Does Cannabis Help Insomnia (or Should You Avoid It)?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

doctor discussing treatment for insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. 

People suffering from insomnia often struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep for the recommended 7-8 hours a night. This is different than when an individual regularly stays up late to watch a movie, finish homework, or take care of children (though the impact on the body can be similar over time).

Lack of sleep can lead to a variety of health and psychological problems and may impact neurological function and the immune system.

Individuals with insomnia may be asked by their primary care physician to take part in a sleep study to identify any underlying problems that may be causing the sleep disturbance.

What Causes Insomnia?

There are a variety of factors – personal and environmental – that can cause insomnia

  • Stress
  • Pain
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Certain medications
  • Lifestyle choices

With medication, stress, and lifestyle choices all appearing as potential factors in the development of insomnia, many consumers may wonder if cannabis can help them get better sleep. And for those who continue to struggle with sleep despite getting their med card, the question might change: does weed might cause insomnia?

Before we consider the impact of cannabis on insomnia, let’s consider what insomnia feels like.

Insomnia Signs & Symptoms

Insomnia doesn’t always look the same, so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms. While the most obvious symptom of insomnia is trouble sleeping, individuals may also experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Waking up at the wrong time
  • Accidents during the night
  • Trouble staying awake during the day
  • Struggling to fall asleep

If lack of sleep is affecting your well-being, consider speaking with a medical professional about your different treatment options. And depending on your state of residence, your doctor may recommend cannabis.

How Cannabis Can Help Alleviate Insomnia

woman waking up from good night's sleep

Cannabis has the potential to help some people sleep, but it can inhibit healthy sleep cycles in others. Different products, cannabinoid ratios, and consumer physiology can all play a role in how cannabis affects an individual. Understanding your personal reaction to cannabis is essential when determining if it can be a helpful addition when treating insomnia. 

While many studies have suggested that cannabis may aid in the treatment of insomnia, others raise concerns about the potential long-term effects of depending on cannabis to fall asleep. 

One study1 found that 71% of participants had sleep improvements attributed to cannabis use. It is important to note that 21% of study participants reported negative effects, though the undesirable effects were manageable and did not cause concern.

A 2017 review noted that CBD2 may help facilitate REM sleep and healthy sleep habits in some consumers. On the other hand, THC3 may lessen REM sleep, instead magnifying the amount of Stage 4 sleep an individual gets. This has potential applications for those who experience traumatic dreams. In fact, some people already use cannabis to help reduce intense dreams and facilitate a more restful night.

Regardless of the finding, the consensus among experts is that additional research is needed to better understand how cannabis affects the quality and quantity of sleep. And because cannabis affects all users differently, it’s often recommended that individuals speak with their doctor before introducing cannabis into their sleep routine.

So… can cannabis help treat insomnia?

Anecdotally, yes. But it hasn’t been scientifically proven. Cannabis can be an effective way for many consumers to relax and get some rest, but it’s typically not suggested as a permanent sleep aid.

Legality and Doctor’s Recommendation

To determine if your state considers insomnia to be a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, check out our Laws & Regulations section for the medical cannabis rules for your state.

If you find that your state recognizes insomnia or its symptoms as a qualifying medical condition, you can seek a doctor’s recommendation to get your medical cannabis card in your state.

How Nugg Can Help

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NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in 20 states and growing. We’ve connected over 1,000,000 patients with their new medical marijuana doctors face-to-face via our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. 

We believe that every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore all of their options in their journey to wellness. For further information on whether you qualify for medical cannabis, select your state.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis & Insomnia

Is it possible to get insomnia from smoking weed? 

No cannabis strain has been linked to insomnia. But some strains are known for increasing energy or feelings of alertness. Likewise, high doses of THC may increase anxiety in some consumers, which may make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Individuals using cannabis as a sleep aid tend to prefer indica strains known for relaxing the body and alleviating stress. 

My depression leads to insomnia… could cannabis help? 

A 2022 study4 found that cannabis can be an effective way of reducing insomnia symptoms caused by depression. While cannabis may be an effective way to reduce insomnia or depression symptoms for some consumers, it isn’t a proven cure (especially on its own). It’s important that you’re educated about all the different treatment options available, including the support of a mental health professional, to get the best treatment for your unique needs. 

I don’t want to get high, will CBD still help me sleep? 

The Sleep Foundation notes that CBD can be an effective way to reduce insomnia. Not only is CBD more widely available than THC, but it is also non-intoxicating, giving a natural treatment option to consumers who are open to the benefits of cannabis, but who don’t want to get high.

Does weed make you sleep? 

Many consumers find that cannabis can help them fall asleep, but it doesn’t promise a full eight hours of rest. And different products may have different effects. If you’re experiencing sleep concerns, consider speaking with a doctor about potential causes and solutions before starting a cannabis regimen.

What strains are best for insomnia?

Indica strains are most popular among consumers who use cannabis for sleep. Many sativa strains are known for their energizing effects, and may have the opposite effects of inducing sleep.


1.  Vaillancourt, Régis, Shannon Gallagher, Jameason D. Cameron, and Rahim Dhalla. 2022. “Cannabis Use in Patients with Insomnia and Sleep Disorders: Retrospective Chart Review.” Canadian Pharmacists Journal / Revue Des Pharmaciens Du Canada 155 (3): 175–80.

2.  Babson, Kimberly A., James Sottile, and Danielle Morabito. 2017. “Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: A Review of the Literature.” Current Psychiatry Reports 19 (4).

3.  Schierenbeck, Thomas, Dieter Riemann, Mathias Berger, and Magdolna Hornyak. 2008. “Effect of Illicit Recreational Drugs upon Sleep: Cocaine, Ecstasy and Marijuana.” Sleep Medicine Reviews 12 (5): 381–89.

4.  Kuhathasan, Nirushi, Luciano Minuzzi, James MacKillop, and Benicio N. Frey. 2022. “An Investigation of Cannabis Use for Insomnia in Depression and Anxiety in a Naturalistic Sample.” BMC Psychiatry 22 (1).

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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