Medical cannabis (MC) is not a long-term solution to sleep problems in chronic pain patients older than 50 years, suggest the findings of a study published in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.
The cross-sectional study recruited 129 patients from the Rambam Institute for Pain Medicine in Haifa, Israel in the period January-December 2018. MC patients had used MC for four years on average, using 31g per month.
The adjusted regression models showed that MC patients were less likely to report waking up at night, whereas there were no significant differences in terms of sleep latency and early awakenings. These models adjusted for age, gender, average pain, and use of sleep aid and anti-depressants.
With the subsample of MC patients only, only frequency of MC use was associated with sleep problems. Specifically, more frequent use was associated with more problems related to waking up at night and problems falling asleep.
The authors concluded that MC may have a positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night in chronic pain patients. However, they say tolerance towards the potential sleep-inducing properties of MC may occur with frequent use.