Legal Medicinal Cannabis to Distrupt a $41 Billion Market?

Industry News - Sleep

While there have always skeptics denying the many benefits of cannabis, even they would agree that cannabis does, in fact, make them sleepy.

For those who find it easy to fall asleep, this is not a big deal. Yet, for insomniacs spending $41 billion annually on various sleeping aids, it is absolutely groundbreaking. Still, insomnia does not yet qualify for a condition that allows the use of medicinal cannabis in any of the US states; perhaps California will be the one to finally break the ice in the near future, who knows?

At any rate, in countries that do allow the use of medicinal cannabis for treating sleep disorders there’s been a significant decrease in sales of conventional sleep medications which carry a number of undesirable side effects.

California Polytechnic State University’s researchers, in collaboration with the University of New Mexico, observed the sales of over-the-counter sleep aids in several Colorado counties. The data was collected both before and after the beginning of recreational cannabis sales that took place in 2014; before 2014, sleep aid sales had been constantly growing.

However, this seems to have changed after the legalization.

According to reports from the journal of Complementary Therapies in Medicine, every time a dispensary for medical cannabis products would open, even though the general sales of over-the-counter drugs remained unchanged, the sales of sleeping pills decreased by 236%. The research states that cannabis “appears to compete favorably” with over-the-counter drugs, especially those that contain antihistamines doxylamine and diphenhydramine.

Yet, it is still unclear whether cannabis is superior to over-the-counter drugs for treating sleep disorders. Nevertheless, what is clear, for now, is that consumers of over-the-counter sleeping pills weren’t reluctant to try an alternative option; there are statistics that explain it to some extent. For instance, studies show that 50% of Americans report dissatisfaction with the amount and quality of their sleep. Furthermore, 80% of over-the-counter drug consumers report side effects such as drowsiness and the inability to stay focused when they need to.

Overall, if all cannabis does is make someone sleepy — particularly those that have some form of sleep disorder — then it’s potentially opening the market for an industry worth billions of dollars. Now, taking into account the lack of productivity that’s caused by chronic tiredness, costing companies $63 billion a year, legalizing medicinal cannabis for sleep disorders could save quite a bit of money for multiple parties.

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