According to research published in Frontiers in Public Health, cannabis use actually increases enjoyment and recovery from exercise. “This study represents an important step in clarifying cannabis use with exercise among adult users in states with legal cannabis markets,” the researchers state.
The researchers conducted a survey to look at attitudes and behaviors of adults who use cannabis. The results indicated that 81.7% of the 494 respondents “endorsed using cannabis concurrently with exercise,” and those who used cannabis before or after exercise actually worked out longer than those who didn’t.
“In addition, the majority of participants who endorsed using cannabis shortly before/after exercise reported that doing so enhances their enjoyment of and recovery from exercise, and approximately half reported that it increases their motivation to exercise,” the researchers note.
The researchers reported getting 159.7 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, compared to non-co-users who reported an average of 103.5 minutes/week.
Cannabis use with exercise, according to the study, is associated with an average of 43.4 more minutes of weekly aerobic exercise. According to the authors:
“Consistent with this finding, 40.1% of cannabis users who used with exercise met or exceeded American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations of a minimum of 150 min of aerobic exercise per week, compared to only 28.7% of cannabis users who did not endorse using with exercise.
This discrepancy was not limited to aerobic activity. Cannabis users who used cannabis during exercise also reported an average of 37.4 more minutes of anaerobic exercise than cannabis users who did not use during exercise.
After controlling for the demographic variables that were different between groups (age and gender), cannabis use during exercise was still associated with 30.2 more minutes of reported anaerobic exercise …
These findings supported our hypothesis that co-users may be co-using because they believe it contributes to recovery after exercise. The findings also suggest that co-use may facilitate enjoyment of exercise, and (for a subset of co-users) motivation to exercise.
Given that these are recognized barriers to exercise, it is possible that cannabis might actually serve as a benefit to exercise engagement. Finally, the attitudes toward co-use and performance in our participants seem to concur with studies suggesting that cannabis use does not enhance exercise performance for most users …
Given both the spreading legalization of cannabis and the low rates of physical activity in the U.S., it behooves public health officials to understand the potential effects — both beneficial and harmful — of cannabis use on exercise behaviors.”