The mechanism of action of Cannabis sativa L. as a sleep inducer and its neuropsychological consequences - an integrative review




Insomnia; Marijuana; Phytotherapy; Psychological disorders; Sleep physiology.


Variations in normal sleep patterns, when affecting the individual's healthy performance, are characterized as “sleep disorders” and tend to be a predictor to the search for palliative substances capable of alleviating the symptoms of the condition. Cannabis sativa L. has a high consumption worldwide in the treatment of a lot of pathologies, being used, with or without medical supervision, to minimize the symptoms of insomnia. This literature review aimed to delimit the mechanism of action of C. sativa in sleep and expose the advantages and disadvantages – mainly neuropsychological – of its use as a sleep-inducing substance. Through bibliographical research, the descriptors “Cannabis and sleep physiology (fisiologia do sono/ fisiología del sueño)/ phytotherapy (fitoterapia/fitoterapía)/ insomnia (insônia/ insomnio)/ mechanism of action (mecanismo de ação/ mecanismo de acción)/ psychological disorders (transtornos psicológicos/ desórdenes psicológicas)” were searched in the SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online), PuBMeD, ResearchGate and Science Direct databases. In total, 52 scientific articles were selected and used to support the present work. It was found that the beneficial effects of C. sativa on sleep are limited to naive users, such tolerance to THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) it’s undeveloped. Besides that, there is the possibility of aggravation or triggering of new pathologies, especially when C. sativa is administered through tobacco, which, because of the combustion, releases harmful toxins to health. Vaporization, therefore, appears as an administration route to be explored, as it presents lesser risks and greater benefits to the users.

Author Biographies

Laura Moreira Silva, Faculdade Cesumar de Ponta Grossa

Acadêmica de Psicologia pela Faculdade Cesumar de Ponta Grossa - UniCesumar. Pesquisadora bolsista do Programa Institucional de Bolsas de Iniciação Científica PIBIC⁸/ICETI - UniCesumar durante o período letivo de 2021.

Isadora de Jesus Mariano Lacerda, Faculdade Cesumar de Ponta Grossa

Acadêmica de Farmácia pela Faculdade Cesumar de Ponta Grossa (UniCesumar).

Juliane Nadal Dias Swiech, Faculdade Cesumar de Ponta Grossa

Doutora em Ciências Farmacêuticas pela Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR). 


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How to Cite

SILVA, L. M.; LACERDA, I. de J. M.; SWIECH, J. N. D. The mechanism of action of Cannabis sativa L. as a sleep inducer and its neuropsychological consequences - an integrative review. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 11, n. 2, p. e41211225866, 2022. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v11i2.25866. Disponível em: Acesso em: 20 jun. 2024.



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