New findings from a study performed at Vanderbilt University links exercise to decreased dependency on marijuana use. According to the research, 30 minutes on a treadmill for as little as five days actually decreased urges from 12 different test subjects. The participants selected for the study were people who had a history of heavy marijuana use and showed no desire to stop.
One of the authors of the study, Peter Martin, director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center described the results this way: “This is 10 sessions but it actually went down after the first five. The maximum reduction was already there within the first week.” Because there are currently no known effective pharmacological treatments for this type of addiction, the study provides great news for people with this problem.
In an article released last Thursday, Mac Buchowski, PhD, a co-author of the study and director of the Vanderbilt Energy Balance Laboratory, said the results would increase future research showing the relationship between exercise and wellness for those with addictions.
“It opens up exercise as a modality in prevention and treatment of, at least, marijuana abuse. And it becomes a huge issue with medical marijuana now available in some states,” Buchowski said. “What looks like an innocent, recreational habit could become a disease that has to be treated.”
Cannabis use has increased by over eight percent from 1998 to 2009 and poses a largely contested social issue in the United States. The acceptance of medical marijuana use makes the issue more complicated. Heavy use of this drug by young people has been shown to increase the possibility of developing mood issues later in life. This new treatment option presents a great opportunity to help sufferers who are not able to stop using on their own and who may not see recreational use as being harmful.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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