Effects of cannabis on sleep
Information
13th October 2020

Effects of cannabis on sleep

Abigayle Miranda
Cannabis is a plant used to make a psychoactive drug used for recreation and medicinal purposes. It can be eaten as a snack, drank as tea, smoked like a cigarette or vaped. When cannabis is taken as food or a drink, it takes about 1 to 3 hours to feel the effect and immediately when smoked or vaporized. Cannabis is one of the most abused illegal drugs in the world and its effect on the body varies depending on the form it’s taken. Over 24 million people worldwide are reported to be regular users of cannabis.

Experiencing normal sleep is vital as it helps to improve appetite, strengthen immunity and control metabolism. There are two main types of sleep; non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement sleep. In rapid eye movement sleep, the eyes move very fast while this doesn’t happen in non-rapid eye movement sleep. Rapid eye movement sleep occurs 90 minutes after falling asleep and people tend to experience intense dreams. Furthermore, the brain is more active and does most of the memory processing and storing any acquired information during this time.

Cannabis increases the length of non-rapid

Non-rapid eye movement sleep occurs in three distinct phases; stage one goes on for about five to ten minutes where a person can easily wake up despite their eyes being closed. Stage two also known as light sleep, prepares the body to go into a deep sleep by enabling the body temperature to decrease and slowing down the heart rate. In stage three, the body is in deep sleep and it’s very hard to wake up. Research done by several healthcare providers in the world shows that as people get older, the duration of light sleep increases and that of deep sleep decreases.

Cannabis increases the length of non-rapid eye movement sleep which in the long term can result in sleep deprivation that can cause insomnia and other mental changes like depression. Also, it reduces the length of rapid eye movement sleep which is not healthy as it causes people to stop getting many intense dreams as they used to. This might be beneficial to individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder as it helps them not to experience frequent nightmares. However, long-term suppression of rapid eye movement sleep interferes with the brain balance and how it forms and stores memories leading to memory impairment.

Effects of cannabis on sleep

Moreover, high doses of cannabis have been linked to many cases of insomnia among users. This results to over-reliance on different sleeping medications and alcohol to help them sleep. However, cannabis has a positive effect on sleep where it helps treat disordered breathing syndrome that makes it hard to breathe when sleeping. This disorder makes people wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air and disrupting their sleep cycle.

It’s important to comprehend the effects of cannabis on sleep because most people tend to experience more positive than negative outcomes when they start using cannabis. Nonetheless, individuals should consider long-term consequences such as memory impairment, obesity, insomnia, and depression. Hence, if a person is experiencing sleeping difficulties, they should not rely on cannabis to help their sleeping difficulties. Instead, they should try mental performance therapy that insists on adopting good sleep habits.

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