Stoners may relish the gluttony of visits to fast-food joints and the supermarket chip aisle, but that does not mean it's affecting their waistline. A new study in the Journal of Obesity has found that marijuana users are less likely to be obese than those who abstain from the drug.
Researchers from the Conference of Quebec University Health Centers looked at more than 700 adults from the Arctic region between the ages 18 and 74, analyzing data from the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey. The study showed that cannabis users had low body mass index scores, which one of the most popular measures of health. Those with lower scores have less body fat and tend to be at lower risk for diabetes.
While non-users' BMI averaged 28.6, participants who regularly engage in marijuana use were around 26.8. The study suggested that the group with the lowest BMI scores were marijuana users who had never tried or quit tobacco.
Marijuana users were also less at risk for contracting diabetes and showed lower fasting insulin and insulin resistance.
“In this large cross-sectional adult survey with high prevalence of both substance use and obesity, cannabis use in the past year was associated with lower BMI, lower percentage fat mass, lower fasting insulin, and HOMA-IR (insulin resistance),” the researchers said.
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Other studies have also come to similar conclusions about the correlation between cannabis use and diabetes. A study in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013 found that marijuana users experienced lower insulin levels than those who did not use, but only if they had used the drug in the last month. The subjects also reported having a smaller waist circumference.
"These associations were attenuated among those who reported using marijuana at least once but not in the past 30 days, suggesting that the impact of marijuana use on insulin and insulin resistance exists during periods of recent use," the authors of the study wrote.