A recent French study found that, on average, marijuana users are thinner than non-users. This finding comes as a surprise to many who think of the typical pot-smoker as a couch potato who scarfs down Cheetos and Doritos by the bag as the “munchies” set in.
Dr. Yann Le Strat, a psychiatrist at Louis-Mourier Hospital in Colombes, France, said of the study’s findings: “We found that cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-users. We were so surprised, we thought we [had] made a mistake. Or that our results were due to the sample we studied. So we turned to another completely independent sample and found exactly the same association.”
The researchers attempted to account for many of the factors that might skew the results, including the “level of physical activity of the users, or the fact that they might also use tobacco.” Despite these attempted controls, there could still be factors affecting the outcome besides the cannabis use and the study should not be taken as conclusive.
Andrea Giancoli, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, spoke about the preliminary results. “There could be many other reasons why pot smokers have less obesity. Maybe they’re inclined to exercise more, be outdoors more, eat more fruits and vegetables. [...] We can’t look at this study and take it as a license to go out and smoke pot because we think it’s going to help us lose weight. We need more information.”
One control factor the MSNBC article doesn’t mention addressing is age. The researchers used data from epidemiologic studies of US adults, but it is unclear whether the study was broken into age brackets or not. It seems to me that younger adults are more likely to smoke pot and less likely to be obese than older adults.
Maybe the marijuana users out there are onto something. But wait for more information to before you head down to your corner dispensary and toke up.
Photo credit: miggslives
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