Does Marijuana Help You Lose Weight?

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Does Marijuana Help You Lose Weight?

Despite the proverbial "going for the munchies" after smoking weed, obesity is not prevalent among marijuana users. Epidemiological studies have found that marijuana helps lose weight in chronic smokers. Weight gain from smoking weed is often seen among patients with HIV/AIDS and cancers which has made the researchers conclude that marijuana could be a regulatory compound increasing weight in those with low weight but helping the obese lose weight. Unfortunately, no weight loss is possible in short-term smokers.

We’ve all heard about pot smokers going for “the munchies”. The unstoppable snacking after an episode of cannabis use is so legendary that even movies have been made about it. It is widely believed that smoking pot makes you snack uncontrollably resulting in weight gain. Epidemiological studies, however, have thrown up different results.

Does Smoking Weed Help You Lose Weight? Yes, It Does!

In a study conducted on 4657 individuals to assess the effect of marijuana use on the metabolic process, it was found that the users of marijuana had lower levels of fasting insulin and smaller waist circumferences.1 In another study on the effect of cannabis use on body mass index, it was found that the prevalence of obesity was much lesser among cannabis users compared to the others.2 A study to examine the effects of enacting medical marijuana laws or MMLs on factors like body weight, physical wellness, and exercise showed that MMLs reduced the obesity-related medical costs by $58-$115 per person annually indicating that legalizing marijuana consumption positively reduced obesity in the population.3

What Does Smoking Pot Really Do To Your Weight?

Then what about all those stories of weight gain among marijuana users floating about on the internet? Interestingly, a study done to understand this paradox has found that while most epidemiological studies have shown weight reduction among pot smokers, marijuana use among patients with HIV/AIDS and cancers have shown weight gain. The study inferred that marijuana could well be a regulatory compound, increasing weight in those with low weight, but decreasing weight of those who are normal or overweight.4 It was also found that weight loss is seen mostly among chronic marijuana users than short-term users.

So Is Marijuana The Best Way To Lose Weight? Absolutely No!

Studies have proven without a doubt that cannabis use helps reduce weight, but it may not be the right way to do it. Weight loss is seen only among long-term, chronic smokers but long-term smoking affects your health adversely. Here are some health problems associated with chronic cannabis use:

Impaired Executive Functions

Studies have found that long-term cannabis use seriously impairs executive functions of the brains like attention, inhibition, memory, and cognition, among others. It was found that it affected attentional and information-processing abilities and the recovery was possible only after a month or more of abstinence. Acute cannabis use was also found to impair inhibition and promote impulsivity. Even after a period of abstinence, these deficits in users became evident in tasks that demanded concept formation, planning and sequencing abilities. What more? Even working memory was significantly impaired in long-term cannabis users. Chronic, heavy use affected verbal fluency and the impairment continued even after long-term abstinence.5

Many Physical Problems

Marijuana contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a mind-altering chemical, responsible for the high after smoking pot, along with other related compounds. When you smoke marijuana, THC passes from the lungs and into the bloodstream through which it reaches the brain. In the brain, THC acts on specific cell receptors which respond to certain natural chemicals that resemble THC, resulting in the “high” that’s felt after smoking. The immediate effect of smoking pot includes heightened sense, altered sense of time, changes in mood, impaired body movement and memory and difficulty in thinking and solving problems.

Long-term use, however, results in many health problems like breathing problem, increased heart rate, hallucinations, and paranoia among others. If you are pregnant, you may want to avoid marijuana completely as the drug can interfere with the physical and mental development of the child.

Long-term marijuana use can also lead to lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health and more relationship problems.6

Substance Dependence

If you are a chronic cannabis user, it is highly like that you are dependent on other substances as well. A study has found that long-term cannabis use is associated with other substance dependence.7

Now, it is up to you to decide if you want to go the weed way to reduce a few inches.

References   [ + ]

1.Penner, Elizabeth A., Hannah Buettner, and Murray A. Mittleman. “The impact of marijuana use on glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance among US adults.” The American journal of medicine 126, no. 7 (2013): 583-589.
2.Le Strat, Yann, and Bernard Le Foll. “Obesity and cannabis use: results from 2 representative national surveys.” American journal of epidemiology (2011): kwr200.
3.Sabia, Joseph J., Jeffrey Swigert, and Timothy Young. “The effect of medical marijuana laws on body weight.” Health economics (2015).
4.Sansone, Randy A., and Lori A. Sansone. “Marijuana and body weight.” Innovations in clinical neuroscience 11 (2014).
5.Crean, Rebecca D., Natania A. Crane, and Barbara J. Mason. “An evidence based review of acute and long-term effects of cannabis use on executive cognitive functions.” Journal of addiction medicine 5, no. 1 (2011): 1.
6.Marijuana. NIH
7.Degenhardt, Louisa, Wayne Hall, and Michael Lynskey. “The relationship between cannabis use and other substance use in the general population.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 64, no. 3 (2001): 319-327.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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