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High on Lunesta: Lunesta Recreational Use Facts & Myths

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Using Lunesta beyond its purpose as a treatment for insomnia can result in side effects that some may consider a high.

Lunesta has been shown to cause such effects as impaired thinking, hazardous behavior, loss of motor control, hallucinations and memory loss, while some users also report a euphoric feeling.

Lunesta Addictive Potential

Lunesta has the potential to be addictive. The drug is classified as a Schedule IV Controlled Substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, meaning that the drug has a low potential for abuse, but that abuse may still lead to physical or psychological dependence. Learn the signs of Lunesta addiction to avoid the possible negative conaequences.

About Lunesta

Lunesta is one of the most popular medical methods for treating insomnia. Lunesta is a brand name for eszopiclone, a sedative in a class of medications known as nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics. Eszopiclone affects various chemicals in the brain in order to help people with insomnia to regulate their sleep, and is believed to interact with GABA receptors.

Lunesta is beneficial for short-term treatment of insomnia, and its benefits can typically be noticed within one week from the beginning of the treatment.

Is It Possible To Get High on Lunesta?

The answer to this question depends on how one would define a “high”; however, Lunesta can certainly lead to impaired thinking. In its recommended use, a user takes Lunesta and then spends at least 7 hours asleep.

Additionally, exceeding the optimal dose of 2-3 mg Lunesta may lead to:

  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior

Lunesta and Its Recreational Value

There are conflicting reports regarding the recreational value of Lunesta. Some say that a Lunesta high is impossible even though using other sleep drugs recreationally, such as Ambien and Sonata, can induce euphoric feelings; others report that Lunesta can provide recreational effects. Lunesta is Schedule IV Controlled Substance in the USA, meaning that the potential for abuse and dependency is not very high, though still possible.

Some users claim to have felt euphoria after taking Lunesta in a wakeful state. This effect may be due to Lunesta’s effect on the GABA receptors in the brain, which are responsible for relaxation. Others have reported experiencing frightening visuals.

Some users report that Lunesta decreases anxiety, affects judgment and causes retrograde amnesia. As a result, users have experienced episodes following Lunesta use in which they have engaged in risky, dangerous behaviors and retained no memory.

Many people also report a loss of motor control and drowsiness.

A study of abuse liability showed that high doses of eszopiclone produced:

  • Euphoric effect
  • Amnesia
  • Hallucinations

This study was carried out with patients with a history of benzodiazepine abuse. Interestingly, the effects noticed were similar to those of Diazepam (20 mg). Some argue that despite its similarity to some benzodiazepines (such as Klonopin), only a high dose of 8-12 mg mixed with alcohol can lead to any recreational effects.

Overall, Lunesta is most effective in its intended use as a sleeping aid, and side effects differ from user to user.

Lunesta and Dependency

Like most sleep medications, repeated Lunesta use can lead to tolerance and dependency, especially for people with a history of drug abuse.
Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Allergic reactions (trouble breathing, nausea)
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety

Importantly, if the administration of Lunesta is carried out improperly, it may in fact worsen insomnia instead of treating it. Like other drugs that affect the brain, Lunesta has the potential to affect the user’s state of mind, including inducing a sense of being “high.” It is important to be aware of the effects of the drugs one is using, so learn more in order to avoid abuse and remain safe.

Page Sources

  1. Monti J. M., Pandi-Perumal S. R. Eszopiclone: its use in the treatment of insomnia. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2007; 3(4): 441-53. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19300573.
  2. McGuire J. M., Duquette M., Burghart S. M., Ferri M. J. New-Onset Visual Hallucinations With Eszopiclone. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders. 2016; 18(2): 10.4088/PCC.15l01859. doi:10.4088/PCC.15l01859. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4956418/.
  3. VHA Pharmacy Benefits Management Strategic Healthcare Group and the Medical Advisory Panel. National PBM Drug Monograph Eszopiclone (Lunesta TM). 2005. https://www.pbm.va.gov/PBM/clinicalguidance/drugmonographs/Eszopiclone.pdf

Published on: January 21st, 2024

Updated on: January 30th, 2024

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.

Medically Reviewed by

Peter J. Grinspoon, MD

Dr. Peter Grinspoon is an experienced physician with long-term clinical practice experience. As a former analgesic addict, Dr. Grinspoon knows precisely how important it is to provide patients with effective treatment and support. Medical writing for him is the way to communicate with people and inform them about their health.


Leave a comment

  • Tammy
    Lunesta does absolutely nothing for me. I’ve only taken it for two months, and it does nothing to help me sleep. All I get is a bitter taste in the back of my mouth 5 min after taking it.
  • Kathy
    Have u tried Ambien? Was in it for years…lived it but had take more than prescribed so my Dr put me on lunesta…only tried it in nite…fell asleep fast but woke up after 4 hours.
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