UWA researchers to lead world-first study into effect of medicinal cannabis on insomnia

Professor Peter Eastwood from the UWA Centre for Sleep Science with one of the wrist-based activity monitors which will be used in the medicinal cannabis for insomnia study.
Professor Peter Eastwood from the UWA Centre for Sleep Science with one of the wrist-based activity monitors which will be used in the medicinal cannabis for insomnia study.

PERTH researchers are leading a world-first study into the effect of medicinal cannabis on insomnia.

About one in three Australians has regular difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, and researchers believe the sedation effect brought on by medicinal cannabis could be an alternative treatment to prescription medication.

UWA study lead Professor Peter Eastwood said 24 adults have been selected for the study.

“Medicinal cannabis is a big issue, and it’s been in the news a lot lately; this trial will provide the first evidence-based answers on whether it works in people with insomnia,” he said.

“It could be a game changer, not just for people with insomnia.”

Prof Eastwood said many prescription medications have unpleasant side effects, with previous research indicating medicinal cannabis would have fewer side effects.

Participants will put medicinal cannabis or a placebo in an oil formulation under the tongue one hour before going to bed, with one night spent in the UWA Centre for Sleep Science and the rest of the two weeks spent at home with a wrist-based activity monitor to measure sleep quality.

The process will be repeated with the second formulation for the double-blind placebo crossover trial.

The cannabinoid extract will be provided by Zelda Therapeutics, a medicinal cannabis research company.

Results are expected by the end of this year.

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