What ARE they smoking? Scientists claim people who regularly smoke cannabis are just as likely to exercise as non-users

The stereotype of a cannabis smoker is one of a laid back, lackadaisical, sloth-like individual who is trapped in a lethargic stupor, with exercise far from their mind. 

But a new study from researchers at the University of Miami claims this is an unfair representation of the one in six people who use the class B drug. 

Data from more than 20,000 Americans shows that marijuana users have comparable exercise levels to non-users.

The American researchers admit their findings fly in the face of previous research on the topic, which almost universally show the sedentary stoner stereotype to be true.

Teenage marijuana smokers with mental health disorders are THREE times more likely to self-harm, study warns 

Teenagers with bipolar disorder or depression who smoke cannabis are at increased risk of death and self-harm, a shock new study has found. 

Mood disorders in adolescence have long been linked with cannabis abuse and this addiction has now been found to have a significant impact on mortality. 

Researchers from Ohio State University found teens with a mood disorder and a cannabis habit are 3.28 times more likely to self-harm and 59 per cent more at risk of dying from all causes.

The risk of death from an unintended overdose is 2.4 higher than in people who avoid the drug, and the likelihood of being a victim of murder is 3.24 times higher, the study finds. 

‘Marijuana use and addiction is common among youth and young adults with mood disorders, but the association of this behavior with self-harm, suicide and overall mortality risk is poorly understood in this already vulnerable population,’ says lead author Dr Cynthia Fontanella.

‘These findings should be considered as states contemplate legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, both of which are associated with increased cannabis use disorder.’

The plant from which the drug is derived is being increasingly recognised for its medicinal properties. It is now used to help treat many conditions, such as arthritis, PTSD, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis. 

‘While certain health benefits of marijuana use are generally accepted among physicians and other medical care providers, clinicians often balance these benefits with the potential harmful effects,’ the researchers write in their study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Some of the side-effects of cannabis can include mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and suicidality in some users. 

Many places around the world are beginning to relax their stance on the drug, with some states in the US among those to decriminalise and legalise the drug. 

CBD products, which do not contain the psychoactive compound THC but come from the cannabis plant, are now also sold over the counter.  

Researchers used data from two waves of a long-running study in America which occurred between 2008 and 2009, and 2018 and 2020. 

Participants ranged in age from 24 to 42 during this period and they were quizzed on a host of topics, including exercise levels and drug use. 

Researchers looked at how much exercise they had done in the last seven days, including cycling, team sports, running, golf and walking. 

This was then compared to self-reported levels of cannabis use in the last month. Participants were graded as a non-user, light user, moderate user or heavy user depending on their answers. 

Statistical analysis found no significant connection between marijuana and exercise levels, indicating the habit has no bearing on a person’s activity levels. 

The researchers say this is ‘counter to conventional wisdom that marijuana users are less likely to be active’.