According to new research published in the American Journal of Medicine, while pot smoking has become synonymous with a great appreciation of food, commonly referred to as “the munchies,” there is now new evidence that suggests people on a regular cannabis regimen are far less likely to suffer obesity, and more likely to preserve a lower body-mass-index.
The reason behind this phenomenon, surprisingly, has to do with the impressive metabolic rate of potheads versus their smoke-free counterparts.
"The most important finding is that current users of marijuana appeared to have better carbohydrate metabolism than nonusers," says study author associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School Murray Mittleman. "Their fasting insulin levels were lower, and they appeared to be less resistant to the insulin produced by their body to maintain a normal blood-sugar level."
Out of the 4,600 participants in this study, consisting of both men and women, nearly 50% claimed to have smoked marijuana at least once throughout the course of their lives, while 12% admitted to being enthusiastic pot connoisseurs.
After considering other factors like age, sex, alcohol use, income, tobacco use and frequency of physical activity, researchers concluded that the insulin levels of regular marijuana users were still 16% lower than participants who did not sue pot. Interestingly, the people who claimed to smoke marijuana on a regular basis also showed a 17% decrease in insulin reduction -- indicating they are less likely to acquire Type II diabetes.
Marijuana may also prove beneficial for the heart: the study indicates that marijuana smokers had increased levels of good cholesterol, which is an important factor in protecting against heart disease.
Unfortunately, researchers are not entirely sure what factors contributed to the pro-marijuana statistics, since the study was not conducted in a controlled environment and other factors may have been at work. †here is speculation that the cannabinoid brain receptors stimulated by marijuana use may manipulate the bond between appetite and how insulin responds to caloric intake.
Still, researchers say a person shouldn’t base his or her entire workout routine on stoner munchies and hope for the best. There is not enough evidence to support the idea that marijuana alone has any contributing benefits for those wanting to lose weight.
Sadly, even with 18 states approving medicinal marijuana, the politics standing in the way of cannabis research appears to have the upper hand on science, making it difficult, and in some cases illegal, for researchers to accurately test the effects of pot on the human body.