Study: Smoking cannabis motivates people to workout

It's usually associated with feelings of laziness, but it seems that smoking cannabis actually helps many people to get active.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have revealed that many cannabis users say that the drug motivates them to workout, and makes exercise more enjoyable.

Professor Angela Bryan, a senior author of the study, said: “There is a stereotype that cannabis use leads people to be lazy and couch-locked and not physically active, but these data suggest that this is not the case.

“The evidence is not there yet. But I am also not convinced it is harmful.”

In the study, the researchers surveyed 600 cannabis users in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington about whether they had used cannabis within one hour before, or four hours after exercise.

Surprisingly, 82 per cent said yes.

The survey also revealed that 70 per cent said cannabis increased their enjoyment of exercise, 78% said it boosted recovery, and 52 per cent said it increased their motivation to workout.

However, only 38 per cent said cannabis boosted their performance.

While the reason for these findings remains unclear, the researchers suggest that cannabis may make exercise more enjoyable by reducing pain.

Dr Arielle Gillman, who also worked on the study, said: “There is evidence to suggest that certain cannabinoids dampen pain perception, and we also know that the receptors cannabis binds to in the brain are very similar to the receptors that are activated naturally during the runners high.

“Theoretically, you could imagine that if it could dampen pain and induce an artificial ‘runner’s high,’ it could keep people motivated.”

While the results are preliminary, the researchers suggest that cannabis could encourage more older adults to get active.

Professor Bryan added: "As we get older, exercise starts to hurt, and that is one reason older adults don’t exercise as much. If cannabis could ease pain and inflammation, helping older adults to be more active that could be another benefit.”

Related Topics

Workout Exercise