Toke up and slim down?


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Watching your waistline? A new report suggests that smoking weed might be for you. Despite munchie myths, it was found that the BMI of the pot smoking community reflects a reduced prevalence of obesity.

The study reported in the American Journal of Medicine sought to better understand the effects of marijuana on insulin levels in users. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the University of Nebraska tested participants for various measures of blood sugar control, insulin levels and waist circumference.

The researchers examined data from over 4,600 adults, 12 percent of whom were self-identified as current marijuana users; 42 percent reported past use of the drug. Even after factors such as age, tobacco and alcohol use, and sex were taken into account, current marijuana users had significantly smaller waistlines. The study doesn t indicate how or why marijuana contributes to a thin waistline, although the numbers reflect a strong connection between the two.

The study also yielded less conclusive information regarding the effect of marijuana on insulin levels. Current marijuana users insulin levels were down 16 percent, and their insulin resistance was down 17 percent.

While we don t expect to see Weight Watchers handing out blunts anytime soon (at least we don t think they will), it would seem pot does in fact help with weight control.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava considers this study to be interesting but hardly conclusive. It seems that the data lead to contradictory conclusions, she notes. The common wisdom is that marijuana use leads to increased food consumption (the munchies ), but the lower waist circumference and insulin levels suggest a lower food consumption. Obviously, more data are needed to clarify this conundrum, she adds.