Primary Insomnia is sleeplessness that is not derived from chemical or environmental causes. Patients may experience difficulty in either getting to sleep or staying asleep. Often the mind is overactive and doesn’t allow rest. Insomnia affects 20-30% of adults. It can occur during times of stress and may be associated with altered neurochemicals such as the “sleep” neurotransmitters (serotonin or GABA), or with increased stress hormone (cortisol). Other forms of sleeplessness may occur as a result of a substance abuse or a withdrawal problem, including withdrawal from marijuana. Disturbance of the biological clock, such as a shift in time zones or different job shifts can also result in insomnia. Poor sleep habits often contribute to the problem. Other medical conditions that cause Insomnia include sleep apnea, restless legs, night sweats and pain.


Standard medical treatments:

Sleep medicines –



Ambien, Lunesta

Antihistamines – Benadryl

Antidepressants –

Trazodone, Elavil


Change sleep habits – keep bedroom dark and quiet

Light snack before bed

Address causes of stress or worry


Supportive and alternative treatments:

Nutritional – avoid stimulants, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol before bed


L-Tryptophan – an amino acid, pre-serotonin

Warm milk

Herbal –

Valerian root – sedative

Kava-kava – sedative and relaxant

California poppy – sedative and relaxant

Passion flower – relaxant


Cortisol reduction


Relaxation therapy




Sleep induction guided tapes/CDs


Insomnia and Cannabis

Most patients who have found success with cannabis for insomnia report improved sleep with less drowsiness the next day as compared with over the counter or prescription medication. Patients who use cannabis for insomnia often can reduce or eliminate their previous sleeping medicines, with fewer side effects. Many pharmaceuticals that are used to help insomnia may also cause insomnia as they are withdrawn, or skipped. Cannabis does not create the same sort of dependence, you can use it as needed. It’s important to use marijuana in a long-acting form, such as capsules or tincture if you find you’re waking up in the middle of the night. Avoid brownies, though because chocolate is stimulating. Indica strains are best used as sedatives.