Cannabis use Promotes Physical Fitness!

By Fred Gardner Another newsworthy study that didn’t make the news has been brought to our attention: The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Body Weight by San Diego State policy analyst Joseph J. Sabia and colleagues.

Now that more than 20 states have enacted medical marijuana laws (MMLs), “big data” can be compiled and correlations made between marijuana use and impacts on the population. It turns out that access to the herb leads to a measurably leaner citizenry!

Sabia et al attribute the result to two mechanisms: young adults using marijuana as a substitute for alcohol, and those over 35 getting pain relief enabling them to exercise more. 

“For those ages 18 to 24 years, our findings show that the enactment of MMLs is associated with a 3.1% reduction  in the probability of alcohol consumption and a 4.8% reduction in the probability of binge drinking. Therefore, MMLs may induce younger individuals to substitute away from highly caloric alcoholic beverages toward a lower-calorie marijuana ‘high’, resulting in lower body weight and likelihood of obesity…”

“For those ages 35 to 49 years, we find that MMLs are associated with a 2.7% to 7.3% increase in the probability of exercising at least 90 min per week (about 15 min per day). These findings provide some suggestive evidence that marijuana use—particularly for pain-alleviating purposes—may improve physical mobility for older individuals.”

Imagine the headlines this study would have made if the data showed marijuana use leading to a 4% increase in binge drinking and a 5% decline in time spent exercising!  The anchors would tsk-tsking as the TV doctors soberly intone, “We now know that people who smoke marijuana drink more and exercise less…” 

Marijuana prohibition is evidence-based like the marijuana industry is compassionate.