People who use cannabis weigh less than those who do not, says a new study.
This conclusion goes against the belief that weed consumers who have "cravings" will eventually gain more weight.
"Over a period of three years, all participants showed an increase in weight, but it is interesting to note that those who used marijuana experienced a smaller increase than those who never used marijuana," says Omayma Alshaarawy, assistant professor of family medicine at Michigan State University and lead author of the paper in the International Journal of Epidemiology. "Our study is based on more and more evidence that this opposite effect is occurring."
The results also suggest that new persistent users are less likely to be overweight or obese, overall.
"We found that users, even those who had just started, were more likely to have a normal, healthier weight and maintain it," says Alshaarawy. "Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese against 20% of non-users."
The researchers used data from the National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Disorders and examined the 33000 18 Participant's Body Mass Index (BMI), aged XNUMX and older, and compared the numbers.
Although the difference in actual weight between users and non-users was modest, about one kilo for an 1m50 participant weighing about 90kg at the start of the study, the variance was dominant in the entire sample.
"An average difference of almost 1 kilo does not seem like much, but we found it in more than 30000 people with different behaviors and we still got that result," said Mr. Alshaarawy, one of the assistants of the study.
So, what in cannabis seems to affect weight? Alshaarawy said he is still relatively unknown, but points to several possible factors.
"It could be something more behavioral, like having someone become more aware of their food intake by worrying about nibbling after using cannabis and gaining weight," she says. "Or, it could be the use of cannabis itself, which can change how certain cells, or receptors, react in the body and can ultimately affect weight gain. We have to do more research. "
But, people should not use the herb as a dietary aid, warns Mr. Alshaarawy.
People should not think of it as a way to maintain or even lose weight. "
This new prospective study is based on anecdotes, preclinical studies and cross-sectional data on inverse associations between cannabis use and obesity, and shows an inverse association of cannabis-IMC increase. Confirmatory studies with rigorous testing of cannabis and BMI will be required.