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 here, here, 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.