How smoking weed affects your walk

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Having the odd puff on a spliff has long been a taboo subject, and the health risks are well documented.

Apart from the munchies and a hazy memory, it has now been discovered that smoking marijuana can actually affect the way you walk.

A study, conducted at the University of South Australia, discovered that there were subtle differences in the way smokers and non-smokers walked.

They found that moderate-to-light marijuana smokers were more likely to swing their knees quicker and a greater velocity, than the non-drug users.

Although they didn't find a difference in speed or balance, they also found that smokers moved their shoulders less.

As a description that might sound a little odd but according to one of the study's author's Verity Pearson-Dennett, the changes are so small an expert wouldn't even notice.

She told PsyPost:

The changes in walking were small enough that a neurologist specialising in movement disorders was not able to detect changes in all of the cannabis users.

To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied 44 people, 22 who had a history of smoking pot (but no other stimulants) and 22 that didn't.

The two groups were aged between 18 and 49 and underwent a series of screening, gait and balance tests, analysed through a motion capture system.

Back in 2008 a study published by NCBI found that tetrahydrocannabinol, a chemical found in cannabis, caused an increase in body sway.

Whereas in 2006, another study found that marijuana usage could cause problems in an individuals balance.

The experts have asked for further research to be conducted to see if the effects of cannabis on someone's gait would diminish if the periods between consumption was increased.

Furthermore, as marijuana decriminalisation is becoming more and more prevalent in the United States more research must be done study the physical and psychological effects that marijuana can leave.

HT Medical Daily, Leafly, PsyPost, Nature, NCBI, Business Insider

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