Marijuana Use in Older People Associated With Positive Effects on Sleep: Study
According to a newly released study, daily marijuana use by older adults is associated with improved sleep duration. The study was published in the journal Cannabis, and was first reported on by NORML.
For the study
titled Cannabis use is associated with greater total sleep time in middle-aged adults with and without HIV: A preliminary report utilizing digital health technologies – researchers with the University of California at San Diego examined the relationship between daily cannabis use and sleep quality over a 14-day period in a cohort of older adults (ages 50 to 70) with and without HIV. “Participants wore actigraphy watches during the study period to objectively assess their quality of sleep.”
The study found that cannabis use was associated with, on average, some 30 minutes of increased sleep time per evening.
They concluded: “In our small sample, findings showed cannabis use was associated with longer sleep duration. … future studies with larger sample sizes that assess cannabis use in more detail are needed to further understand this relationship.”
The full text of the study, “Cannabis use is associated with greater total sleep time in middle-aged adults with and without HIV: A preliminary report utilizing digital health technologies,” appears in the journal Cannabis.
The full abstract
Current literature on the effect of cannabis use on sleep quality is mixed, and few studies have used objectively-measured sleep measures or real-time sampling of cannabis use to examine this relationship. The prevalence of cannabis use among older adults and persons living with HIV has increased in recent years, and poor sleep quality is elevated in these populations as well.
However, research examining cannabis-sleep relationships in these populations is lacking. Thus, we aimed to examine the relationship between daily cannabis use and subsequent objectively-measured sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with and without HIV. In this pilot study, seventeen (11 HIV+, 6 HIV−) adults aged 50–70 who consumed cannabis completed four daily smartphone-based surveys for 14 days, in which they reported their cannabis use (yes/no) since the last survey.
Participants also wore actigraphy watches during the 14-day period to objectively assess sleep quality (i.e., efficiency, total sleep time, and sleep fragmentation). In linear mixed-effects models, cannabis use was significantly associated with greater subsequent total sleep time (β=0.56; p=0.046). Cannabis use was not related to a change in sleep efficiency (β=1.50; p=0.46) nor sleep fragmentation (β=0.846, p=0.756) on days with cannabis use versus days without cannabis use. These preliminary results indicate cannabis use may have a positive effect on sleep duration in middle-aged and older adults.
However, future studies with larger sample sizes that assess cannabis use in more detail (e.g., route of administration, dose, reason for use) are needed to further understand this relationship.