Anecdotally, some consumers report cannabis helps them sleep. Doctors say there’s a dearth of research, but it can reduce dreaming.
It seems like the perfect end to an evening. Whatever triumphs or misgivings the day has to offer, many consumers will swear by a well-chosen cannabis strain as a means of quelling the endless rattle and sliding gracefully into slumber.
A few studies have shown consuming cannabis can shorten the amount of time needed to fall asleep. But when academics bring the longstanding anecdote about cannabis and sleep to the lab, the result is often a resounding shrug.
“We don’t know much about the influence of CBD on the sleep cycle in humans,” says Dr. Hans Hamburger, a neurologist and somnologist who heads the Amsterdam Sleep Centre in the Netherlands.
Hamburger feels that to have any meaningful dialogue regarding cannabis’ effects on sleep, we’ll have to get over the hump of claiming to “know” almost anything at all.
“The problem is that the mixture of CBD and THC is different in all products and together consist of more than 200 different chemicals,” he explains, suggesting researchers’ limited knowledge of the many compounds in cannabis may be at fault.
Anecdotal evidence isn’t much help either, according to Hamburger.
“Trials with users can’t be used, since they all use different products at different moments throughout the day, all with different contents and dosages,” he says.