Cannabis withdrawal and sleep: A systematic review of human studies

Peter Gates, Lucy Albertella, Jan Copeland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sleep problems during withdrawal from cannabis use are a common experience. The details regarding how abstinence from cannabis impacts sleep are not well described. This article reviews the literature including a measure of cannabis withdrawal and sleep in humans. Methods: A literature search using a set of cannabinoid and sleep-related terms was conducted across 8 electronic databases. Human studies that involved the administration of cannabinoids and at least 1 quantitative sleep-related measure were included. Review articles, opinion pieces, letters or editorials, case studies (final N < 8), published abstracts, posters, and non-English articles were excluded. Thirty-six publications were included in the review. Results: Sleep was frequently interrupted during cannabis withdrawal, although the specific mechanisms of disruption remain unclear. Conclusions: Methodological issues in the majority of studies to date preclude any definitive conclusion on the specific aspects of sleep that are affected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-269
Number of pages15
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cannabis
  • insomnia
  • marijuana
  • sleep
  • withdrawal

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