Study Finds Marijuana Use Associated With Metabolic Benefits

The use of marijuana is associated with sustained effects on weight and metabolism, including lower body mass index (BMI) and lower overall cholesterol levels, according to a study published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Spanish researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis and weight over a three-year period in a cohort of 510 subjects. Participants in the study were classified as either ‘continuers,’ ‘discontinuers,’ and ‘non-users.’

At the study’s initiation, cannabis users presented “lower weight, body mass index, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol compared to non-users,” investigators reported. Differences in weight, BMI, and LDL levels remained consistent over the three-years among those subjects who continued to consume cannabis. By contrast, those patients who discontinued using cannabis use over the course of the study “presented a higher increase in weight, body mass index, and triglyceride-high-density lipoprotein ratio than the ‘non-users’ and ‘continuers.'”

Authors concluded, “Thus, we may interpret that cannabis consumption has a protective effect on metabolism, which is reflected in clinical terms.”

The study’s results are consistent with a number of prior trials — such as those herehere, and here — finding that a history of marijuana use is associated with a lower prevalence of obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Full text of the study, “Effect of cannabis on weight and metabolism in first-episode non-affective psychosis: Results from a three-year longitudinal study,” appears in The Journal of Psychopharmacology. Results of the study were reported first by NORML.

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