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Is Marijuana Good for Sleep?

Despite heavy eyes and cloudy heads, pot smokers are more likely to experience sleep problems according to a new study.

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By Victoria Kim

06/04/14

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Marijuana is not the secret ingredient to a good night’s sleep, according to a new study that linked marijuana use to impaired sleep quality. Any history of marijuana use was associated with difficulty falling asleep, struggling to maintain sleep, experiencing non-restorative sleep, and feeling daytime sleepiness.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied the sleep habits of 1,811 current and former marijuana users, ages 20 to 59. Users reported higher rates of sleeplessness and drowsiness compared with nonusers. People who started using marijuana before age 15 were twice as likely to report severe sleep loss, even if they cut down on using marijuana later in life.

“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,” said lead author Jilesh Chheda, research assistant, Division of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Department of Psychiatry at Penn.

“While prior research has shown that many people report using marijuana to relax and possibly as a sleep aid, this latest study found that current and past marijuana users are more likely to experience sleep problems,” said Chheda.

The research team noted that the study was not designed to determine causality, so the exact relationship between marijuana use and sleep disturbance has yet to be determined. But, they added, the study has important implications given that marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the U.S.

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