Marijuana May Reduce Obesity

Can Marijuana Really Reduce Pot Bellies And Obesity?  Sep 2016 by Bruce Y. Lee ,Contributor

Attention, daily marijuana users: according to a recently published study, you may be more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) or less likely to be obese or overweight than non-users.

A study conducted by researchers from Yale published in the journal Nature consisted of giving mice cannabis and found that this suppressed their hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons.

The POMC neurons are a group of nerve cells in the brain that seem to tell you that you are full or at least not hungry.   

Obesity and weight are more complex than simply eat more, gain weight and eat less, lose weight.

Obesity is caused by the biological, behavioral, social, environmental, economic, cultural and other systems around you. Obesity is totally a systems problem.

Indeed, studies have shown that marijuana user may actually have lower BMIs.

The most recent is a study recently published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics.

In this study, University of Miami researchers determined that in a sample of over 13,000 people,

  • women who do the dope daily had on average BMIs approximately 3.1% lower than that of non-users. 
  • Men who had the herb each day had BMIs approximately 2.7% lower than that of non-users.

Another earlier study of the Inuit population published in Obesity Biology and Integrated Physiology found that pot users were on average thinner and had lower blood glucose levels. There are others such as this one in the American Journal of Epidemiology that have had similar results.

These studies may not have controlled for many other factors that may have been different between the users and non-users and be leading to the findings.

Maybe there are other qualities that pot users have that make them less likely to be overweight or obese.

For example,

  • do pot users live in neighborhoods that have better access to healthier foods?
  • Do they have more available money to purchase healthier foods or participate in physical activity?
  • Could pot be replacing higher-calorie food or beverage items such as alcohol?
  • Could they be getting more physical activity than non-users?

On the other hand, could cannabis have some effect on physiology and metabolism?

For instance, in a study published in Phytomedicine, researchers observed that rats injected with cannabis extract experienced less weight gain, lower blood sugar levels and up-regulation of various genes.

Yes, pot may be affecting the body in ways that we don’t yet realize.

Could marijuana have more positive medicinal effects than currently realized? Case in point, as reported recently in the American Journal of Public Health, medical marijuana legalization may be associated with reduced opioid use and overuse.

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