Cannabis has been used for pain relief and to promote sleep for thousands of years. Over the past several decades, a therapeutic role for cannabis in mainstream medicine has increasingly emerged.  Research into the benefits of cannabis for sleep has shown some progess with many people report using cannabis as a sleep aid.  Yes, people are choosing marijuana over sleep aids because they tend to work better with less side effects.

A study demonstrates this way of thinking is not at all uncommon, showing less people are purchasing over the counter sleep medications when they have access to legal marijuana.

The study, published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, was conducted by researchers from the University of New Mexico and California State Polytechnic University. These scientists looked into retail data collected from the Nielsen company in order to understand how legal marijuana in Colorado affected the sales of over the counter sleep medications. Nearly 600 stores (587) were analyzed, and recreational dispensaries from different counties were also sampled.

RELATED: How Using Marijuana Can Effect Your Sleep Patterns

“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,” says the study.

Marijuana Does Not Make You Dumber, According to Science
Photo by Mayara Klingner/EyeEm/Getty Images

The study explains even if there’s no clinical evidence that supports marijuana as a sleep aid, people are still taking matters into their own hands, causing a significant reduction in the use of over the counter sleep medications.

“Our results are consistent with evidence that legal access to medical cannabis is associated with reductions in Scheduled II-V prescription medications (e.g., opioids and sedatives), many of which may be used in part as sleep aids,” say the authors.

RELATED: How Does Marijuana Affect My Sleep And Dreams?

While changes such as this one mean that marijuana is a trusted alternative medicine from a variety of users, the fact that there isn’t enough science to back up these claims means that the people responsible need to catch up. The more that marijuana is embraced, the bigger risks the general population will be willing to take. This isn’t a problem with over the counter sleep medications, which aren’t all that serious, but it might become an issue with other types of conditions.

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