We’ve all heard of the munchies, and the more serious side of cannabis and appetite boosting, for those who are ill and have trouble eating. But many who are trying to watch their weight are concerned about getting the munchies and overeating. However, a new scientific study suggests that most pot smokers are slimmer than their smoke-free peers.

According to a health article for Time, “A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology finds an intriguing connection between marijuana use and body weight, showing that rates of obesity are lower by roughly a third in people who smoke pot at least three times a week, compared with those who don’t use marijuana at all.Researchers analyzed data from two large national surveys of the American population, which together included some 52,000 participants. In the first survey, they found that 22% of those who did not smoke marijuana were obese, compared with just 14% of the regular marijuana smokers. The second survey found that 25% of nonsmokers were obese, compared with 17% of regular cannabis users.”

The study also took into account age, gender, and other factors like whether those surveyed smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol. However, it remains to be seen whether this really means that cannabis causes weight loss.

The study also suggests some other explanation for this correlation, such as the fact that sober or religious people who do not use cannabis or any other substance might be more likely to overeat because that is the only vice in their life. That would mean that while cannabis use might be a substitution for overeating, it does not physically cause weight loss. Another point the article made was that some of the users polled may have cancer or other conditions that call for marijuana to be used in order to stimulate appetite, in which case they definitely would not be obese.

However, there is a chance that this could have a serious scientific explanation. Those who smoke more often could be building up a tolerance to the munchies-causing elements of cannabis, meaning that those who smoke more often are less likely to be affected by the tendency to overeat. Another, even more exciting possibility is that cannabidiol (CBD) could have some sort of property that could counteract weight gain, which would open up even more new and exciting possibilities for the substance.  

Further interesting developments in the world of cannabis research reveal that there is a very positive correlation between exercise and marijuana use. An article for Wellspring Collective reports that one of the downsides of cannabis use, the fact that THC stays in the body’s system for so long, could be a good thing when it comes to exercise. Working out can raise THC levels in the blood, and it can also activate cannabinoid receptors in the brain, meaning that a smoking session after working out will be a lot more effective.

Additionally, cannabis can help improve focus for those working out. According to the article, “taking a few tokes of marijuana can be extremely beneficial for staying focused on your workout goals. In fact, many long-distance runners admit to using vaporizers or edibles before participating in a marathon because the cannabis enables them to remove the monotony and stay in a steady rhythmic zone for keeping at a competitive running speed.

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Even though all of this research is still relatively new, this is a very exciting frontier for the world of legal cannabis. As more of this connection is explored, people can take even greater advantage of this correlation and use marijuana to further improve their health.