Researchers Find People Who Use Cannabis Are More Motivated to Exercise

Millions of Americans who never use marijuana have worse couch lock than those who do.

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Turns out guys like Ricky Williams and the people who participate in the 420 Games might have been onto something this whole time.

A new survey of marijuana users has found that 81 percent of respondents use marijuana just before or after exercise. Many report that cannabis motivated them to work out, improved their recovery after exercise and helped them to enjoy exercise more. The researchers in the study wrote that motivation, recovery time and enjoyment are all significant. “Given that these are all recognized barriers to exercise,” they wrote, “it is possible that cannabis might actually serve as a benefit to exercise engagement.”

Related: Why Athletes Are Using Cannabis for Training and Recovery

Turning around the stereotype.

The survey findings fly in the face of the stereotype that the study calls “couch lock.” But there’s always been a contradiction in studies of marijuana users that perplexed researchers. This survey may have solved that riddle.

In an interview with Newsweek, study leader author Angela Bryan, a professor in the University of Colorado’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, said that the stereotype of pot users never meshed with research that found long-term cannabis users often have “lower BMI (body mass index), less risk for Type II diabetes and better insulin function.”

How could that be? The new survey, said Bryan, may have provided an answer, with users reporting that marijuana actually supports exercise with improved motivation, enjoyment and recovery. It also explains why former athletes such as Williams have advocated for allowing use of marijuana in professional sports leagues. Other former athletes have said the same, although most typically mention cannabis as a potential replacement for opioids in managing pain.

Researchers stopped short of recommending cannabis for exercise, saying that more research needs to be conducted before that conclusion could be reached.

Related: Is There Actually Any CBD in That CBD Oil You Bought?

Why this is important.

The University of Colorado researchers conducted the survey of 615 marijuana users to solve the contradiction mentioned above and to determine what, if any, help cannabis could have in promoting exercise.

That’s something that would benefit the United States. The study goes into a woefully long and detailed look at how Americans fail to exercise. Less than half of all Americans meet even the minimum weekly recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week — a little more than 20 minutes per day. Americans remain sedentary despite the well known fact that regular exercise helps prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss and some cancers.

Researchers in the University of Colorado study based their findings on a survey conducted through Facebook between January 2017 and July 2018. They surveyed adults 21 or older living in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, all states where adult marijuana use is legal.

Overall, they found cannabis users exercised, on average, 43 minutes more per week than non-users. Men were more likely to use cannabis before and after workouts than women.

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