People who smoke marijuana are less likely to be overweight, according to a recent study.

Pre-clinical studies indicated that smoking weed increases food intake and weight gain, but the research reported less cases of obesity among cannabis users.

In a paper published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, experts from Michigan State University conducted a three-year National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) to determine if cannabis users are less likely to gain weight than people who do not consume marijuana.

About 33,000 cannabis users aged 18 and above were asked to finish a computer-assisted personal interview. The body mass index (BMI) of the participants were compared for the NESARC study.

Findings revealed that all participants gained weight during the three-year study, but those who smoked weed put on the least amount of pounds.

"We found that users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight," Dr. Omayma Alshaarawy, an assistant professor of family medicine at Michigan State University and a co-author in the study, said. "Only 15 percent of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20 percent of non-users."

The researchers cannot identify the direct link between marijuana use and lower BMI. They believe that marijuana may produce a change in the physical structure of cells that influence weight loss. The researchers also speculated that marijuana users might be more cautious of what they eat out fear of weight gain.

The result of the study emphasized that using cannabis will make you thinner and should not be used as a weight loss supplement.

"There's too many health concerns around cannabis that far outweigh the potential positive, yet modest, effects it has on weight gain," Alshaarawy sd in a statement. "People shouldn't consider it as a way to maintain or even lose weight."

At the end of the day, the best way to maintain good health and good weight is by sticking to proper exercise and diet.

marijuana user
A man smokes marijuana during the annual 4/20 rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Getty Images/Lars Hagberg/AFP