Among people who smoke weed regularly, fat people are one-third less than those who don’t use it. Perhaps the long list of indications for marijuana in the future will include obesity.
The authors of the publication in the American Journal of Epidemiology have analyzed the data of two surveys, in which more than 52 thousand Americans participated. The first one showed that among marijuana smokers 14% are obese, while among non-smokers 22% are obese. In the second survey, the figures were similar: 17% of weed smokers and 25% of non-smokers found extra fat. The authors carefully checked their statistics – this difference cannot be explained by age, sex, or even smoking regular cigarettes.
The news is kind of sensational. Rablazian appetite provoked by weed has been heard even by those who have never smelled its smoke in their lives. In the USA and some other countries marijuana is prescribed to cancer patients specifically to improve appetite and digestive system. So somehow marijuana smokers eat more marijuana and get better? It doesn’t happen that way.
If different types of marijuana provoke a strong appetite, it cannot contribute to weight loss – it would be against the law of substance and energy conservation.
The trick is that the statistics given in the scientific work do not mean that marijuana makes you lose weight. There is not necessarily a direct causal relationship between the two variables (cannabis use and obesity). It is likely that there is a third factor that defines these two.
Take religiosity at least: other population surveys have shown that God-fearing people are less likely to use drugs, but more likely to sin by overeating (as if gluttony is not such a deadly sin). Or still the same cancer (and other appetite loss diseases): Severe patients may have misrepresented the statistics in this study because they smoke marijuana as prescribed by the doctor, and are more likely to be underweight than overweight.
It is also possible that our perception that marijuana always only increases appetite is mistaken. However, all of this is just speculation, and the authors of the study are not yet ready to interpret its results. “Our data is too raw to draw any conclusions from it,” said the co-author, Dr Jenn Le Strat, a psychiatrist at the Colombe Clinic in France, in answer to my question about the meaning of the data obtained.
“Marijuana contains many different substances,” Dr Le Strat told me. – Maybe one of them is the cause of the connection between its use and reducing the risk of obesity”. Maya Shalavitz, a blogger for Time magazine, hypothesizes that the herb component cannabidiol can suppress appetite if you smoke enough. Or it’s all about getting used to it: experienced smokers are much less likely to empty refrigerators than newcomers.
“Obviously, we shouldn’t take the results of our work as advice on smoking to lose weight, we certainly don’t mean that,” Le Strat told me in an edifying way at the end of our short conversation. – Smoking marijuana may have something to do with reducing the risk of obesity, but it certainly doesn’t outweigh the negative effects that regular use of this drug has.