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Study Finds No Link Between Cannabis Use And Sedentary Behavior

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The false ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype is as old as cannabis prohibition itself. For decades cannabis consumers were portrayed in mainstream media, film, and on television as lazy burnouts who lacked drive and motivation.

Of course, that stereotype could not be farther from the truth. Many professional athletes consume cannabis and they are some of the fittest humans to ever exist. Titans of the business world consume cannabis, and many other types of successful members of society also consume cannabis. The use of cannabis does not automatically equate to a reduction in motivation.

A team of researchers in Canada recently conducted a study examining cannabis use and the prevalence of sedentary behavior. The study found no link between the two. Below is more information about the study and its results via a news release from NORML:

Toronto, Canada: Young and middle-aged adults who consume cannabis are no less likely than non-users to engage in daily physical activity, according to data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Canadian researchers assessed physical activity in a cohort of 4,666 US adults ages 18 to 59 years old. Subjects wore a portable accelerometer that tracked participant’s daily activity levels. Researchers collected data for a minimum of four days.

Investigators reported that cannabis consumers were slightly more likely than non-users to engage in light physical activity. Researchers reported no differences between the two groups with respect to median daily sedentary time, time spent engaging in vigorous physical exercise, or sleeping.

“Recent cannabis use in young to midlife adults was not associated with accelerometer-measured sedentary or MVPA [moderate-to-vigorous physical activity] time, but it was associated with a marginal increase in LPA [light physical activity] time,” the study’s authors concluded. “Our findings provide evidence against existing concerns that cannabis use independently promotes sedentary behavior and decreases physical activity.

“This study provides useful insight into the association between cannabis use and physical activity, which may help inform clinicians and prescribers with patient counseling, patients and their lifestyle choices, as well as policy makers around public health resource allocations.”

The findings are consistent with those of several prior studies “challenging the stereotype that marijuana … users are less active than their non-using counterparts.” Among those age 60 and older, marijuana use has been associated with increased exercise frequency.

Full text of the study, “Recent cannabis use and accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary behavior among young-to-midlife adults: An analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 to 2014,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.