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. 2018 Jul 11;5(3):75.
doi: 10.3390/medicines5030075.

Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia Under Naturalistic Conditions

Free PMC article

Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia Under Naturalistic Conditions

Jacob M Vigil et al. Medicines (Basel). .
Free PMC article


Background: We use a mobile software application (app) to measure for the first time, which fundamental characteristics of raw, natural medical Cannabis flower are associated with changes in perceived insomnia under naturalistic conditions. Methods: Four hundred and nine people with a specified condition of insomnia completed 1056 medical cannabis administration sessions using the Releaf AppTM educational software during which they recorded real-time ratings of self-perceived insomnia severity levels prior to and following consumption, experienced side effects, and product characteristics, including combustion method, cannabis subtypes, and/or major cannabinoid contents of cannabis consumed. Within-user effects of different flower characteristics were modeled using a fixed effects panel regression approach with standard errors clustered at the user level. Results: Releaf AppTM users showed an average symptom severity reduction of -4.5 points on a 0⁻10 point visual analogue scale (SD = 2.7, d = 2.10, p < 0.001). Use of pipes and vaporizers was associated with greater symptom relief and more positive and context-specific side effects as compared to the use of joints, while vaporization was also associated with lower negative effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) was associated with greater statistically significant symptom relief than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the cannabinoid levels generally were not associated with differential side effects. Flower from C. sativa plants was associated with more negative side effects than flower from C. indica or hybrid plant subtypes. Conclusions: Consumption of medical Cannabis flower is associated with significant improvements in perceived insomnia with differential effectiveness and side effect profiles, depending on the product characteristics.

Keywords: C. indica; C. sativa; Cannabis; cannabidiol; flower; insomnia; marijuana; sleep; sleep disturbance; tetrahydrocannabinol.

Conflict of interest statement

F.B., K.K., and B.H. are employed by Morebetter Ltd. The authors report no other conflicts of interests.


Figure 1
Figure 1
THC and CBD Levels by Symptom Relief Experienced. Symptom relief is measured as ending symptom level minus starting symptom level with −10 the maximum level of symptom relief. Error bars show the range of values within one standard deviation of the mean. No users who reported THC and CBD percentages reported symptom levels worsening by more than one unit. The number of sessions for each level of symptom relief is reported in parentheses with the sample restricted to those users reporting both CBD and THC potency levels, which range between 0% and 30% and 2% and 35%, respectively.

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