Behavioral and subjective effects of marijuana following partial sleep deprivation

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2003 Jun 5;70(3):233-40. doi: 10.1016/s0376-8716(03)00008-5.


This study tested whether performance would be more impaired when marijuana use followed partial sleep deprivation (PSD) than when marijuana use followed a typical night of sleep. Seven recreational marijuana users (mean 15 of last 30 days) completed six test sessions in a double-blind randomized within-subject design. Each session began with an overnight stay in a sleep laboratory. Bed and wake times were calculated from mean data on individual sleep diaries. Time-in-bed was either regular (mean=8.2 h) or shortened (first 65% of regular time-in-bed deprived). At 3 and 5 h after waking, daytime sleepiness was measured with self-report questionnaires and a sleep latency test. Approximately 6.5 h after waking, subjects smoked a marijuana cigarette (0.003, 2, or 3.5% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]). Test batteries were completed 2, 62, and 122 min after smoking ended. Sleepiness was significantly greater following PSD than after regular sleep. Following regular sleep, heart rate increases with active THC doses were comparable, but heart rate with 2% THC was significantly less elevated following PSD. Ratings of "impaired" and "stoned" increased with both THC doses after regular sleep and were further increased with 3.5% THC after PSD. High-potency marijuana increased body sway similarly across sleep conditions. There were no significant effects of marijuana or PSD, alone or in combination, on brake latency. Thus, while PSD increased the dose-dependence of THC effects on heart rate and subjective impairment, it did not enhance the effects of marijuana on standing balance and brake latency.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Dronabinol / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Postural Balance / drug effects*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors


  • Dronabinol