Want Lower BMI? Pot Might Help

Daily marijuana use linked to lower body mass for both women and men
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2016 11:41 AM CDT
Want Lower BMI? Smoke Pot
A man smokes marijuana near Riverfront Sports Complex before Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden make a campaign stop in Scranton, Pa., on Monday, Aug 15, 2016.   (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times & Tribune via AP)

People who smoke weed on a daily basis tend to have slightly lower body mass indexes than people who don't, and while researchers say they're not suggesting that people take up regular marijuana smoking, they're keen to understand the mechanism at play. Specifically, they followed more than 13,000 adults ages 18 to 26 for six years, and found that the BMI of women who smoked pot daily during that time were 3.1% lower than the BMI of women who didn't, while the BMI of men were 2.7% lower, researchers at the University of Miami report in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics.

"There is a popular belief that people who consume marijuana have the munchies, and so [they] are going to eat a lot and gain weight, and we found that it is not necessarily the case," lead author Isabelle C. Beulaygue tells Live Science. While her team found a link between slightly lower BMI and daily marijuana use even while controlling for such lifestyle factors as diet, exercise, and alcohol consumption, she says they still don't understand why that's so. The findings add support to a study in Canada last year suggesting that regular marijuana users have not only lower BMI, but lower fat percentages and lower fasting insulin, reports the San Francisco Chronicle; it's possible pot smokers break down blood sugar faster. (The way we smoke pot has drastically changed.)

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