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Effect of illicit recreational drugs upon sleep: Cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana (Schierenbecka et al

Effect of illicit recreational drugs upon sleep: Cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana (Schierenbecka et al

  1. ThirdEyeFloond
    Sleep Medicine Reviews 2008 Feb 28. [Epub ahead of print]

    Thomas Schierenbecka, Dieter Riemanna, Mathias Bergera,
    Magdolna Hornyak

    Summary The illicit recreational drugs cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana have
    pronounced effects upon sleep. Administration of cocaine increases wakefulness and
    suppresses REM sleep. Acute cocaine withdrawal is often associated with sleep
    disturbances and unpleasant dreams. Studies have revealed that polysomnographically
    assessed sleep parameters deteriorate even further during sustained
    abstinence, although patients report that sleep quality remains unchanged or
    improves. This deterioration of objective sleep measures is associated with a
    worsening in sleep-related cognitive performance. Like cocaine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine
    (MDMA; ‘‘ecstasy’’) is a substance with arousing properties.
    Heavy MDMA consumption is often associated with persistent sleep disturbances.
    Polysomnography (PSG) studies have demonstrated altered sleep architecture in
    abstinent heavy MDMA users. Smoked marijuana and oral D-9-tetrahydrocannabinol
    (THC) reduce REM sleep. Moreover, acute administration of cannabis appears to
    facilitate falling asleep and to increase Stage 4 sleep. Difficulty sleeping and strange
    dreams are among the most consistently reported symptoms of acute and subacute
    cannabis withdrawal. Longer sleep onset latency, reduced slow wave sleep and a
    REM rebound can be observed. Prospective studies are needed in order to verify
    whether sleep disturbances during cocaine and cannabis withdrawal predict
    treatment outcome.