Can cannabis help reduce fatigue? Typically, one would think cannabis causes fatigue. An indica brand glues you to the couch. A sativa strain may have you up and active, but after the high wears off, you’re fatigued or “burned out” – right? According to a new US study, that depends on the individual.
“[T]he magnitude of the effect and extent of side effects experienced likely vary,” writes the authors in the article published in a peer-reviewed journal. “[H]ealth 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.”
Researchers looked at 1,224 individuals using the Releaf App from June 6, 2016, to Aug. 7, 2019. They tracked 3,922 cannabis sessions. This app allowed them to track users in real-time and record their experiences. Users self-reported why they bought a specific strain, how much they consumed, and the relief, feelings and side effects experienced.
Cannabis Helped Reduce Fatigue
So does cannabis help reduce fatigue? Certainly seems so. The results were impressive. “On average, 91.94 percent of people experienced decreased fatigue following consumption,” the study says. Asking users to rate fatigue reduction on a scale of zero to 10, most study participants recorded a 3.5.
More significantly, there was no real difference between indica and sativa strains. Cannabis helped reduce fatigue no matter what kind of cannabis they consumed. Individuals reported smoking joints provided better relief than smoking from a pipe or using a vaporizer (vaping ranked lowest).
THC and CBD levels “were generally not associated with changes in symptom intensity levels.”
Cannabis Doesn’t Always Help
While 37 percent of the study participants found cannabis helped reduce fatigue, about a quarter didn’t share this feeling. Instead, they had the stereotypical effect of feeling unmotivated or couch-locked. However, these people were in the minority, and it’s looking as if other studies might be confirming this.
Another US study published in 2021 assessed the relationship between cannabis and exercise in young and middle-aged adults. “Marijuana use is not significantly related to exercise, counter to conventional wisdom that marijuana users are less likely to be active,” researchers wrote. But the study found a positive link between the two.
The first study concludes that further research would provide more insight into the role of cannabis in reducing fatigue. It suggests investigating the real-time effects of cannabis on fatigue by conducting clinical trials.