82% of Cannabis Users Partake When Exercising
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Most cannabis users who consume the drug in conjunction with exercise believe it increases their enjoyment and recovery, according to a new survey.
The researchers behind the study believe these results show how exercise may play a beneficial role in the health of cannabis users.
While the claim has yet to be proven clinically in human subjects, previous research in mice has linked the blissful “runner’s high” with a release of the body’s own endocannabinoids. One study from the University of Heidelberg medical school in Germany found that exercising endocannabinoid-fuelled mice were less sensitive to pain, less anxious, and more tranquil after running.
Conducted by the University of Colorado, the recent survey published in Frontiers gathered data from 605 respondents living in US states with legal access to cannabis. The vast majority (81.7 percent) endorsed using cannabis concurrently with exercise.
These pro-cannabis exercisers were likely to be younger (average age was 36.3), male, and of lower BMI than those who did not use cannabis with exercise.
The “Cannabis and Health” anonymous survey was advertised on Facebook and targeted individuals aged 21 and older living in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington who “liked” pages related to cannabis use.
Most participants (68.9 percent) endorsed using cannabis within one hour before exercise, but a greater majority (82 percent) advocated for consuming the drug within four hours after exertion, indicating that most use the drug as a form of recovery.
Cannabis’ effects on exercise performance are still unclear, in part, due to the research limitations imposed by its status as a Schedule 1 drug. But animal studies have shown a link between cannabinoid receptors and exercise motivation. In one study, mice lacking CB1 receptors showed an 80 percent deficit in the maximum effort they were prepared to make to gain access to an exercise wheel.
But when it comes to humans, anecdotal reports such as the recent survey hint that, for some users, the drug may be a stimulus, too. While relegated to rumor and surveys, these claims are still taken seriously by many sporting organizations. The World Anti-Doping Agency even includes cannabis as a prohibited substance.