Study Finds Cannabis Users Have A Lower BMI

A University of Miami Study published last month in The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics has found that cannabis users have a slightly lower Body Mass Index than non-users.

“Although marijuana use is commonly associated with increased appetite and the likelihood of weight gain, research findings in this area are mixed,” researchers Michael French and Isabelle Beulaygue wrote.

Their results showed that daily cannabis users had a BMI around 3.1 per cent lower for women and 2.7 per cent lower for men.

Body Mass Index is a calculation obtained from the weight and height of a person in an attempt to easily quantify their amount of muscle, fat and bone, categorizing them as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese based on that value.

The data came from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, a study of over 13,000 students in the U.S. that have been followed since the 1994 school year, with regular interviews roughly every decade to track their social, environmental, behavioral, and biological data.

“The present study indicates a negative association between marijuana use and BMI,” the paper stated. “Uncovering a negative association between marijuana use and weight status is a valuable contribution to the literature, as this result contradicts those from some previous studies, which were unable to address time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity.”

The researchers wrote that future work is needed to explore links between cannabis use and users metabolism and behaviour, data that could prove useful to policymakers and physicians as legalization moves forward across North America.