Is Chronic Cannabis Use Linked to Sleep Deficits?


When considering the impact of cannabis on sleep, emerging research points to a complex relationship. For instance, although Colorado Arts and Cannabis reports that acute, limited use may have beneficial effects on sleep, chronic and heavy usage seems to be associated with various sleep deficits, such as insomnia, reduced sleep duration, poor sleep quality, and longer sleep onset latency.

There is, however, an ambiguity in this domain, as certain studies indicate the potential of cannabinoids like CBD to enhance total sleep time. For example, one study suggested that administering 160 mg/day of CBD could increase total sleep time and decrease nighttime arousals, while lower doses of CBD might lead to increased wakefulness. Nevertheless, it is crucial to approach these findings with caution due to contrasting evidence and the need for further research.

Indeed, according to research co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (SPH) researcher, daily marijuana users experience more sleep disturbances than those who use less frequently or not at all, challenging the notion that marijuana acts as an effective treatment for insomnia. This is underscored by The Brink at Boston University and further elaborated in the Sleep Medicine Reviews from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Moreover, the long-term implications of teenage marijuana use have been highlighted by a study from CU Boulder, which found a correlation between heavy use during adolescence and increased risk of adult insomnia, indicating potential long-lasting effects on sleep patterns.

The narrative that marijuana could serve as a panacea for various conditions, including sleep disorders, is further complicated by the insights of Columbia Magazine and Harvard Medical School, which suggest that the immediate sense of relief provided by cannabis for mood and sleep issues may not translate into long-term improvements.

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Reflecting on the use of cannabis among older adults, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society highlighted that while some older adults use cannabis for medical purposes like pain, insomnia, and anxiety, there remains a pressing need for more data to fully understand its impact.

In conclusion, while certain individual studies might point towards the sleep-enhancing potential of cannabinoids, the preponderance of evidence suggests that chronic use of cannabis may be more likely to disrupt than support healthy sleep patterns. Caution and further research are warranted in considering cannabis as a treatment for sleep-related issues.

Cannabis Use and Sleep Study

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