Science & tech

Cannabis Use Associated with Lower Body Mass

Published on January 13, 2015 · Last updated August 23, 2023

We tend to couple images of cannabis consumption with ravenous stoners filling their gut with some kind of hybridized taco-pancake or marinara cereal (…for the record, it wasn’t bad), but evidence from a new study investigating marijuana and body mass shows that even these over-indulgent tendencies may not amount to much once you step on the scale. In fact the study, published in December’s issue of the journal Obesity, found that cannabis use was actually linked to lower body mass indexes in a survey of 786 adults.

This study, which analyzed data from the 2004 Nunavik Inuit Health Survey, sought insight into the relationship between cannabis use and obesity/insulin resistance. With 57.4% of respondents reporting cannabis use, researchers found that marijuana consumption coincided with a lower BMI (body mass index, a measure of health based on height/weight ratios). Researchers hypothesize that the lower fat mass, insulin levels, and insulin resistance also seen in cannabis consumers is attributed to their lower BMI – not to cannabis use itself. In this way, cannabis may indirectly lower one’s chance of developing prediabetes, but before ditching your exercise and diet regimen, know that there are still many questions to be answered. Did cannabis cause weight loss or is it just a correlation? How often are they consuming cannabis? Would you find similar results across a more diverse demographic?

Needless to say, the results are cause for optimism as this evidence adds to a growing body of research analyzing cannabis, weight, and blood sugar regulation. For example, one cannabis constituent called THC-V (tetrahydrocannabivarin-9) is being looked at as a way to lower blood sugar and improve insulin production. Cannabis use is also associated with a better carbohydrate metabolism as cannabinoids interact with insulin.

Whatever future research holds, it’s good to know that cannabis won’t instantly turn us all into WALL-E-sized glutton-beasts any time soon.

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Bailey Rahn
Bailey Rahn
Bailey is a senior content manager at Leafly, specializing in strains and health. She's spent 7+ years researching cannabis products, spreading patients’ stories, and exploring healthy ways of integrating cannabis into daily life.
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