A recent study by Inserm, the University and the CHU of Bordeaux has made the fat cabbage of the non-specialized press which hastened to attribute the sleep problems of young people in University to the consumption of cannabis.
If it is attested that cannabis has repercussions on sleep, does it cause insomnia? What are the real effects of cannabis on sleep? Should I favor an indica or a sativa?
So many questions and, as often with cannabis, complex but factual answers.
Cannabis and insomnia: a French study
A team of researchers from Inserm (the institute that links juvenile cannabis use and unemployment) and the University and University Hospital of Bordeaux wanted to know if there was a correlation between cannabis use among young people and sleep.
14,787 student volunteers, members of the i-Share cohort, answered an online questionnaire to determine the frequency of their cannabis consumption and the quality of their sleep over the past three months.
In the panel composed of 75.5% women and an average age of 20.4 years, 3,030 (20.5%) students reported monthly cannabis use, 645 (4.4%) weekly use and 219 (1.5%) daily consumption.
Sleep disorders have been categorized into 4 stages: lack of sleep, poor quality of sleep, drowsiness or insomnia.
In the whole sample, 22.7% suffered from insomnia, 18.3% from drowsiness, 22.4% from poor quality of sleep, 52.5% from lack of sleep.
After adjustment, the likelihood of insomnia was significantly higher by 45% in cannabis users compared to non-users. Estimates increased steadily with frequency of use, reaching a 2-fold higher likelihood of insomnia in daily users than in occasional or infrequent users. The results were similar for the other sleep disorders.
The study concludes: “These results support the existence of an association between cannabis use and sleep disturbances, particularly insomnia, in college students. Although the direction and causation cannot be established in this context, these results suggest cautioning students and healthcare professionals about the association between cannabis use and sleep disturbances. »
The study does not conclude that cannabis causes insomnia but simply that people who use cannabis suffer from insomnia. Perhaps this is the reason for their consumption?
The study does not say, as it does not know which products are consumed, if they are smoked, vaporized or ingested, mixed with tobacco or not, what dosage, which terpenes accompany the cannabinoids, etc…
Effects of cannabis on sleep
So what are the effects of cannabis on sleep? Can we sleep better while consuming?
One thing is certain, we can in any case fall asleep better. Some varieties are more effective on sleep than others. The preconception is that indica cannabis strains are more soporific.
Cannabinol (CBN) present in greater quantities in slightly aged weed would also have virtues on sleep. Certain terpenes could also play on this register, making the determination of causality even more complex.
In terms of studies, cannabis does have an impact on sleep. In particular, some studies have shown that heavy cannabis use decreases sleep onset latency and spurious awakenings after sleep onset, increases slow wave sleep and decreases rapid eye movement sleep, basically improves sleep, while weaning has the opposite effect.
However, chronic cannabis users may develop a tolerance to the effects of cannabis, resulting in increased sleep onset latency and decreased slow-wave sleep that is essential for brain restoration, retrieval, and memory.
More recently, observational studies have revealed an increased frequency of sleep disturbances with increasing cannabis use among adolescents and young adults.