Marijuana May Make Us Thinner, Even with the Munchies

By Elizabeth Simmons for

It sounds counter-intuitive, but marijuana may help people be thinner. The illegal drug known for causing the munchies was at the heart of a recent study (published in May's Journal of American Medicine) that examined its effect on metabolic processes. The results, though certainly not conclusive, show a correlation between smaller waist circumference and marijuana use. Not only were users thinner, but they also appeared to be healthier overall than those who have never used marijuana.

In the study, comprising of more than 4,600 people, 12 percent of participants said they were current marijuana users and 42 percent had used it in the past, but not in the last month. Scientists assessed waist circumference and other weight-related factors in all participants. Studies conducted before this one had shown that marijuana users had lower prevalence for diabetes and obesity. However, this was the first study to also test insulin and glucose levels and insulin resistance in regards to marijuana usage.

Significant differences were noted by scientists as they compared the test results based on marijuana usage. Those who were currently using marijuana had lower BMIs, waist circumference, insulin levels, insulin resistance and glucose levels. Similar results were seen in those who had used marijuana in the past, but the differences from those who had never used were not as great. Scientists now have the job of taking their impressive results and finding the reason for them. As yet, the exact cause of the differences hasn't been determined.

Hopefully, more research will be done on the subject to discover if the differences found are, in fact, a direct result of using marijuana. If so, it could bring major changes to the legality of the drug, which is already being contested in some states (the state of Colorado legalized marijuana in the 2012 election). With that in mind, the study also states doctors should become more aware of the impact marijuana can have on the body and encourages further research into the subject.


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