Study: Marijuana users exercise more, report improved recovery

Things that typically go with marijuana: snacks, cartoons and being lazy. But what about exercise?

According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, more than 80 percent of participants endorsed the use of marijuana before or after exercising, saying that the drug helped motivate them to work out and improved their overall exercise and recovery.

Researchers advertised an online survey on Facebook targeting individuals over the age of 21 in states where recreational cannabis use has been legalized, specifically California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The study noted that participants who used cannabis with exercise were younger and more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who did not use cannabis with exercise.

Interestingly, people who used cannabis while working out reported 159.7 minutes per week of aerobic exercise on average while those who did not use the drug reported 103.5 minutes.

The research says that while public acceptance of marijuana is growing, there is a "relative lack of literature exploring the public health implications of cannabis consumption."

The study went on to say the existing research on the relationship between cannabis and health emphasizes potential negative and harmful effects associated with use, such as psychosis, impaired driving, and sleep disturbances.

While there is a common stereotype linking marijuana and food intake, research actually shows that there are lower rates of obesity in cannabis users rather than those who do not use the drug.

"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 Angela Bryan, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute for Cognitive Science.

While the data provides evidence that marijuana may be beneficial when it comes to exercise, Bryan says that this study in no way encourages cannabis use before or after working out.

The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between cannabis use and its influences on exercise. The findings suggested that use of the drug directly related to a positive experience with exercise overall.