A new study published in Journal of American College Health examined college students using marijuana as a sleep aid.
The authors found that using marijuana to sleep better was related to worse sleep efficiency, as well as increased marijuana use and problematic use.
In addition, daytime dysfunction related to sleepiness was associated with elevated levels of marijuana use and problematic use.
The seeming paradox that cannabis use causes greater sleep problems when used to help sleep better should be addressed in substance use prevention programs and campaigns aimed at young adults and youth.
One method this can be achieved is to look at how the InShape Prevention Plus Wellness program for young adults and the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program for youth integrates sleep and prevention messages.
Both of these multiple health behavior evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs promote getting 8 or more hours of sleep a night while avoiding substance use with a two-step messaging strategy.
First, by communicating to youth the benefits of getting plenty of deep, sound sleep, including describing future images of themselves sleeping more. For example, getting eight or more hours of sleep helps you to be a more rested, energetic and friendly person, as well as perform better in school, physical activity and relationships.
Second, by linking how research shows that substance use such as marijuana actually interferes with getting sound sleep by worsening sleep efficiency and increasing daytime dysfunction due to sleepiness.
Read the research abstract: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07448481.2019.1656634
Learn more about multi-health behavior Prevention Plus Wellness programs: http://preventionpluswellness.com