Have you ever complained to a friend that you just cannot seem to catch the z’s and they’ve had the retort ready: Try a joint. Well, if you went ahead and took their advice turns out it won’t be much help since a recent study has established that weed may actually be the reason for insomnia, and in case one already finds it difficult to sleep, weed can’t help better the condition. Shocked? If your sleep schedule has gone for a toss, you may want to take a rain check on that joint.
Can weed disturb my sleep pattern?
Lead researcher Michael Grandner, from the University of Pennsylvania, said “It's possible that people who already suffer from insomnia turn to marijuana as a way to help them sleep. The type of person who reports marijuana use in the U.S. is more likely to also be the type of person who has sleep problems. It doesn't mean that one is causing the other.” He also pointed out that while people often turn to marijuana for help with sleep, there is no evidence as to whether this helps.
This has been further researched upon by the journal BMJ. It found that people who use cannabis may have their sleep impacted.
What were the findings of the study?
The study analysed 21,729 Americans with regard to sleep habits and cannabis use. These people were in the age group of 20 and 59. What was found out was that people who were heavy users of cannabis, that is to say, used it for more than 20 days a month were 76% more likely to have a good night’s sleep, around nine hours of it. On the other hand, 64% of such people were more likely to get less than six hours of sleep.
What does this show?
Inconsistency in the sleep pattern is what is the result of using cannabis frequently.
In the case of those who use cannabis moderately, which is less than 20 days in one month, the inconsistency in sleep isn’t as much. These people do not have such a problem with getting sleep. 47% of these reported that they have more than nine hours a night of good sleep.
Does this mean that weed is the cause of insomnia?
"The problem with our study is that we can't really say that it's causal, meaning we can't know for sure whether this was simply individuals who were having difficulty sleeping, and that's why they use the cannabis or the cannabis caused it,” Calvin Diep, who is resident in the department of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the University of Toronto and lead author on the study, told CNN.
What may be the reason for weed causing insomnia?
While the link between weed and insomnia cannot be established for certain, what can be said is that sleep is definitely a problem that this generation faces, to the extent that they turn to marijuana for relief. Getting too much sleep as well as getting too little of it can both be a problem healthwise. "Large population-based studies show that both short sleep and a long sleep are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as the long-term progression of things like atherosclerosis, diabetes, coronary artery disease and any of the major cardiovascular diseases," said Diep.
“It seems with sleep there's kind of this 'Goldilocks phenomenon' where there's an amount that 'just right.” - Calvin Diep to CNN.
What have prior studies found about weed linked to sleep?
Studies have been conducted in the past to assess the link between CBD, THC and insomnia. CBD is cannabidiol which is the active component in medical marijuana whereas THC is responsible for the high. These studies found there to be a link. A 2018 study that analysed the effects of CBD on sleep, found that there are no positive benefits that people who were tackling insomnia had from marijuana, and in fact, a joint would make the condition worse.
Dr Bhanu Prakash Kolla, a sleep medicine specialist in the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota said “At this time there still isn't any clear evidence that cannabis is helping sleep. We know that when people initiate use there is some benefit in the immediate short term but there is quick tolerance to this effect. There currently is no good quality evidence to suggest that cannabis will help improve sleep quality or duration."
Why does marijuana help sleep in some people?
Contrary to what the study discussed above says, you may know of people who in actual use marijuana and claim that it helps them sleep better.
Are they wrong? Maybe not. There are certain factors that may be the reason for this.
Certain people who use marijuana frequently claim to sleep better and when they discontinue its use or start to ‘withdraw’ from it, they experience insomnia or sleep disruptions. They link it to the marijuana being eliminated from their lifestyle. What they may think of as effects of ‘not having marijuana anymore’ may actually be the withdrawal symptoms.
The dosage that people are consuming of marijuana determines a lot. While some studies may have been conducted when the dosage was low, the studies these days may be done on people who are having a higher dosage.