New research has questioned the common wisdom that the “munchies” (increased appetite when high from marijuana) would naturally lead cannabis users to have higher rates of obesity.
It’s estimated that more than 22 million Americans above the age of 12 regularly use marijuana. With increased legalisation across several states, stigmas against marijuana use have lessened with more seniors partaking.
Only 10% of these users claim that they use marijuana regularly for medical purposes.
A common phenomenon described by marijuana users as “the munchies” increases a user’s appetite after getting high. New epidemiological studies are suggesting that, in spite of this effect, marijuana users have lower rates of obesity.
A recent study from the International Journal of Epidemiology conducted by the Michigan State University (MSU) investigated the matter more closely and found evidence that both new and long-time marijuana users had lower BMI on average than those that had never partaken.
The results open up questions about marijuana’s potential as a means of helping people to lose weight, where those who otherwise would not have used cannabis could avoid suffering the effects of obesity. However, researchers say that there is still not enough known about the underlying causes to recommend marijuana use as a weight loss or control method.
The head researcher, Omayma Alshaarawy, Ph.D., speculated that the correlation between lower BMI and marijuana use could be behavioural in nature. She said that a marijuana users could be “more conscious of their food intake as they worry about the munchies after cannabis use and gaining weight,”.
“Or it could be the cannabis use itself, which can modify how certain cells, or receptors, respond in the body and can ultimately affect weight gain. More research needs to be done,” she concluded.