Forget the protein shakes, ginseng powders, and 5 Hour Energy shots; there’s a new workout buddy in town, and you won’t find it at your local supplement shop.
As cannabis legalization continues to spread across the nation, more and more Americans are incorporating the once-controversial plant into their active lifestyles. A new study from the University of Colorado Boulder supports the claim, finding that some 80% of frequent cannabis users combine their marijuana consumption with exercise.
According to the Denver Post, the new study, titled “The New Runner’s High? Examining Relationships Between Cannabis Use and Exercise Behavior in States with Legalized Cannabis Research,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health this week. The CU Boulder team, led by professor Angela Bryan, surveyed 600 adult cannabis users in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Among the respondents, 492, or 82%, said that they regularly consumed cannabis within one hour before, or four hours after, they worked out.
“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,” Bryan, the report’s senior author, told the Post.
The CU study adds to a growing set of university and anecdotal research into the active lifestyle and exercise habits of cannabis users. It also comes just days after the release of a Michigan State University study suggesting that marijuana consumers experience obesity at lower rates than non-users.
Additionally, countless stories from amateur and professional football, basketball, and hockey players — as well as from skateboarders, ultrarunners, and more — have proselytized the benefits of cannabis as both a pre-workout supplement and post-activity recovery tool.
Since cannabis is known to reduce inflammation, decrease pain, and in some instances spur euphoria, it is no surprise that marijuana users are incorporating the plant into their exercise routines. That said, scientists have not spent much time investigating this combination — so far.
“There are a lot of interesting data points and hypotheses out there, but not a lot of them have been tested,” Bryan said.
Of the survey respondents who stated they used cannabis in conjunction with exercise, 70% reported increased enjoyment of exercise, 78% said it boosted recovery, and 52% said it heightened motivation.
There is still plenty of research to be done, and a number of legal barriers to be crossed, before THC capsules end up on the shelf at GNC. But as more and more research comes to light, it is becoming increasingly clear that the average pothead is probably closer to a marathon runner — or at least a weekend warrior — than the stereotypical Netflix binge-watcher.
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