Will smoking weed make you skinnier?

New research suggests a relationship between marijuana intake and weight-gain

by The Commentator on 21 May 2013 01:03


recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine has suggested that the health benefits of smoking pot may extend beyond pain relief - the typical rationale for 'medical marijuana'.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the University of Nebraska and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study with 4,657 adults from 2005 to 2010 in which 547 identified themselves as current marijuana users and 1,975 admitted to smoking at least once in the past, over 30 days ago. Participants were tested on their waist size and glucose, insulin and insulin resistance levels.

The results, it seems, were surprising to many.

While the effects of 'the munchies' are said to have an effect on calorie intake to the tune of an extra 600 calories a day in some instances, marijuana users' extra intake doesn't seem to be reflected in increased BMI.

Not only that, but current marijuana users had significantly smaller waist circumferences than participants who had never used the drug, even after adjusting for factors like age, sex, tobacco and alcohol use, and physical activity levels. The study indicated that current pot smokers have much smaller waist circumferences by about an inch on average.

The most significant differences between those who smoked marijuana and those who never or no longer did was that current smokers' fasting insulin levels were reduced by 16 percent and their insulin resistance (a condition in which the body has trouble absorbing glucose from the bloodstream) was reduced by 17 percent. 

“We found significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences,” the researchers reported. 

Earlier this year, more than half the public - 53 percent - said they supported legalising the production and supply of cannabis or decriminalising its possession, according to a survey ordered by the Transform Drug Policy Foundation found.

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