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National Jewish Health To Study Marijuana and Sleep

Denver, CO —

National Jewish Health researcher Russell Bowler, MD, PhD, has been awarded a $450,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment to study the use of marijuana for insomnia.

Insomnia affects 10 to 15 percent of the United States population. Help with sleep difficulties is one of the most commonly reported medical uses for marijuana. Dr. Bowler’s study seeks to understand how people use marijuana for insomnia and evaluate its effectiveness for that purpose.

“There is almost no reliable scientific knowledge about how marijuana is used for sleep disorders and if it is effective,” said Dr. Bowler, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health. “We expect this study to fill a significant gap in our knowledge about marijuana use and effects.”

As part of their investigation, Dr. Bowler and his colleagues Mark Aloia, PhD, at National Jewish Health, and Gregory Kinney, PhD, at the Colorado School of Public Health, have developed an improved usage questionnaire, which will more accurately reflect actual usage of marijuana by delving into details of usage, including different strains of marijuana, edibles, hash oils and non-THC cannabidiol.

The researchers will ask three basic questions:

  1. What strains and method of administration do Coloradans use for sleep?

  2. How does marijuana use affect sleep onset and quality?

  3. Do cannabinoid biomarkers in the blood correlate with sleep onset and quality?

“We have already begun recruiting a Colorado Cannabis Cohort of moderate to heavy marijuana users and expect this study to be the first of several we will conduct to better understand marijuana use and its effects,” said Dr. Bowler. “As the nation’s leading respiratory hospital, located in a state at the frontier of changing marijuana laws and usage, we are well positioned to provide rigorous scientific evidence for the ongoing national debate about marijuana.”

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 125 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of children and adults with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit the media resources page.

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