Lack of sleep and behaviors related to cannabis use
We know that cannabis use affects sleep. Although it has been used for centuries to improve sleep. There is more recent evidence that it can also interfere with sleep depending on the amount used. But why and how to estimate the genetic relationship of cannabis use with sleep deficits?
Estimate the genetic relationship of cannabis use with sleep deprivation and a chronotype of regularity
A study published in the journal “Sleep”Sheds light on this link by showing that certain common genes predispose people to both cannabis use and sleep problems.
Researchers at the Institute of Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, studied the genetic relationship between cannabis use and sleep disorders, insomnia and getting less than seven hours of sleep, in two stages. First, they measured the genetic correlations between sleep deprivation and cannabis use behaviors.
Next, they estimated whether a risk of sleep deprivation could predict cannabis use. They used genetic databases to measure what is known as a polygenic risk score (PSR). In order to accurately predict whether an individual was having sleep problems.
A PRS estimates the extent to which a number of genes work together to affect a particular trait. Using statistics to compare the PRS for sleep and cannabis use, the authors showed that the two traits were genetically related. They were also able to use PRSs to estimate the age at which cannabis use began and the extent of cannabis use over an individual's lifetime.
Significant genetic correlation
Summary statistics were from existing genome-wide association studies of European ancestry. All focused on sleep duration, insomnia, chronotype, lifelong cannabis use, and cannabis use disorders. The target data consisted of self-reported data on sleep (duration of sleep, feeling of tiredness and naps) and cannabis use behaviors (use over the life course, number of uses over time, use over the course of time). Last 180 days, age of first use and symptoms of CUD during life).
The polygenic risk score for insomnia predicted an earlier age of first cannabis use and an increase in the number of symptoms of use over the life course. In conclusion, cannabis use is genetically associated with both sleep deficits and a chronotype of regularity (manifestation of circadian rhythm). Which suggests that there are genes that predispose individuals to both cannabis use and sleep deficits.
While this study provides insight into the link between cannabis use and sleep, there is still a long way to go to understand why the effects of cannabis and individual cannabinoids (eg, THC and CBD) on sleep depend on the dose.
Low dose THC and high dose CBD appear to increase slow sleep and sleep duration. Whereas high dose THC and low dose CBD seem to interfere with sleep. In addition, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that cannabis can improve sleep disorders associated with multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, IBD and chronic neuropathic pain.
Other studies should also expand the study population because this study was limited to a genetic analysis of mainly white people of European origin.