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28-02-2013 | Psychology | Article

Sleep quality linked to cannabis lapses


Free abstract

medwireNews: Poor sleep quality is associated with an increased risk for early lapses in cannabis-dependent individuals who are attempting to quit the drug, researchers report.

Kimberly Babson (Stanford University, California, USA) and team found that poor pre-quit attempt sleep quality was a significant risk factor for lapses within 2 days of attempting to quit cannabis.

"Clinically, these results emphasize a need to assess pre-quit levels of sleep quality among individuals initiating a cannabis quit attempt," comment the researchers in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

"This information is important as early lapses are predictive of future lapses, and ultimately, full relapse," they add.

The researchers used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index to investigate pre-quit sleep quality in 55 cannabis-dependent military veterans who were making a self-guided quit attempt.

Overall, just 32.73% (n=18) of the participants maintained abstinence for the entire first week of their quit attempt.

After accounting for factors such as baseline substance use (tobacco, alcohol, cannabis), motivation to quit, symptoms of depression, and anxiety sensitivity, the team found that pre-quit sleep quality was significantly predictive of cannabis use on the first day of the quit attempt. Indeed, each 1-point decrease in pre-quit sleep quality was associated with a 2.77-fold increased risk for lapse on the first day.

Each 1-point decrease pre-quit sleep quality was also associated with a 2.57-fold increased risk for lapse by the end of day 2 of the quit attempt.

However, the risk for lapse associated with poor sleep quality did not reach significance on days 3 and 4 of the quit attempt.

Babson and team conclude: "This study is the first to demonstrate that poor sleep quality prior to a quit attempt is a risk factor for early lapse to cannabis."

They add: "The present results, in combination with previous work, highlight the importance of integrating sleep and substance abuse research.

"This multidisciplinary approach may ultimately contribute to more effective, integrated interventions that target sleep quality within the context of cannabis cessation."

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Mark Cowen, Senior medwireNews Reporter

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