Home Medical Adult-Use Cannabis Access Linked to Fewer Sales of OTC Sleep Aids

Adult-Use Cannabis Access Linked to Fewer Sales of OTC Sleep Aids


Legalizing adult-use cannabis has been linked to fewer sales of over-the-counter sleep aids, according to data that was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine. This confirms what many advocates have already known for years, which is that cannabis is great for treating sleep ailments like insomnia. 

The study included investigators from the University of New Mexico and California Polytechnic State University. The researchers conducted studies based on the trends of purchases of over-the-counter sleep aids before and after cannabis was made legal for adult-use. 

“For the first time, we show a statistically significant negative association between recreational access to cannabis and OTC sleep aid sales, suggesting that at least some recreational purchasers are using cannabis for therapeutic rather than recreational purposes … [O]ur results indicate that enough individuals are switching from OTC sleep aids to recreational cannabis that we can identify a statistically significant reduction in the market share growth of OTC sleep aids in conjunction with access to recreational cannabis use,” the researchers reported.

The reports were driven by the fact that there was a reduced amount of sales to benadryl, which some people use as a sleep aid. There wasn’t much of a link in the decline of natural sleep aids like melatonin. Different studies have also been conducted that associated cannabis use with reduced usage of opioid medications. 

The authors of the study conclude that the market for over-the-counter sleep aids was reduced when adult-use cannabis sales were made legal. 

“Our results show that the market share growth for sleep aids shrank with the entry of recreational cannabis dispensaries … and the strength of the association increased with each subsequent dispensary. Our results are consistent with evidence that legal access to medical cannabis is associated with reductions in Scheduled II-V prescription medications, many of which may be used in part as sleep aids,” the study reads

This study shines a light on what many cannabis advocates already know – that the plant medicine can help you get a good night’s sleep. As we continue to evolve with legalization in many forms, hopefully we will see many more studies like this one being conducted. Those of us who have trouble sleeping will certainly benefit from it.