July 6, 2020

Senior Cannabis Consumers More Active and Have Lower BMI

July 6, 2020
Seniors and Cannabis

A new study concluded that older Americans who consumed cannabis were more inclined to participate in group exercise and challenging physical activity than their non-consuming counterparts.

The study, done over a period of four months, showed that weed-consumers over 60-years of age were in better physical condition than those in the study who abstained.

Baby Boomers and Cannabis 

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, concluded that formerly sedentary senior smokers reacted positively to a four-month exercise intervention trial assigned by a clinician.

“We measured differences in body mass index (BMI), exercise behavior, and cardiovascular fitness between older adult cannabis users and nonusers. Results: BMI of cannabis users was significantly lower than non-users,” noted the study.

While authors cautioned the findings are preliminary, they stressed that “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.”

Cannabis and Health

It seems getting high inspired the study’s participants to become more social and more movement-oriented. Maintaining a lower BMI may also help. Individual BMI, an indicator of the amount of a person’s body fat, can be calculated on various online sites.

“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,” according to the study, published in the July 2020 issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.

“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.”

Seniors and Increased Cannabis Use

The proportion of adults 65 years and older who reported using marijuana is on the rise, according to study published in Feb. 2020 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study, done by researchers at the New York University School of Medicine, analyzed data from the 2015-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and found that cannabis use among older adults had increased 75% since 2015.

“As more older adults use cannabis, whether for therapeutic or recreational purposes, it is important for healthcare providers to counsel their patients—despite the very limited evidence base—on the benefits and harms of cannabis use among older adults,” said the NYU study’s lead author, Benjamin Han, MD, MPH.


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