With more than one-third of Americans suffering from sleep disorders before the pandemic, and a University of Southampton study showing rates in the UK have risen from 1 in 6 (pre covid) to 1 in 4 in August 2020, it’s no wonder the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared sleep disorders a “public health epidemic”.
Insomnia is being worsened by pandemic-induced anxiety, stress, depression, isolation and, in some cases, grief leading to what is being referred to as Coronasomnia or Covid-somnia.
Insomnia is not just bad for mental health and wellbeing, it can also lead to long-term health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity which will put increasing strain on worldwide health systems as we emerge from the pandemic. And, for business, insomnia can also lead to increased absenteeism, presenteeism and a drop in productivity at a time when we need to be making up for lost time.
Clinical trials of CBD for sleep disorders
In 2020, Australian researchers reported initial results from the world’s first placebo-controlled clinical trial testing the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in treating chronic insomnia – arguably extremely good timing with the pandemic in full swing. The trial began in 2018 and included 23 participants with chronic insomnia and used a single proprietary cannabinoid formulation.
The University of Western Australia research team found “On average, the subjects displayed a 26% reduction in ISI (Insomnia Severity Index) scores compared to placebo, and for those taking a higher dose that reduction reached 36%. This ISI reduction on the highest dose resulted in a reclassification of insomnia diagnosis from moderate to subclinical.”
This year, researchers at Southern Cross University have started Australia’s largest clinical trial of an over-the-counter hemp-derived CBD product to help with sleep disturbance, with over 400 participants being recruited for the 10-week trial.
BOD Australia and the Woodcock Institute, Australia’s leading sleep and respiratory research organisation, are launching a phase IIB clinical trial aimed at developing a new CBD product to help treat insomnia. Researchers will recruit 200 participants for a 12-week trial.
Not only is this potentially very good news for CBD, these new Australian clinical trials could mark a significant step towards getting a better night’s sleep and play a part in the international commercial recovery from the after-effects of Coronavirus. We’ll be watching the study outcomes with interest.