According to a newly released study those who are 60 years of age or older who have a history of marijuana use generally have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who do not have a history of marijuana use. Those with a history of marijuana use are also more likely to exercise regularly. All of this is according to a study published in the American Journal of Health and Behavior. The study is titled Exercise intervention outcomes with cannabis users and nonusers aged 60 and older.
For the study researchers studied differences in BMI as well as exercise patterns in 164 people: 28 of these were regular cannabis consumers, while 136 were matched controls who have not used marijuana. An 8-week exercise intervention trial was conducted.
According to the researchers: “Results of this analysis indicated that compared to older adult non-users, older adult cannabis users had lower BMI at the beginning of an exercise intervention study, engaged in more weekly exercise days during the intervention, and were engaging in more exercise-related activities at the conclusion of the intervention. Although preliminary, these findings suggest that it may be easier for older adults who endorse using cannabis to increase and maintain their exercise behavior, potentially because cannabis users have lower body weight than their non-using peers. At minimum, the evidence suggests that cannabis use does not hinder older adults’ ability to engage in physical activity, to participate in a supervised exercise program, or to increase their fitness as a result of physical activity.”
The study’s full abstract can be found below:
Objectives: Cannabis use is increasing among older adults. We examined whether cannabis use impacted results of an intervention to increase physical activity in sedentary adults aged 60 and over. Methods: We measured differences in body mass index (BMI), exercise behavior, and cardiovascular fitness between older adult cannabis users (N = 28) and nonusers (N = 136) participating in an exercise intervention trial. Results: BMI of cannabis users was significantly lower than non-users (p = .007). Cannabis users reported .70 more days of exercise on the Stanford 7-Day Physical Activity Recall than non-users at the 8-week timepoint (p = .068) and were 4.1 points higher on the exercise subscale of the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors at 16-weeks (p = .045). Neither baseline nor post-intervention fitness differed by cannabis use status, and cardiovascular fitness improved after intervention in the full sample. Conclusion: These preliminary data suggest that current cannabis use status is not associated with a negative impact on fitness and efforts to increase exercise in sedentary older adults. Future studies should collect more detailed information on patterns and forms of cannabis use to understand their potential health effects for older adults.