4/20 News: Weed Smokers Tend to Weigh Less, Says New Study

Defying all logic, according to a study, marijuana smokers weigh a little less compared to non smokers.
Donovan Alexander

One of the things consistently associated with smoking marijuana is the eventual creation of munchies. Maybe you and your friends have been there at some point. You might have smoked a joint and accidentally finished an entire box of your favorite cereal. Though this probably didn't do any favors on your path to a summer a beach body, science has pointed to an interesting phenomenon that happens to those who smoke.

According to new data provided by researchers from Michigan State University, those who smoke cannabis, or marijuana, weigh less compared to adults who don't. Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the results are counter-intuitive to what you may think happens.

Understanding Munchies

You might hear this term thrown around a lot, but do you understand the science behind munchies? Broken down by a study conducted by UCLA, Marijuana triggers an appetite stimulating a hormone that sharpens your sense of smell and taste. The hormone, called ghrelin stimulates your stomach’s appetite.

THC effects on the hormone are so interesting to researchers as it could be used to treat a host of ailments. However, Michigan State University’s research points to an even more dynamic relationship between THC, hunger, and weight gain.

The Study

Now before you consider using a joint a day to keep your weight down, Omayma Alshaarawy, lead author and an assistant professor of family medicine, insists this is not the case. As mentioned in the study, "There's too many health concerns around cannabis that far outweigh the potential positive, yet modest, effects it has on weight gain.”

"People shouldn't consider it as a way to maintain or even lose weight." Yet there are some very interesting footnotes from the study. To conduct the study, researchers used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions, examining 33,000 participants, ages 18 and older.


According to Alshaarawy, "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.”

"We found that users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight," she said. "Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users."

In short, marijuana smokers over an extended period of time showed little to no weight gain compared to their non-smoking peers. More research needs to be done to draw a complete conclusion, but it is some good news for those participating in today’s festivities.  

Happy 4/20!

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