Researchers at Michigan State University find that marijuana users do not gain weight as much as non-cannabis users; thus, defying the notion of munchies.
People widely believed that smoking joint will make them want to eat more. The behavior called munchies is expected to cause gain weight.
Defying The Munchies
Findings of the study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed that those who used marijuana had less weight gain compared to those who were non-users.
Results suggested that new and regular marijuana users are less likely to become obese or overweight.
To determine the differences in weight gain, researchers obtained data of 33,000 individuals from the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions. They looked at the body mass indices of the participants aged 18 years and above.
The average weight difference is about 2 pounds or slightly less than a kilo for a 5-foot-7-inch participant who weighs about 200 pounds or about 90.7 kilograms.
"We found that users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight," said Omayma Alshaarawy, lead author and an assistant professor of family medicine. "Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users."
How Marijuana Affect Weight
There is no scientific evidence as to how smoking marijuana can affect weight gain or loss, but Alshaarawy said there could be several factors. She said it could be behavioral as cannabis users have a tendency to become conscious of their eating habits.
It can also be that chemicals in cannabis interact with the cells or receptors in the body that can ultimately affect weight. Their findings suggested a correlation, not a causation, of data across a three-year period. More research is needed to understand its effects.
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, a psychoactive compound in marijuana, triggered the neural networks of the brain responsible for smell and taste. Results of previous mice trials published in Nature Neuroscience showed that the brain's response to THC is similar to hunger or starvation.
Alshaarawy cautioned the public not to use cannabis as a means to lose weight.