Thanks in large part to a series of undying pop culture tropes, the terms ‘cannabis consumer’ and ‘couch potato’ remain practically synonymous - despite ongoing (and increasingly proactive) efforts to squash the ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype once and for all.

A new survey commissioned by Civilized, however, found not only that the stereotype itself is groundless, but that in some cases, cannabis consumers are actually more physically active than their non-consuming counterparts.

The survey - conducted with market research agency PSB - polled more than 1,600 North American adults to explore modern cannabis culture.

The results revealed that 28 percent of American cannabis users work out an average of 1-2 times a week, compared to 22 percent of American non-users. In Canada, 33 percent of cannabis users said they worked out once or twice a week, compared to 29 percent of Canadian non-users.

Moreover, 36 percent of American cannabis users reported working out 3-5 times a week, compared to 34 percent of non-users. In Canada, 30 percent of cannabis users said they worked out 3-5 times a week, compared to 26 percent of Canadian non-users.

While these numbers may come as a shock to those who hold dear their Reefer Madness-era perceptions of cannabis consumers, Stefan Borst-Censullo of Long Beach, California isn’t at all surprised.

The avid runner and devoted attendee of the 420 Games - the annual cliché-crushing cannabis-friendly athletic event launched by Jim McAlpine, founder of the world's first cannabis-friendly gym - started using cannabis as an athletic aid after hearing its praises sung on weightlifting message boards online. He believes cannabis is a tool used by countless athletically inclined people, and that many simply aren’t comfortable yelling it from the rooftops just yet.  

“I’d been hearing that cannabis was the one drug body builders would put in their bodies that didn’t serve as just a replacement for alcohol, but that also helped with muscle recovery and a whole host of other things depending on how you’re ingesting it,” Borst-Censullo told Civilized, adding that “cannabis has a lot of the anti-inflammatory properties that people who take a daily aspirin [get], but without eating away at your liver and stomach lining.”  

“Cannabis is one of those things that people are finding out is really essential compared to some of the psychotically dangerous painkillers and muscle relaxers they’re prescribed by doctors at levels that should scare people. It’s just a safer alternative for [athletes’] bodies.”

Group Fitness

Beyond its physical benefits, Borst-Censullo said many cannabis-friendly athletes use the drug not only as a recreational substitute for alcohol, but to help them lean more thoroughly into a workout – a phenomenon that’s been well documented.

“If you’re a runner and you drink alcohol, that means extra calories as well as a potentially massive hangover when you’re trying to do training. Cannabis, on the other hand, with its remarkable ability to intoxicate you and relax you and give you that high that adults really need a lot of the time for a stressful lifestyle, allows you to be in that mindset to further enjoy a hobby that is unassailably healthy on its own.

"The stereotypes many people have assumed about responsible [cannabis] usage are not true... Cannabis is something you can easily incorporate into an active lifestyle, and it's really effective."

Civilized partnered with PSB to conduct a survey of more than 1,600 North American adults to explore modern cannabis culture. PSB is a world renowned global strategic communication advisory based in Washington D.C. With roots in innovative political campaign strategy, PSB is a full-service research and insights agency engaging blue-chip organizations across all sectors.

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