First, narcolepsy is extreme innings of sleepiness that can strike at any time, especially with adolescents. One of the most common symptoms is the excessive daytime sleep, whereby the person suddenly falls asleep whether or not this person had sufficient sleep. Other symptoms include hallucinations, sleep paralysis and sudden bouts of muscle weakness.
Researchers found that most adolescents having narcolepsy symptoms, their urine tested positive for marijuana. To diagnose narcolepsy, patients undergo the test of ‘rapid eye movement’ (REM); those with narcolepsy enter REM within minutes of falling asleep, but people without it take around 100 minutes to enter REM.
However, the results of tests can be influenced by the patients having used a combination of certain medications or illicit drugs. The adolescents whose urine tested positive for marijuana, their results come consistent with narcolepsy; this finding indicates that marijuana can be linked to narcolepsy symptoms in some teens.
That is why drug screening should be part of narcolepsy clinical evaluation; a urine drug screen is an important step before confirming the diagnosis. Unfortunately, marijuana use is common, and reports suggest that many adults used it at some point in their lives, thus it becomes increasingly important to understand its impact.
Brain scans of people with marijuana history show differences compared to those without; it is found that nucleus accumbens- an area in the brain responsible for reward processing- has an altered structure and shape in the marijuana smokers.
Furthermore, the amygdala- a region in the brain involved in emotions- displays abnormalities in marijuana users. In conclusion as an important finding, researcher discovered that people who started using cannabis early are more likely to have sleep problems later on; this means there is a strong relationship with age of first use.