Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK. It is often associated with giving users a feeling of relaxation, indeed that’s why many would say that they use it. What they may not be aware of however are the long term effects that taking it can have on their health. Anxiety, suspicion, panic and paranoia are risks that have been well documented however researchers in the US have discovered that smoking cannabis before the age of 15 can lead to sleeping difficulties in later life.
A study was carried out on respondents aged between 20-59 to the 2007-08 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Of those taking part 1181 people reported a history of drug usage.
The scientists assessed the results by defining a “cannabis user” as someone with any history of using the drug. Sleep-related problems were considered to be severe if they occurred at least 15 days per month. Other factors looked at included when the user first took the drug and the regularity of use in the last month.
In stark contrast to previous studies, it was found that marijuana users were actually more likely to have difficulty sleeping, maintaining sleep, experiencing non-restorative sleep, and feeling sleepy in the daytime. Those who started use of the drug before the age of 15 doubled their risk of subsequent insomnia symptoms in later life, even if they had reduced or stopped usage
Many would say that they started to use marijuana to help with sleeping difficulties however this study has found that in actual fact it could have the reverse effect.
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