Cannabis May Make Your Insomnia Worse, Not Better

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Marijuana helps many people fall asleep, but that short-term benefit doesn’t always translate to long-term use. A new study backs up the idea that you may not get a great night’s sleep if you use cannabis every day.

Research at the University of Michigan found that people who used marijuana every day were more likely to have insomnia. People who used it occasionally had a lower rate of insomnia, similar to people who did not use the drug at all.

Previous research has found that people also have sleep troubles if they’ve been using marijuana and then stop; there is a withdrawal period of days to weeks where sleep suffers. This suggests there may be a sweet spot where occasional use can help you fall asleep without leading to either withdrawal or tolerance that harms your sleep.

But this study didn’t look for an optimal usage pattern, so we can’t be sure. And we also can’t be sure if these results apply to the population as a whole. The participants were young adults who may drink a little but don’t use other drugs, for example. People were also excluded from the study if they took any other kind of sleep medication. The study also looked specifically at marijuana smoking, not edibles or other forms, and it didn’t try to separate the effects of different strains or of CBD versus THC content.

“While there are still many questions to be answered, existing research suggests that the effects of cannabis on sleep may depend on many factors, including individual differences, cannabis concentrations and frequency of use,” author Deirdre Conroy writes at The Conversation.

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