September 7, 2011
Smoking Marijuana May Lower Risk Of Obesity
A new study has found that people who smoke marijuana may have a lower risk of obesity.
French researchers examined over 50,000 people in the study.
"We found that cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-users," Dr. Yann Le Strat, French psychiatrist and co-author of a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology told MSNBC. "We were so surprised, we thought we had [made] a mistake.”
The researchers said the reason behind the link is unknown, but it could be that people who smoke marijuana also engage in other behaviors as well.
Le Strat also said it could be that pot smokers exercise more or have a specific diet that keeps them thin.
"On a personal point of view, I would be surprised that cannabis use is associated with a higher rate of physical activity, but this cannot be ruled out," Le Strat told MyHealthNewsDaily.
Cannabis is known to increase appetite, so drugs have been developed to block a receptor in the brain that is activated by cannabis compounds in hopes that drugs would reduce hunger.
The team examined data from two national surveys in the U.S. called the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and the National Comorbidity Survey.
Between 4 and 7 percent of the participants in the surveys reported using cannabis at least once in the last year.
The survey showed that about 22 to 25 percent of people who do not smoke pot were obese, while 16 to 17 percent of cannabis users were obese.
Le Strat said that regardless of the effect of cannabis on obesity, she does not recommend people smoke pot to lose weight.
"As an addiction psychiatrist, I see every day people struggling with cannabis dependence. I would not recommend smoking cannabis for any reason," Le Strat told Fox News.
On the Net:
- American Journal of Epidemiology
- National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC)
- National Comorbidity Survey