Study: History of Cannabis Use Associated with Lower BMI, Greater Exercise Frequency in Those Age 60 and Older

Boulder, CO: Seniors who use cannabis possess lower BMI (body mass index) and are more likely to frequently engage in exercise than are non-users, according to data published in the American Journal of Health and Behavior.

Researchers with the University of Colorado at Boulder measured differences in BMI and exercise behavior in 28 cannabis consumers and 136 matched controls who participated in an eight-week exercise intervention trial. All of the subject in the study were age 60 or older.

Authors reported: “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 findings that cannabis consumers are more likely than non-users to possess lower BMI and engage in regular physical activity are consistent with several other studies, such as those here, here, and here.

Full text of the study, “Exercise intervention outcomes with cannabis users and nonusers aged 60 and older,” appears in the American Journal of Health and Behavior.