for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at San Diego, California
study start
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
by Mariana Cherner, PhD
Headshot of Mariana Cherner
Mariana Cherner



This study will obtain preliminary information about whether, and at what dose, cannabidiol (CBD) may help with insomnia in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The study will be a 5-week randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled phase II trial using daily oral CBD doses between 50mg and 600mg. Sleep problems will be measured using a wrist-worn device and by self-report. Performance on tests of thinking skills will be compared before and after CBD/placebo treatment. Positive study results will provide support for the use of CBD as a potential treatment for insomnia.

Official Title

Pilot Trial of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Sleep Problems in People With HIV


Sleep problems are highly prevalent in people with HIV, and traditional treatment with sedative/hypnotic medications can compound neurocognitive dysfunction. A treatment option without cognitive side effects would be highly desirable for use with this vulnerable population. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid component of the marijuana plant that is considered devoid of euphoriant or other psychoactive properties. A small literature demonstrates a broad range of CBD doses at which sleepiness is reported to occur, and also not occur, which indicates the need for controlled studies to ascertain the lowest efficacious dose, as well as the sustainability of effects over a period of repeated use. The proposed clinical trial will seek to 1) Ascertain the dose range of CBD that is useful in managing symptoms of insomnia and improving sleep quality, and 2) determine whether CBD use has any next-morning cognitive sequelae measured objectively with a neuropsychological test battery.

In the proposed five-week clinical trial, investigators will use a liquid solution that is 100 mg/mL of CBD formed from semi synthetic CBD powder suspended in sesame oil. Eligible participants will be randomized into either a CBD or Placebo group. At the baseline visit, participants will be fitted with a wrist-worn actigraph to measure activity and light exposure, which they were wear for 5 weeks to estimate their rest/ activity cycle.

After a 7-day baseline period, participants will be instructed to take 50mg of CBD/placebo to begin the titration phase. They will slowly increase their daily dose by 100mg/day until they achieve relief from symptoms of insomnia. This includes the option to remain on the minimum study dose of 50 mg daily to a maximum medication limit of 600 mg daily. Participants will return weekly to monitor vital signs, download actigraphy data, and receive the next allotment of study medication. Clinical labs, self-reported sleep, fatigue, and mood, as well neuropsychological test performance will be be measured at baseline and at the end of the medication maintenance phase. Participants will also be instructed to use a daily diary to record sleep and other health related items, as well as adherence to the study regimen for the duration of the study.


Sleep Disturbance, Dyssomnias, Parasomnias, Cannabidiol, Cannabidiol oral solution, Inert sesame seed oil


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  • HIV+ and HIV- adults with complaints of sleep problems
  • Ability to provide informed consent;
  • Read, speak, and understand English or Spanish as a first language;
  • Willingness to stop sedative/hypnotic medication use;
  • Willingness to abstain from substance use;
  • Willingness to prevent pregnancy.

You CAN'T join if...

  • Inability to provide informed consent;
  • Medical conditions other than HIV disease that may confound study results or pose risk when participating in the study;
  • Neurologic disorder that could compromise interpretation of study findings, such as seizure disorder, stroke, demyelinating diseases, or head injury with loss of consciousness for greater than 30 minutes or resulting in neurologic complications; and other non-HIV neurological disorders;
  • Severe psychiatric disorder that might make the person's participation in the study problematic or unsafe, including psychiatric disorder with psychotic features, severe depression, or suicidality;
  • Current sedative/hypnotic use for a non-sleep related indication or abuse within the last 12 months;
  • Use of marijuana, CBD, or other natural or synthetic cannabinoids in the last 30 days;
  • Any moderate to severe substance use disorder (dependence) in the last 12 months;
  • Any mild substance use disorder (abuse) in the last 30 days;
  • Pregnancy or lactation, or unwillingness to prevent pregnancy during the trial;
  • Compromised liver or kidney function;
  • Evidence of cardiovascular risk,
  • Uncontrolled hypertension;
  • Chronic pulmonary disease;
  • Obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or other non-insomnia sleep diagnosis;
  • Overnight-shift work.


  • University of California San Diego School of Medicine accepting new patients
    San Diego California 92103 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSD

  • Mariana Cherner, PhD
    Dr. Mariana Cherner is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD as well as a faculty member in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. She is a licensed clinical psychologist trained in adult neuropsychological assessment.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Mariana Cherner, PhD
Phase 2 research study
Study Type
Expecting 16 study participants
Last Updated