Polysomnogram changes in marijuana users who report sleep disturbances during prior abstinence

Sleep Med. 2010 Oct;11(9):882-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2010.02.013. Epub 2010 Aug 3.


Background: Abrupt discontinuation of heavy marijuana (MJ) use is associated with self-reports of sleep difficulty. Disturbed sleep is clinically important because MJ users experiencing sleep problems may relapse to MJ use to improve their sleep quality. Few studies have used polysomnography (PSG) to characterize changes in sleep architecture during abrupt abstinence from heavy MJ use.

Methods: We recorded PSG measures on nights 1, 2, 7, 8, and 13 after abrupt MJ discontinuation in 18 heavy MJ users residing in an inpatient unit.

Results: Across abstinence, Total Sleep Time (TST), Sleep Efficiency (SEff), and amount of REM sleep declined, while Wake after Sleep Onset (WASO) and Periodic Limb Movements (PLM) increased. Furthermore, quantity (joints/week) and duration (years) of MJ use were positively associated with more PLMs.

Conclusion: The treatment of sleep disturbance is a potential target for the management of cannabis use disorders since poor sleep could contribute to treatment failure in heavy MJ users.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Affect / physiology
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Sleep, REM / drug effects
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult