Medical cannabis could be used to treat insomnia
THE results of a world-first study have shown that medicinal cannabis can be used as a novel treatment for adults suffering from chronic insomnia.
The study was co-ordinated through the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Sleep Science using a cannabinoid extract provided by Zelira Therapeutics, an Australian medical research and development company.
Lead researcher, Professor Peter Eastwood from UWA’s Centre for Sleep Science, said the study was the most rigorous clinical trial ever undertaken to assess the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis to treat the symptoms of chronic insomnia.
“The brain has receptors called endocannabinoids which when activated (as occurs with medicinal cannabis) can promote sleep,” he said.
“It was only relatively recently that Australia changed med cannabis from Schedule 9 (prohibited) to Schedule 8 (Controlled) – it was not possible to undertake any research on it until this change occurred.
“It shows potential to improve insomnia symptoms over a relatively short period of time (2 week) without any adverse symptoms.”
He said the study was incredibly carefully done, where 23 patients were treated for 14 nights with the formulation and 14 nights with a placebo, separated by a one-week period between treatments and neither the participants or researchers knew which was placebo and which was the drug until the trial had finished.
Prof Eastwood said it was particularly exciting to finally be able to pursue this avenue of research especially as we begin to see a changes in attitude towards medicinal cannabis across the world.
Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said any university research that promoted the de-stigmatisation of this herb was a positive thing, but noted the process was moving slowly in Australia.
“Any studies the university do help to alleviate people’s fears formed by the years of prohibition and lies about cannabis, but we still get the same line from the government which demonises cannabis as a dangerous, recreational drug,” he said.
“I am really confident that any trials will come up trumps and prove what hippies have been saying for decades which is this is a fantastic medicine.”
Zelira Therapeutics plans to launch the world’s first clinically validated medicinal cannabis product for insomnia later this year.