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Cannabis Users Are Just As Physically Active As Non-Users, Study Finds

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

March 7, 2024 12:03 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Cannabis Users Are Just As Physically Active As Non-Users, Study Finds

A new study published in the Preventative Medicine Reports journal found that people who use marijuana on a regular basis take more walks than non-users or cigarette users. Not only that, but they do strength training and regular exercising just as much as people who don’t consume cannabis, contradicting a common stigma that stoners are lazy or unmotivated.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas and Ohio University. Data was pulled from a pool of more than 2,500 adults who took place in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health between 2016-2018.

“Results indicated that participants’ marijuana and e-cigarette use predicted their walking for exercise, with marijuana users walking the highest number of times per week, followed by non-users, e-cigarette users, and dual users. However, this effect only approached significance after controlling for covariates. There were no significant differences in strength training or general exercise between groups,” researchers wrote.

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They also acknowledged that other factors could be influencing these results, stating: “This trend may be due to some adults using cannabis to increase their motivation for and enjoyment of exercise…or the concentration of marijuana users in urban areas. People who live in large American cities – which tend to be in states where medical and recreational marijuana are legal – also tend to use public transport and walk more.”

This is one of the first studies of its kind, so more research is needed to fully conclude these findings. However, researchers spoke positively about the results, writing that “perhaps the association between marijuana use and exercise may not be a primary concern compared to the drug’s relation to other aspects of health for adults.”

Other studies have noted the relationship between cannabis and exercise, finding that cannabis can increase one’s overall enjoyment of physical activity and lead to a more euphoric “runner’s high.” Another study done by the University of Colorado found that marijuana motivates people to work out more intensely for longer periods of time.

As research on this topic continues to grow and expand, cannabis may continue to become more accepted in athletic settings. We’re already seeing the beginnings of this as leagues like the National Basketball Association (NBA) remove cannabis from the list of banned substances for players. Sports teams and players have also begun partnering with cannabis-based companies, such as Sean O’Malley’s collaboration with Dr. Dabber and two New York basketball teams joining forces with CBD drink company Mynd.

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