Insomnia is a sleep disorder involving nocturnal sleep
disturbance, physiological/cognitive factors and daytime
impairments. Insomniacs have high and often debilitating “morbidity” in terms of quality of life, accidents and general absenteeism.


Insomnia is a sleep disorder where patients have of dissatisfaction with sleep quantity or quality with one or more of the following symptoms:
– difficulty in initiating  sleep
– difficulty maintaining sleep
– early-morning awakening with inability to
return to sleep


The cause of insomnia involves multiple factors :
– predisposition – sleep reactivity is different from normal people
– precipitants – this can be a variety of broad stressors in someone’s life
– perpetuating factors –  improper sleep hygiene is an important factor

There is a genetic and familial factor in insomnia and recent studies have suggested the involvement of genes that regulate the expression of serotonin transporter which interacts with serotonin levels in the brain.

Risk factors

Here are the major risk factors for getting insomnia:
– Female sex
– Increasing age ( 25% of over 65 have trouble sleeping)
– Medical illness (especially respiratory, chronic pain, neurological
– Psychiatric illness (especially depression, depressive symptoms)
– Lower socio-economic status
– Race (African American > White, Asian)
– Widowed, divorced (Stress related)
– Work schedules (working a job with changing shifts)
– Genetic factors


Patients should look for strains high in cannabinol (CBN) and beta-myrcen. Cannabidiol (CBD) has an awaking effect, so it should be avoided.

Cannabinol has a sedative effect and is the most used cannabinoid in insomnia patients. CBN is a derivative of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) via the ageing  of cannabis. In the plant, THC is in the acidic form, as THCA, and environmental factors such a s heat, UV and light can transform THCA into CBNA. Also THC can transform into CBN directly by the same external factors. CBN rich plants are those that have been stored for a long time in non optimal conditions.

The percentage of Beta-myrcen is also very important as it has a calming and sedative effect. Patients should look for strains with a higher than 0,5% of this terpen, the higher the better.

Linalool is another terpen that works well in combination with the previous two compounds as it has a calming, relaxing effect and is anxiolytic.  Many patients that have insomnia also suffer from anxiety, so linalool is a good choice for treating this co-morbidity.

Popular methods of use are with a vaporiser or with tinctures taken sub-lingually. This should be done one to half an hour before going to sleep.