Whether you’re using it medicinally or recreationally, weed has all sorts of effects on your mind and body. Now, researchers in Australia may have identified one more effect. According to a new study, smoking weed could permanently change the way you walk.
A New Study: Weed and Walking
For the experiment, researchers from the University of South Australia used two groups of 22 people. The first group was the weed-smoking group.
Members of this group had consumed weed more than five times, but did not have a history of using stimulants or opioids. The second group of 22 people had not consumed weed or drugs.
From there, the scientists observed and monitored various aspects of how each person moved. In the end, they noticed a couple of differences between the weed group and the non-weed group.
The people who had consumed cannabis moved their knees faster when walking. At the same time, they moved their shoulders less than the non-weed group.
Despite these differences, there were no changes in the speed at which different groups walked or in how well each group could keep their balance.
The study suggested that those subtle differences could add up to a small long-term change in gait in those who consume cannabis. In short, it suggested that smoking weed could permanently change the way you walk.
Additionally, heavier use over a longer period could have a more pronounced effect. But additional research is needed to figure out if that’s true.
Similarly, the new study used a very small sample size—too small to draw any hard and fast conclusions. But researchers said it was just a pilot study, and that the results could be used to generate more questions for future research projects.
Cannabis and Your Body
The study shows us yet one more way that weed affects the human body. Researchers involved with the project said that it all has to do with how cannabinoids interact with different sites and receptors in the human brain.
“Most of the research on illicit drug use focuses on long-term changes in cognition and psychological well-being,” researcher Verity Pearson-Dennett told sources.
“Illicit drugs exert their effects by changing the levels of neurotransmitters in the ‘pleasure centers’ of the brain, but these neurotransmitters are also very important in movement.”
He continued: “It is, therefore, possible that these drugs may impact the way we move.”
Final Hit: Smoking Weed Could Permanently Change The Way You Walk
In some ways, there is growing interest in understanding how cannabis affects the human body. For many, this is an important variable to consider as legalization continues to spread.
This most recent study adds to what we know about weed and the human body. At the same time, its small sample size keeps it from generating any concrete conclusions.
But what this study does do is raise many new questions about how cannabis might impacts the way we function and move.