Everyone knows that stoners fall victim to the munchies whenever they smoke marijuana. However, it seems that those munchies might not be as powerful as previously thought. A new study performed by Michigan State University found that those that smoked cannabis weighed less than those that don’t.
The prospective cohort study took place over 3 years and analyzed data for over 30,000 people. The data was collected by the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions. This group of people had their weights, heights and marijuana usage tracked throughout the study. 77% had never smoked marijuana while 18% quit, 3% just started, and 2% used it consistently.
Of the results, lead author Omayma Alshaarawy had this to say: “Over a three-year period, all participants showed a weight increase, but interestingly, those who used marijuana had less of an increase compared to those that never used.” She added, “Our study builds on mounting evidence that this opposite effect occurs.”
That wasn’t all the study found, however. Persistent users of marijuana and those that just started were less likely to be obese at all. “We found that users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight,” said Alshaarawy. “Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users.”
The average weight difference between those that used cannabis and those that did not was small, at only 2 pounds. However, this data was found over a sample size of 30,000 people, so it is not insignificant.
When asked about what the potential link between marijuana and weight is, Alshaaraway said, “It could be something that’s more behavioral like someone becoming more conscious of their food intake as they worry about the munchies after cannabis use and gaining weight.” She added, “Or it could be the cannabis use itself, which can modify how certain cells, or receptors, respond in the body and can ultimately affect weight gain. More research needs to be done.”
No matter the cause, Alshaaraway says that cannabis should not be used as a way to lose or maintain weight.