A study conducted by researchers at Cornell and San Diego Universities suggested that legalized cannabis could reduce a population’s obesity rate by up to six per cent.
The study, published in the journal Health Economics, connected an increased use of cannabis with a corresponding decrease in personal consumption of alcohol – leading to a lower obesity rate.
Researchers looked at 22 years worth of health data from locations where cannabis was legalized for medical and recreational purposes and found, among younger people, calorie intake was decreased when cannabis replaced alcohol and older people were able to burn more calories with cannabis used to manage pain.
“These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that medical marijuana laws may be more likely to induce marijuana use for health-related reasons amongst older individuals, and cause substitution towards lower-calorie recreational ‘highs’ among younger individuals,” the study stated.
The study estimated that legalized cannabis could lead to a reduction of obesity related health care costs by $58–$115 per-person a year.