People have long debated the effects of marijuana on sleep. Some say that it causes insomnia, while others claim that it helps people fall asleep faster and more easily. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle, as marijuana can have both positive and negative effects on sleep depending on the person’s individual physiology and psychology.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. People with insomnia may wake up multiple times during the night or wake up early and be unable to get back to sleep. Insomnia can make it hard to function during the day and can lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
There are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is when sleep problems are not caused by another health condition or substance. Secondary insomnia is when sleep problems are caused by another health condition, such as anxiety, depression, or pain.
What Does the Research Say?
The research on marijuana and sleep is conflicting. Some studies suggest that marijuana can help people fall asleep and improve sleep quality, while other studies suggest that it can have the opposite effect.
A review of existing research on marijuana and sleep found that marijuana may help people fall asleep more quickly and improve sleep quality. However, the researchers also found that marijuana may make it more difficult to stay asleep throughout the night.
Another review of research found that marijuana may improve sleep quality in people with certain medical conditions, such as pain or multiple sclerosis. However, the review also found that marijuana use may be associated with poorer sleep quality in healthy adults.
The effects of marijuana on sleep are likely to vary from person to person. Some people may find that it helps them fall asleep, while others may find that it makes it more difficult to stay asleep.
How Does Marijuana Affect Sleep?
Marijuana affects sleep by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. This system is involved in regulating a variety of functions, including sleep, appetite, pain, and mood.
When marijuana is consumed, the cannabinoids in the plant bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This can lead to changes in sleep patterns. For example, THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, may increase wakefulness and decrease REM sleep. CBD, another compound in marijuana, may have the opposite effect and promote sleep.
Risks of Using Marijuana for Sleep
There are a few potential risks to consider before using marijuana for sleep.
First, marijuana is a substance that can be addictive. Approximately 9% of people who use marijuana will become addicted. If you have a history of substance abuse or addiction, you may be at a higher risk of becoming addicted to marijuana.
Second, marijuana can have short and long-term side effects. Short-term side effects of marijuana include impaired memory and judgment, anxiety, fear, and paranoia. Long-term side effects of marijuana include addiction, impaired memory and judgment, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.
Third, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which means it’s illegal under federal law. This can make it difficult to obtain and may also lead to legal penalties if you’re caught with it.
Fourth, marijuana can interact with other medications. If you’re taking any medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor before using marijuana, as it could potentially interact with your medication and cause unwanted side effects.
Finally, there is a lack of research on the long-term effects of using marijuana for sleep. This means that the potential risks and benefits of doing so are not fully known.
Marijuana may help people fall asleep more quickly and improve sleep quality. However, it may also make it more difficult to stay asleep throughout the night. The effects of marijuana on sleep are likely to vary from person to person.
If you’re considering using marijuana for sleep, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. They can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits and determine if marijuana is right for you.
John DiBella is a medical marijuana advocate, owner of The Sanctuary Wellness Institute, and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about medical marijuana, he enjoys hiking, camping and sailing.