Does Weed make you skinnier?

Posted on March 02 2016

It sounds a bit mad, I know, but new research has brought to light some pretty interesting information. Essentially, the study shows that marijuana users have lower BMIs and a reduced risk of obesity.

It sort of makes sense, too, right? I mean, I don’t wanna be reductive and reduce a post to stereotypes, but if you’ll allow me to pedal out the tropes then there is a mysterious dissonance there. When I spend an evening stoned, two things almost always happen: I wanna eat more and I wanna spend a lot of time on my sofa. Now I know not all stoners are like that, but if you take that image (which has a certain element of truth in it) then it makes you pose the question… why are more stoners not obese? If you were to spend a disproportionate amount of time sitting on the sofa, with the munchies, then how come you never think of the archetypal stoner as being especially overweight? There are of course exceptions to the rule, but there is also something of a mystery to the image…

So how can this be explained? Well, firstly, it has a lot to do with marijuana kick-starting the metabolism. THC contains a hormone called Grehlin. Grehlin is often known as the ‘hunger hormone’ which explains why weed gives you the munchies, but it also stimulates the metabolism meaning those who regularly smoke marijuana also have the compounds to break down food quickly. The point at which it helps you lose weight is when extra Grehlin outstrips the extra food you intake.

The second key factor is the lower “Fasting Insulin Levels” found in marijuana users. In studying over 4,600 test subjects, researchers found that regular marijuana users had fasting insulin levels up to 16% lower than their non-using counterparts. I want to try and avoid too much scientific jargon, but essentially, lower Fasting Insulin Levels in the blood stream reduces the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars.

I am of course not saying that you will lose weight if you smoke weed. That would be an idiotic thing to claim. I am, however, saying that these studies explain, to an extent, why marijuana users are less likely to be overweight than non-users. It is a further example of how marijuana can have certain health benefits, and yet another reason why we must look at the medicinal benefits of the drug and conduct proper research into it. 



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