Study: Recent Cannabis Use Linked To Extremes In Nightly Sleep Patterns And Duration


This article was originally published in December 2021.

Recent cannabis use is linked to extremes of nightly sleep duration—less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours—reveals a study of a large representative sample of US adults, published online in the journal Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine. This pattern was even more pronounced among heavy users, reported 

While popularly consumed for its perceived benefits as a sleeping aid, the impact of cannabis on sleep-wake regulation in clinical studies is inconclusive. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between cannabis use and nightly sleep duration in a nationally representative dataset.

The cross-sectional analysis of adults was undertaken using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 2005 to 2018.

Respondents were classified as recent users or non-users if they had used or not used cannabis in the past 30 days, respectively.

Sleep duration was defined as short (less than 6 hours), optimal (6–9 hours), and long (more than 9 hours).

From a sample representing approximately 146 million adults in the U.S., 14.5% reported recent cannabis use. And recent cannabis use was not associated with frequent daytime sleepiness. 

According to the study, recent users were more likely than non-users to report both short sleep and long sleep.

Recent users, thought to be at the extremes of nightly sleep duration, were 34% reported short sleep and 56% were more likely to report long sleep than those who hadn’t used cannabis in the preceding 30 days. Furthermore, they were 31% more inclined to report difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much in the preceding 2 weeks.

Defined as consuming cannabis on 20 or more out of the preceding 30 days, heavy users were 64% more prone to experience short sleep and 76% more likely to experience long sleep compared with non-users.Moderate users, defined as using marijuana fewer than 20 of the past 30 days, were 47% more likely to sleep 9 or more hours a night compared with non-users. 

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