treatments because it is simple and does not have nasty side effects “”"

  14. I am 13 and I really think I have Insomnia because every night I wake up around 4 and cant go to sleep for like 30min. I think medical marijuana will be helpful for everyone who has Insomnia because using sleeping pills are even worse than having Insomnia. So if anyone knows if I have Insomnia, just tell me.

  15. Cannabis Indica is generally very helpful with insomnia. However, if the patient has frequent awakenings during the night, generally they will require some sativa in the form of a tincture to use during the day. It is safe and non-sedating. I would be happy to speak with you in person if you like.

  16. Aricia says:

    I’ve been searching a lot of information about insomnia. Nothing really works. Could you tell me one such thing that could help me get rid of this problem for ever?

  17. Sweet dreams Angie

  18. Thank you so much..that is a very helpful informations for me.I had a trouble in sleeeping few months ago and now I can get a good night sleep.hahaha.I tried so many things to cure it and I did solve my problem.Happy sleeping..just sharing dude. :D

  19. Thank you very much..that is a very helpful informations for me.I had a trouble in sleeeping few months ago and at the moment I can have a good night sleep.hahaha.I tried so many things to cure it and I did solve my problem.Happy sleeping..just sharing dude. :D

  20. If you are California residents, I think it would be worthwhile to contact my office and setup a time for an appointment. Your partner is having a tough enough time to warrant some time spent going over it in detail. My office number is 310-821-9600

  21. torrance says:

    People fail forward to success.

  22. Magda H says:

    My partner (27) smokes ganja regularly, roughly 3 or more times a week. He still suffers from insomnia, both types. Some days he can dose off but will keep waking up, or it just takes him forever. He only gets 3 to 5 hours sleep a night and has no control over it no matter how tired he really is. Do you have any suggestions on the matter?

  23. Not to sound sarcastic about it, but I would just go back to the spliff. you don’t want to start sleeping pills. there is also a bit of a withdrawl syndrome after sudden cessation which should go away in a few days.

  24. Jim says:

    I’m one of the kind who can’t switch off at night, and I normally dose myself by smoking a spliff or two before I go to bed. This generally works very well.

    Me and my flatmate have decided to abstain from cannabis for a week, and I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night! Can you offer any advice?

  25. I am pretty certain that Ganja is very available in S Africa. Good Luck.

  26. Monika Smith says:

    My mom (69) suffers from acute and chronic back related pain and takes sometimes 4 sleeping pills at night and day for relief. From South Africa would this alternative treatment be possible to attain. Regards Monika

  27. Jeff D says:

    I’m definately one of the patients that keeps waking up looking at the clock – except when I have my medicine. I’ll also have to try a tincture.

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