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Marijuana Use Linked to Poor Sleep Quality

Jun 02, 2014 10:38 AM EDT

Marijuana use is associated with poor sleep quality, a new study suggests.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, found that a history of cannabis use is linked to sleep problems. People who have used the drug in the past have higher risk of experiencing non-restorative and feeling daytime sleepiness.

Marijuana is a highly popular and an easily-accessible drug, which is why several teens use the drug. About 48 percent of all people in the U.S. have used the drug at some point in their lives. According to recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more teens are smoking marijuana than cigarettes.

"Current and past marijuana users are more likely to experience sleep problems," said lead author Jilesh Chheda, research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "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."

The study was based on data from 1,811 participants aged between 20-59 years. All the participants were enrolled in the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Researchers looked at marijuana use and sleep-related problems.

Researchers found that people who use marijuana have increased risk of suffereing from sleep-problems. The study wasn't designed to find a cause-and-effect relationship between the drug use and sleep problems. Researchers hypothesize that starting cannabis use during teenage years leads to insomnia later in life.

"Marijuana use is common, with about half of adults having reported using it at some point in their life," said Chheda in a news release.  "As it becomes legal in many states, it will be important to understand the impact of marijuana use on public health, as its impact on sleep in the 'real world' is not well known."

The study will be presented Wednesday, June 4, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at SLEEP 2014, the 28th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC and is published in the journal Sleep, according to the news release.

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