Marijuana For Weight Loss? Study Finds Cannabis Smokers Have Better Weight

A new study debunked a claim that one of marijuana’s bad effects to the body is getting extra weight. Researchers from Michigan State University found that those who smoke cannabis tend to weigh less compared to adults who were not exposed to the drug. 

The findings, published in the journal International Journal of Epidemiology, highlighted that both new and long-time marijuana users have low chances of becoming overweight or obese. 

"We found that users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight," Omayma Alshaarawy, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of family medicine at Michigan State University, said in a statement

The findings come from the analysis of data from the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions and the body mass index (BMI) of 33,000 participants, aged 18 and above.

Before the study, the average weight difference among marijuana users and non-users was around 2 pounds for a 5-foot-7-inch participant weighing about 200 pounds.

Alshaarawy said 15 percent of persistent users were found obese after the study. But in the group who never used marijuana, 20 percent had extra weight. 

"Over a three-year period, all participants showed a weight increase, but interestingly, those who used marijuana had less of an increase compared to those that never used," the researcher noted. 

Alshaarawy linked marijuana users’ better weight to their behavior. She cited that some participants in the group may have been more conscious of their food intake as they worry about the munchies after cannabis use and gaining weight.

She also said the cannabis may also have positive effects that helped control weight as it could modify how certain cells react. However, Alshaarawy noted marijuana should not be considered a diet aid yet as more studies are required to confirm its weight loss effects. 

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