New Study Finds People Who Use Marijuana Weigh Less Than Those Who Don't
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There’s an established mythology very firmly in place when it comes to marijuana and weight: You smoke weed, you get the munchies, you eat stuff that’s usually not the healthiest food in the house, you gain weight.
That’s just a given. So much so that stoner snacks are a focus of Quora topics and popular Google searches. Which makes the findings of a new study somewhat perplexing. It found that those who use marijuana are actually thinner than those who don’t.
Not losing weight but gaining less.
The study, conducted by the University of Michigan, involved a group of study subjects which included both those who used marijuana and those who do not. The results were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Over a three-year period, every participant showed a weight increase. However, “Those who used marijuana had less of an increase compared to those that never used,” said Omayma Alshaarawy, assistant professor of family medicine at Michigan State University and the lead author of the paper, according to Futurity. “Our study builds on mounting evidence that this opposite effect occurs.”
What’s more, the cannabis users in the study were less likely to be obese. Only 15 percent of those who used cannabis were considered obese, compared to 20 percent of those who did not use cannabis.
Two-pound difference, on average.
The study found the difference between those who used marijuana and those who did not was, on average, just two pounds.
The study involved measuring the body mass index of 33,000 people, all over the age of 18. The researchers used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), which was designed to produce a sample that is representative of the United States population.
Two pounds might not seem like much but, again, it runs contrary to the myth. It also went a little way toward clearing up a contradiction in research.
According to the study, “pre-clinical studies indicate increased food intake and weight gain as cannabinoid effects.” However, past “cross-sectional epidemiological studies...indicate lower prevalence of obesity among cannabis users.” The cross-sectional studies -- which are observational studies that use data analysis of a representative subset of a population at a specific point in time -- seem to have been providing a more accurate result.
Does this mean the munchies are not real? No. The munchies are most definitely real. But maybe having healthy food on hand is something marijuana users are doing more than people previously suspected.
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