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Marijuana Use and Sleep Problems

marijuanaAccording to new research, any history of marijuana use may actually increase the probability of reporting a variety of sleep problems.[1] The sleep changes potentially linked to marijuana use includes difficulty falling asleep, struggling to maintain sleep, experiencing non-restorative sleep, and feeling daytime sleepiness.1 In fact, researchers found that adults who started marijuana use before age 15 were twice as likely to experience sleep difficulties.1

“Current and past marijuana users are more likely to experience sleep problems,” said lead author Jilesh Chheda. “The most surprising finding was that there was a strong relationship with age of first use, no matter how often people were currently using marijuana. People who started using early were more likely to have sleep problems as an adult.”1

The researchers reviewed self-reported data from adults ranging in age from 20 to 59 years of age, as part of the 2007 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).1 A history of drug use was reported by 1,811 participants.1 Marijuana use was assessed as any history of use, age at first use, and number of times used in the past month.1 Sleep-related problems were considered severe if they occurred at least 15 days per month.1

Although the design of the study did not allow for an examination of a cause-and-effect relationship, the results suggest that initiation of marijuana use in adolescence may lead to a higher risk for insomnia symptoms.1 However, another possibility could be that those who begin using earlier are more likely to experience insomnia for other reasons, such as stress.1 In fact, insomnia may even be one of the reasons people start, or continue, marijuana use—although evidence suggests that it is probably not an effective treatment if the person is still experiencing problems.1

“Marijuana use is common, with about half of adults having reported using it at some point I their life,” said Chheda. “As it becomes legal in many states, it will be important to understand the impact of marijuana use on public health, as its impact on sleep in the ‘real world’ is not well-known.”1



[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Marijuana Use Tied to Sleep Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/06/03/marijuana-use-tied-to-sleep-problems/70741.html

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