Can Marijuana Use Help You Lose Weight?


Published: 03/07/2012

by Benjamin Roussey


Marijuana Nug

New Study Reveals Lower Obesity for Marijuana Smokers


A 2011 study published in the Oxford Journal has found an interesting connection between body weight and marijuana use. Authors of the study conclude that obesity rates in people who smoke marijuana three times a week or more are lower by about a third in comparison to non-marijuana smokers.

Good News for Marijuana Smokers

The study used data from two major national American surveys, which together included more than 52,000 participants. The first survey found that 22 percent of non-marijuana smokers were obese, while the obesity rate among regular marijuana smokers was just over 14 percent. The second survey found these figures to be about 25 percent and 17 percent respectively.

More Research Needed

The study reveals that the correlation between marijuana smoking and reduced risk of obesity remained strong even when adjustments were made for other factors that could impact the results, such as age, gender, and cigarette smoking. However, this association between marijuana smoking and obesity rates does not automatically imply that smoking marijuana can actually lead to weight loss. More research may be necessary to arrive at such a conclusion.

Surprising Results

The results of the new study have generated interest in the medical community as well as among scientists working to reduce obesity in the United States. Dr.Yann Le Strat, a French psychiatrist and co-author of the study, remarked about the results: “We found that cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-users. We were so surprised, we thought we had [made] a mistake.”

Don’t Assume

“Cannabis is supposed to increase appetite. So we hypothesized that cannabis users would be more likely to have higher weight than non-users and be more likely to be obese,” Le Strat said. The initial results from the first part of the study astonished the researchers, prompting them to go for a second sample to corroborate the findings of the first sample. The results of the two samples combined provided more support to the contention that there may be a definite link between marijuana smoking and obesity.

Still Questions

Despite this new evidence, the researchers have not been able to identify the precise reasons behind the relatively lower rates of obesity among those who smoke marijuana. According to Le Strat, it may be possible that marijuana users also engage in certain behaviors that tend to reduce their risk of obesity. Cannabis users may have specific dietary habits or might be exercising more to keep off those extra pounds. It is also possible that certain elements of cannabis help smokers lose or keep off weight.