Potheads are chronically active, study finds

Published on May 21, 2021 by David Wylie

Put another nail in the coffin of the lazy stoner stereotype.

New research published in the Harm Reduction Journal concluded frequent cannabis users are more active overall than those who don’t partake.

“Our findings do not support the mainstream perception of cannabis users as living sedentary lifestyles,” say the study authors.

• RELATED: Senior stoners are slimmer, fitter

Researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of California used responses to the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In it, more than 2,000 participants had their activity levels measured by accelerometers, devices that gauge both the length and intensity of physical activity. The study also asked participants to divulge their cannabis use.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to use objective accelerometry measures to assess the relationship between cannabis use and physical behavior in a population-based sample of US adults,” say the authors.

Similar studies have relied on people filling out questionnaires; however, this analysis didn’t rely on participants self-reporting their exercise.

“Frequent cannabis users engaged in more physical activity than non-current users. Light cannabis users had greater odds of self-reporting physical activity compared to non-current users,” says the study.

“Light and moderate cannabis users did not differ from non-current users in minutes spent in (physical activity) per day.”

Associations between cannabis use and exercise were stronger among those over 40 years old and those who didn’t smoke cigarettes.

While frequent cannabis users spent more time doing physical activity, they spent similar amounts of time in “sedentary behaviour” as those who don’t partake.

“As cannabis’s legal status and risk perception changes, cannabis users have sought to challenge this stereotype,” say authors.

The annual 420 Games is a good example of stereotype-defying events. It features a 4.2-mile run and other athletic competitions.