A new study suggests that weed may encourage users to exercise. This finding disproves the common belief that cannabis consumption impedes physical activity.
Many people believe that increased use of weed fuels a sedentary lifestyle and could worsen the obesity epidemic. But the study disagrees.
According to the study, eight out of 10 cannabis users in states where the drug is legal admit that they consume weed right before or after they work out. Most users say that using cannabis motivates them to exercise more and that the drug improves their recovery from the strenuous activities they do.
This study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, is among the first to look into the complicated relationship between marijuana use and physical activity. It was published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.
The researchers surveyed 600 adult cannabis users in Colorado, California, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington. Among the questions they asked the users is whether they used weed within an hour before exercise or four hours after exercise. The researchers said they were surprised that 82 percent said yes.
Among those who used cannabis with exercise, most said they were more likely to use the drug after a workout than before. Sixty-seven percent, however, said that they did both.
Also, among those who co-used cannabis and exercise, 70 percent said that it increased their enjoyment of the activity, while 78 percent said that it boosted their recovery, and 52 percent said that it heightened their motivation.
Additionally, those who co-used weed and exercise also got about 43 minutes more workout per week compared to those who didn’t.
Senior author Angela Bryan, a professor at the CU Boulder Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute for Cognitive Science, noted that there is a stereotype that using weed leads to people getting lazy and couch-locked and results to them not wanting to be physically active. However, their research data suggest that this is not the case.
She stressed, though, that she is not recommending that people use weed as an adjunct to exercise. According to her, the evidence isn’t there yet. She also pointed out that she is not convinced it is harmful.
The authors also noted that the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibits the use of weed in athletic competitions due to its potential to improve one’s performance.
There is anecdotal evidence that ultrarunners sometimes use cannabis to fight boredom and relieve nausea during long runs. There are also epidemiological studies that show that marijuana users tend to be leaner, have healthier levels of blood sugar, and less prone to diabetes.
The authors of the study also stated that their survey has limitations as they only looked at people who use weed regularly and that they focused only on states where cannabis has already been legalized. The good news is that more research is already in the pipeline at CU Boulder that would compare the activity levels of older cannabis-using adults versus older adults who are non-cannabis users.