Marijuana users work out even more than their nonsmoking counterparts, study suggests

Marijuana users work out even more than their nonsmoking counterparts, study suggests
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  • Marijuana users aren't lazier than their peers, and may exercise more, new research suggests.
  • Researchers didn't differentiate between CBD and THC, only one of which has psychoactive effects.

Smoking may not get in the way of working out, according to new research.

Regular cannabis users don't exercise any less than their nonsmoking counterparts, and in fact tend to be more active, per a study published online March 9 in Preventative Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Miami and the Brookings Institute looked at data from 20,745 Americans, from their teenage years through their 20s and 30s, between 1994 through 2018.
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They compared self-reported data from surveys on how often participants used marijuana in the past month with how often they exercised in the past week. The research found no significant link between exercising less and using marijuana more - if anything, cannabis consumers were more likely to have worked out.

"In general, marijuana users in these surveys are not sedentary and avoiding exercise," Michael French, lead author of the study and professor of health management and policy at the University of Miami, said in a press release.

Marijuana use includes CBD, which doesn't get you high and is becoming popular with athletes

This study is one of the first to explore the relationship between exercise and cannabis use. More research is needed, since it didn't account for the dose and type of marijuana consumed or the intensity of the exercise. Some of the self-reported users may have been consuming just CBD, a component of cannabis often used by athletes for relaxation, recovery, and pain management. CBD has anti-inflammatory effects, but not the psychoactive "high" of THC, the more widely known and regulated chemical in marijuana.
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Previous research did find that marijuana seemed to be linked to lower rates of exercise, although that study looked at an older group of people, and was conducted prior to widespread legalization of the drug in the US.

Studies of this kind could be particularly important as more states opt to legalize recreational marijuana use (including THC) for adults, most recently in New York. Such research could help "ease some of the trepidation that policymakers might have about going forward with marijuana policy changes" French said in the press release.
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