Marijuana Causes Narcolepsy Symptoms

Marijuana Causes Narcolepsy

In a recent retrospective study researchers find that using marijuana causes narcolepsy symptoms in adolescents.

Marijuana is currently on a legalization upswing around the world. This have intensified research efforts  investigating how marijuana affect health. Earlier research have found that the drug causes changes in the brains’ of users and a more sluggish response from the brain’s reward system. Now new research from Nationwide Children’s hospital find that using marijuana causes narcolepsy symptoms in adolescents.

Marijuana Causes Narcolepsy Symptoms

The research was published in Journal of clinical sleep Medicine.

When people suspect they might have sleep disorders they seek medical assistance. Standard procedure is to perform a test, standardized multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). The test monitors the patient during 4-5 scheduled daytime naps, measuring how fast patients fall asleep and that they have normal REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. From the results doctors are able to to diagnose narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Some drugs, both prescription and illegal, can influence this test meaning it’s important for doctors to know what drugs patients are taking.

In this retrospective study 383 children/adolescents seeking help for excessive daytime sleepiness underwent MSLT testing and in addition provided a urine sample to find drug use. Analyzing the urine samples revealed that 43% of adolescents, no urine test positive for THC was in a child under the age of 13, with positive drug screens for THC had sleep test results indicating narcolepsy.

“We believe that many of the children who had positive urine drug testing for marijuana and testing consistent with narcolepsy had improvement of the symptom of excessive day time sleepiness after enrollment in a community drug program, because most didn’t come back for repeat diagnostic studies once they were drug-free,” said Dr. Splaingard senior author on the study.

That using marijuana in at a young age causes sleepiness to such a degree you have to seek medical assistance is concerning. Though when adolescents use marijuana narcolepsy is probably the least serious health issues they’ll experience.

Image credit: Torben Hansen via flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

  • jonward

    Uh… okay, so… fucking legalize it and only sell it to people aged 21+. That’s a fairly effective method of keeping it out of the hands of adolescents. I can tell you that when I was in high school, it was far more difficult for me, as a teen, to get alcohol than it was for me to get weed. Drug dealers don’t ask for ID.