Marijuana Sleep Effects
Marijuana is often touted as a sleep aid, but it can actually lead to trouble sleeping. While the drug itself might make you less active due to its sedative effects, studies show that cannabis use can harm sleep quality.
Cannabis users should be aware of the short-term sleep changes associated with marijuana use that can compound into a bigger problem.
Are you or a loved one experiencing trouble sleeping or other symptoms of potential substance abuse? The friendly, knowledgeable team at Zinnia Health can help. Call us at (855) 430-9439 for more information.
How Does Marijuana Impact Your Sleep?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is often marketed for its sleep-promoting effects. While CBD can be found in hemp, it’s also found in marijuana. Marijuana contains another chemical known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is being studied alongside CBD for its impact on sleep.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults should get seven to eight hours of sleep each night for the best health. Preliminary research shows that regular marijuana use can contribute to sleep issues. Some experience difficulty sleeping resulting in less than six hours per night of shut-eye. However, the majority may end up sleeping too much.
Despite sleeping more than normal, marijuana users often report disturbed and restless sleep. This means they wake up tired while lying in bed longer.
They may also experience trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Plus, long-term marijuana use can reduce the time an individual spends in REM sleep, which is the state of deep sleep in which people dream.
Are Sleeping Problems Due to Marijuana Dangerous?
At first thought, it might not seem like the effects of cannabis on sleep are serious, but long-term use of marijuana can have a domino effect on the body and contribute to declining health.
Regardless of why or how you’re taking marijuana, it’s important to talk about any sleep problems you’re experiencing with a medical professional, so you can understand the sleep stages and potential disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, that can contribute to health risks.
When marijuana causes sleep disturbances, you may suffer from:
- Changes in mood
- Changes in appetite
- Heightened risk of weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Heightened risk of heart disease and heart attack
- Heightened risk of diabetes
Over time, the accumulation of poor sleep can contribute to long-term physical outcomes, too. Routine lack of a good night’s sleep caused by anything leads to more stress hormones (i.e., cortisol), which contributes to weight gain and obesity, further compounded by marijuana’s ability to induce cravings.
Bad-quality sleep also increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and other diseases.
Lack of sleep can also lead to heightened stress, anxiety, depression, and trouble managing your mood, all of which can interplay with a substance use disorder (SUD) and lead an individual to experiment with new drugs or take higher doses of a drug.
Can Marijuana Worsen Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition characterized by interrupted breathing. More specifically, an individual suffering from sleep apnea will experience breathing that stops and starts throughout the night.
Oftentimes, sleep apnea is hard to detect, especially if you sleep alone. The danger of sleep apnea is that reduced breathing can lead to oxygen deprivation, contributing to organ damage and even organ failure.
Studies are still being conducted to determine whether marijuana can cause or worsen sleep apnea, but it’s important to tell your doctor if you believe you’re suffering from this condition. Without treatment, sleep apnea can have a long-term impact on your health, and it could be fatal.
If you’re thinking about using medical cannabis as a means of treating obstructive sleep apnea, realize that no evidence exists to support its efficacy.
In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has publicly stated that they are opposed to using medical cannabis to treat sleep apnea “due to unreliable delivery methods and insufficient evidence of effectiveness, tolerability, and safety.”
Coping With Sleep Problems Caused by Marijuana
Marijuana can be consumed in many ways — smoking, vaping, edibles, tinctures, or even in the form of medical cannabis. Different strains of marijuana may impact sleep differently based on their biochemical makeup. For instance, marijuana containing higher levels of THC reduces the amount of REM sleep a person gets.
Coping with sleep problems caused by marijuana use might mean using less marijuana or opting for a non-THC product, such as pure CBD derived from hemp, to change the outcome. Your doctor can help you decide the best way forward, but you can also try to improve your sleep quality by following some advice shared by the CDC.
- Take naps throughout the day to feel more rested, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night.
- Avoid naps and caffeine at least four hours before bedtime to help you get a more restful night’s sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine that helps you wind down, like a warm shower and an activity that doesn’t involve physical activity or bright lights.
- Go to bed at a consistent time each night and try to wake up at a consistent time each morning.
If you believe you’re suffering from sleep disorders, especially a condition like sleep apnea, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help you get better sleep and avoid some of the risks associated with marijuana use and changes in sleep architecture.
Zinnia Health Can Help With Marijuana Sleep Effects
The drug’s ability to worsen overall sleep quality is easily one of the most overlooked effects of marijuana.
In most cases, people taking marijuana will spend more time in bed but wake up less rested than usual due to trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, and a reduction in how much time the body spends in deep, restorative, slow wave sleep.
Sleep problems are only one side effect of marijuana use. If you or a loved one is suffering from marijuana addiction, our team at Zinnia Health is standing by to help. Call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 and talk to our team to get on the path to a healthier life.