A large majority of marijuana users say they use the drug before or after exercising and those who partake get more exercise than those who don’t, according to new research from the University of Colorado.
Researchers at CU Boulder surveyed 600 adult marijuana users in five states where the drug has been legalized for recreational use — California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — and asked them if they have used the drug within an hour before exercising or four hours afterward.
Eighty-two percent of respondents said they had. A follow-up question found they were more likely to partake after exercise but 67 percent said they used the drug both before and after exercising.
Among those who used cannabis before or after workouts, 78 percent said the drug helped with their recovery from exercise, 70 percent said it increased their enjoyment and 52 percent said it helped keep them motivated to work out, the study’s authors said. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said marijuana boosted their performance.
Additionally, people who said they combined pot and exercise worked out for 43 more minutes per week than those who didn’t.
The researchers said there are lots of anecdotal reports of athletes using marijuana to aid recovery and fight pain but their study is an important first step in separating fact from fiction when it comes to pot and physical activity.
“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,” said senior author and CU professor Angela Bryan.
Similarly, recent research from Michigan State University found marijuana users are less likely to gain weight despite the so-called “munchies.”
The authors of the CU study, which publishes Tuesday in the journal 'Frontiers in Public Health,' admit their research has some limitations; it looked only at the behaviors of regular marijuana users in states where the drug is currently legal and the study did not compare different types of cannabis consumption like smoking versus edibles.
Researchers at CU Boulder said they’re conducting another study on cannabis use and physical activity, with preliminary results showing older adults who use marijuana tend to get more exercise than those who don’t.