Researchers at the University of Miami recently engaged in a study to find a link between marijuana use and body weight. The results of the study, published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, may come as a surprise. Despite the stereotypical picture of a cannabis user as lazy, gluttonous, and sedentary, the researchers’ findings suggest that marijuana users are thinner.The Study
The background of the study explains that it is not the first examination of marijuana use and its correlation to body weight; however, most research in the past had critical flaws. Unlike those, the researchers here were careful to control for physical activity, socioeconomic status, and alcohol use – all important considerations on body weight.
With that in mind, data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health was used to examine the relationship between marijuana use and body mass index over time. Using a variety of tests, including waist circumference, the data was collected to compare the body mass index of marijuana users to that of those who do not use the plant.
Results of the examination showed that for both men and women, marijuana use was associated with a lower body mass index; that is, being thinner. For men, marijuana users were 2.7 percent lower in body mass index than non-users. For women, the difference was even more marked at 3.1 percent less.
In their conclusion, the researchers note that the importance of the study should not go understated. For one, the association between marijuana use and body mass has medical implications that are important for both the healthcare community as well as for policymakers. Secondly, the fact that these results contradict the conclusions of other studies done in the past highlights the importance of controlling for other variables; these previous studies, the researcher’s note, left important factors unaddressed that may have invalidated their results.The Final Hit
While the study ends with a call for further research on this topic. As well as an examination of the mechanisms by which marijuana may contribute to a lower body mass index. The findings are not exactly a surprise. In fact, the results are actually in line with some other data that has come out in the past. A 2011 study, for example, also found a correlation between cannabis use and lower body weight. Given the massive obesity problem the United States has, finding any and all methods to help alleviate the problem could not come sooner.