Recent cannabis use is linked to either less than 6 hours- short sleep- or more than 9 hours of sleep- long sleep. The study was published in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.
As of 2019, 45 million adults in the US reported using cannabis, which is double the figure reported in the early 2000s. In particular, the plant has become a popular sleep aid. There are conflicting findings, however, on whether the plant actually benefits sleep.
In a recent study, researchers analyzed data gathered between 2005 and 2018 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from adults aged 20-59. The survey contained information on participants’ sleep duration, the incidence of sleepiness during the day, and whether they have ever consulted a doctor about sleep problems.
The survey also gathered information about whether or not participants had used cannabis or not in the last 30 days. Those who had were considered ‘recent users’ and those who had not were considered ‘non-users’.
Altogether, the researchers analyzed records from 21, 729 respondents. Of these respondents, 3,132, or 14.5%, were considered as recent users of cannabis.
While the average nightly sleep duration across the sample was around 7 hours, they found that cannabis users were 34% more likely than non-users to report short sleep, and 56% more likely to report long sleep. They additionally found that cannabis users were 31% more likely to report difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
Within cannabis users, they found that moderate users (those who used cannabis on less than 20 of the previous 30 days) were 47% more likely than non-users to sleep 9 hours or more. Meanwhile, heavy users, characterized as using cannabis on 20 days or more in the last 30 days, were 76% more likely than non-users to experience long sleep, and 64% more likely to experience short sleep.
The researchers caution that their findings are limited as they rely on self-reported findings and do not obtain information on cannabis dosage.