Reports indicate users are avoiding pharmaceutical sleep aid for cannabis

A study conducted by the University of New Mexico and California State Polytechnic University has shown that people are trading in their over the counter medicines for a cannabis sleep-aid.

While studies are still in the works, this initial research suggests a direct correlation between insomnia and access to cannabis. At least the research is steering toward that direction. The study — titled “Using Recreational Cannabis to Treat Insomnia: Evidence from Over-The-Counter Sleep Aid Sales in Colorado“– was published in the Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

By utilizing barcode scanners and their product codes from Colorado retailers, the study was able to find a decrease in sleep-aid market share when adult-use cannabis dispensaries were made available. This negative association was especially prevalent for diphenhydramine and doxylamine, two drugs commonly recommended to the elderly.

For example, Colorado allowed residents to purchase cannabis for adult use on January 1, 2014. By studying the relationships between new dispensaries opening and the purchasing of over the counter sleep aids, the study found that sleep aids decreased by 236% after a dispensary entered the market. They also found an increase in this negative association as the number of recreational dispensaries grew.

While the study is not the final say all, cannabis activists and recreational users should view this as a step in the right direction. While the effects are still debated, what can be gleaned is that users are purchasing cannabis for its therapeutic effects rather than just getting ‘high’. This aligns with prevailing evidence that access to medical cannabis led to a reduction in opioid prescriptions.

Despite the need for more research, we are seeing a prevailing trend of individuals taking their health into their own hands. Rather it is not having insurance or just not having the money to afford top shelf medication dispensaries and online forms have stepped up to help the individual make the best decision about their health. As we continue to see widespread acceptance of cannabis, we can expect more evidence relating to consumer’s preference for cannabis.