Australian researchers are reporting the initial results from the world’s first placebo-controlled clinical trial testing the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in treating chronic insomnia. The results reveal statistically significant, and dose responsive, improvements to sleep quality using a novel cannabinoid formulation.
Although anecdotal reports abound elucidating the positive relationship between cannabis and sleep, there has been very little rigorous specific study into whether cannabis can help chronic insomnia. The data suggests it may help, but many prior trials exploring the effects of cannabinoids have focused primarily on other health conditions, with sleep being evaluated as a secondary outcome.
This Australian study began in 2018 and set out to explore the effect of a particular proprietary cannabinoid formulation on subjects with chronic insomnia. The study was funded by medical cannabis company Zelira Therapeutics, but independently conducted by a research team from the University of Western Australia. In an email to New Atlas, Peter Eastwood, lead researcher on the project, notes that, although this was a company-sponsored trial, the study was independent and none of the research team had any financial affiliation with the company.
The trial recruited 23 subjects with chronic insomnia. The double-blind, crossover trial assigned each subject either an active dose or a placebo for two weeks. The formulation was administered as an oil under the tongue, and subjects were allowed to take either a single or double dose depending on their symptoms.