Among the many medical uses marijuana has, one of them is to induce hunger in people who’ve lost their appetite from chemotherapy. Okay, in all honesty it induces hunger in just about everyone who uses it — pot smokers don’t call it “the munchies” for no reason. Knowing that, you’d think most of these people would be among the 69 percent of Americans who are overweight and obese. And while some of them may well be, the data on marijuana smokers suggests more of them are actually far from obese.
The infographic below shows this. It comes from a 2013 study published in The American Journal of Medicine, and found marijuana use was associated with lower rates of obesity, lower levels of fasting insulin and insulin resistance —high and low insulin levels can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, respectively — and smaller waist circumferences. In other words, and as researchers speculated, it seems marijuana improves insulin control, and thus regulates body weight as well.
Other studies have found similar results, such as one from 2011 that involved two surveys. One found 22 percent of people who didn’t smoke weed were obese, compared to 14 percent of regular smokers, while the other found 25 percent of nonsmokers were obese, compared to 17 percent of regular smokers. Again, researchers were unsure of how this effect occurred.
Still, smoking pot shouldn’t be seen as a dieting aid. While it’s been shown to be effective for treating several conditions, obesity isn’t one of them. The most effective and proven way to lose weight has always been to exercise and eat a clean, balanced diet.