Marijuana Could Turn You Into a Nighttime "Walking-Dead" Zombie, Study: Use May Impair Quality of Sleep

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By Silvana Peters | June 3, 2014 1:59 PM EST

Reuters
Sleep apnea is already linked to a host of health problems, but according to new research, it can also raise your risk of dying from cancer. Cancer patients with sleep apnea have a higher risk of dying from their cancer than those without sleep apnea, researchers said.

Sleepless nights may be attributed to long-term marijuana consumption, according to a recent study from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Individuals who use marijuana are more likely to experience sleep difficulties.

The study found that there is a higher incidence of impaired sleep quality among marijuana users that poses counter results to the age-old belief that marijuana relaxes the mind and contributes to a good night's rest. If revealed that adults who began to use marijuana before the age of 15 were twice likely to have severe problems falling asleep, experiencing non-restorative sleep and feeling overly sleepy during the day.

"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 lead author Jilesh Chheda, research assistant, Division of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Department of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania.

"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 researchers looked at the sleep habits of 1,811 former and current users of marijuana and found that cannabis use during adolescence has repercussions on one's sleep quality.

"Marijuana use is common, with about half of adults having reported using it at some point in their life," said Chheda.

While the study was not designed too determine causality, it poses critical implications on marijuana which is one of the most widely used drugs, not only in the United States but globally.

"As more people have access, it will be important to understand the implications of marijuana use on public health, as its impact on sleep in the 'real world' is not well known," said senior study author, Michael Grandner, PhD, instructor in Psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology.

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and will be presented Wednesday, June 4, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at SLEEP 2014, the 28th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

For more information, view the University's press release or view the AASM press release.

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(Photo: Reuters / Luke Macgregor)
Sleep apnea is already linked to a host of health problems, but according to new research, it can also raise your risk of dying from cancer. Cancer patients with sleep apnea have a higher risk of dying from their cancer than those without sleep apnea, researchers said.
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