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Cannabis can help reduce fatigue, findings from a three-year-long study suggest

May 5, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

More than 90 per cent of participants reported reduced fatigue following self-administered weed sessions.

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A new U.S. study suggests using cannabis may help reduce fatigue, although authors make clear the ultimate effects depend on the individual consumer.

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Based on the consumer’s metabolic states and the specific properties of the weed product consumed, “the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effects experienced likely vary,” the authors write in the article published in the peer-reviewed journal, Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

Participants used cannabis commercially available in the U.S.

Despite more legal cannabis access and use in the U.S., particularly among older adults and patients with significant health conditions, authors write “health providers and consumers still have little formal guidance from the scientific and medical communities on how the cannabis-based products they choose to consume may influence feelings of fatigue and energy levels.”

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Investigators wanted to get a better grasp of what impact commercially available flower products may have on fatigue. To find out, they looked at 3,922 self-administered cannabis sessions by 1,224 individuals using the Releaf App from June 6, 2016 to Aug. 7, 2019.

The app allows users “to anonymously track real-time and historic experiences with specific cannabis and CBD products,” including where a product was purchased, why it is being used and how much was used, as well as symptom relief, feelings and side effects experienced.

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Researchers considered subjective changes in fatigue intensity both prior to and following cannabis consumption.

Vast majority experienced overall improvement in fatigue

Results appeared to be consistent and dramatic. “On average, 91.94 per cent of people experienced decreased fatigue following consumption,” the study notes. On a scale of zero to 10, the average symptom intensity reduction, as rated by study participants, was about 3.5 points.

More specifically, there was no significant difference in symptom relief for those using indica or sativa flower, individuals smoking weed reported better symptom relief than those using pipes or vaporizers (vaping was associated with the least symptom relief) and THC and CBD levels “were generally not associated with changes in symptom intensity levels.”

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But it was not all good news. Investigators report that less than 24 per cent of users reported at some point increased feelings of fatigue, such as feeling unmotivated and couch-locked.

Energetic wins out over couch-locked

That percentage, though, was lower than the up to 37 per cent of study participants who reported they experienced increased energy, that is feeling active, energetic, frisky or productive.

A study of almost 90,000 adolescents, released in 2020, found just seven per cent of adolescents aged 12 to 15 who had used cannabis in the past are getting the 60 minutes of daily physical activity and that percentage is even lower for current cannabis users.

But a U.S. study published in 2021 that assessed the relationship between cannabis use and exercise in young and middle-aged adults determined there may be a positive link between the two. “Marijuana use is not significantly related to exercise, counter to conventional wisdom that marijuana users are less likely to be active,” investigators wrote.

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Different findings regarding cannabis use and physical activity may have provided some impetus for the University of Colorado Boulder to announce in late 2021 that it is recruiting people who combine cannabis with exercise for an upcoming study.

Overall, among users recording any type side effects, the most recent study shows 68 per cent noted at least one negative side effect (such as dry mouth or feeling fogging), 96 per cent cited at least one positive effect (such as feeling relaxed or peaceful) and 81 per cent reported at least one context-specific side effect (such as feeling high or tingly).

They conclude that future research would benefit from investigating real-time effects of cannabis use on behavioural and mental fatigue under altered bodily states in healthy people and clinical populations.

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