The debunking of a couple stoner stereotypes

Wikimedia Commons/Basile Morin


A new study by University of Colorado researchers has debunked the stereotype of the lazy stoner.

The researchers surveyed more than 600 marijuana users in states where pot is legal. They found that nearly five out of six participants reported using marijuana one hour before or up to four hours after exercising.

Those who did use pot during that timeframe worked out longer than users who didn’t pair marijuana use and exercise. Those who got stoned before or after exercise worked out an average of 43 minutes longer for aerobic exercise and 30 minutes longer for non-aerobic exercise.

The researchers said that getting high seems to help people overcome some of the common barriers to exercise — including lack of motivation, difficult recovery after working out and low enjoyment of the activity.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said they agreed or strongly agreed that “cannabis increases enjoyment of exercise,” 78 percent said that it “enhances recovery from exercise,” and just over 50 percent said that it “increases motivation.”

The researchers said that their study, which appeared in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, was the first of its kind. “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,” they wrote.

•  •  •  •

Heh, squared and cubed.

The stereotype of the overweight stoner with 24/7 munchies who’s too blissed out to exercise also took a hit in a recent study. A Michigan State University study that appeared in the International Journal of Epidemiology concluded that marijuana users are actually less likely to be obese than non-users.

The study analyzed data that had been gathered by the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The national survey involves tens of thousands of interviews, so the Michigan State researchers were able to analyze the responses from more than 33,000 people.

Interviewees who took the survey in 2001-2002 were asked if they had ever used marijuana and if so how recently and frequently. Those who returned for a follow-up interview in 2004-2005 were asked if they had used pot since the first interview.

Between the two interviews, researchers tracked the body mass index of the respondents. They found “an attenuated BMI gain for cannabis-use subgroups when compared with never-users.”

Or more plainly, those who used pot gained weight, but at a reduced rate compared with those who didn’t.

The researchers suggested that the effect might be because of how chronic marijuana use affects the presence of a specific cannabis receptor (CB1R) in the body.

They also suggested the relationship between marijuana use and BMI had to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of a second cannabinoid receptor (CB2R). “The association of inflammation and obesity is widely established in pre-clinical and clinical studies,” the Michigan State researchers wrote.

•  •  •  •

A study published in the journal Cannabis found that in certain circumstances marijuana use can lead to positive “intimate” experiences.

The researchers wanted to know if marijuana use, either with a partner or independently, leads to increased short-term intimacy. So they asked 183 married or cohabiting couples who used pot regularly to track their use for 30 days. Participants filed a report via their smartphones every time they started using marijuana and again when they finished.

Participants were also asked to report each morning whether they had had “an interaction or meaningful conversation with [their] partner that involved intimacy, love, caring or support” the day before, and if so, the time. This allowed researchers to determine if there was a correlation between when participants used marijuana and when they experienced intimacy.

(The study’s authors did not explicitly equate the term “intimacy” with sex, but it was widely taken to be.)

The study found that “simultaneous marijuana use (male and female partners reported use at the same hour) increased the likelihood of an intimate experience for both men and women.”

It also found that if one partner used pot in the presence of the other, the couple was more likely to have an intimate experience within two hours than if neither got high.

“However, solo use when the partner was not present neither increased nor decreased the likelihood of experiencing intimacy relative to no marijuana use, the study found.

A separate study, which appeared in the journal Sexual Medicine, found that marijuana use appears to improve sex for women.