Why Pot Smokers Are Less Obese
2 min

Why Pot Smokers Are Less Obese

2 min

Despite what many would assume, it would seem cannabis could actually help people avoid obesity, rather than get there faster with the munchies.

In recent news, we reported how science has found a correlation between cannabis use and low incidences of obesity. The thing is, although correlation was found, it wasn’t fully understood why cannabis users were statistically more likely to be a healthy weight – especially when you consider the way the munchies can induce an unending hunger. We still don’t have a full grasp on it yet, but new research is making headway, uncovering some useful information that goes a long way to explaining the phenomenon.

Researchers from both the Harvard School of Public Health and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center analysed a large pool of nationally representative data to assess the actual effects of marijuana on weight. Of the 4,600 adults sampled, 12 percent claimed they were actively using marijuana, while 48 percent said they had used in the past. Various measurements were taken from each participant, including those who did not use marijuana, to assess their blood sugar control – a big influence on obesity and diabetes. Such measurements included cholesterol, insulin resistance, fasting insulin, glucose levels, and waist circumference.

It was found that even after taking into account variables such as exercise, tobacco and alcohol use, age, and sex, those who used cannabis had significantly smaller waistlines, as well as higher levels of good cholesterol. It was also found that marijuana users had on average a 16 percent reduction in insulin resistance when compared to a non-user.

These findings are backed up by another recent study from a conjoined effort by Cornell University San Diego University. They found that the medical legalisation of marijuana was associated with a 6% decrease in probability of obesity.


Well, while we still don’t know why cannabis is reducing insulin resistance, it is likely that this is the underlying reason for cannabis users being a healthier weight, on average. Insulin is a hormone within the body that both converts sugar into energy and helps store excess as fat. When we eat lots of highly processed foods, our bodies require more insulin to deal with them. Over time, this causes resistance to build, meaning the body needs even more insulin to do the same job it would have done in the past. The thing is, as more insulin is pumped around the body, it becomes increasingly harder for the body to burn fat. So by logic, those with a lower insulin resistance are going to be able to burn fat much easier, thus those who use cannabis regularly are statistically more likely be slimmer than those who do not. It is worth noting, that for now, this is just theory, and the suggested implication of this research. Much more is still required to unearth what is going on, and prove it as fact, as well find out just why cannabis causes a lower insulin resistance in the first place.

What can be said for sure is that there is a very strong correlation here. Cannabis won’t stop you from getting fat, but evidence does suggest it can help you manage it. It means cannabis could have future implications for treating such ailments as diabetes. Of course, correlation is not causation, so until there is more definitive research take these findings with a healthy pinch of caution and scepticism. The news is encouraging, though; once again cannabis research is stacking up the evidence in favour of this wondrous herb.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
Facts News
Search in categories