The results of two separate recent studies in the US show the plant’s potential to prevent weight gain and motivate users to exercise more. This could, by extension, help reduce risks of more serious conditions.
In a 3-year study by Michigan State University, researchers used results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, BMI of 33,000 participants and some other data to conclude that smoking cannabis potentially deters weight gain.
Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the study followed men and women older than 18 in the course of three years to find the link between using cannabis and weight gain. According to many user anecdotes, cannabis use increases the appetite, which leads to the conclusion that cannabis users are more overweight than non-users. However, the results of this study showed the opposite – “an inverse cannabis-BMI increase association.” There is a disclaimer in the conclusion that “confirmatory studies with rigorous cannabis and BMI assays will be needed”.
Another recent online survey study looked at exercise behavior of 605 men and women in the US where marijuana is legalized. The majority of users who used marijuana before or after exercising reported that they enjoyed the workouts more than non-users, and they recovered from the workout more easily. Difficult recovery and not enjoying workouts are the main reasons why Americans are not getting enough exercise, so cannabis could be used to motivate this particular health-promoting behavior.
If accurate, the results of these studies could have further, more serious health-related implications. Forbes reported on a new cancer study by John Hopkins University that revealed that “people in the highest fitness category had 77 percent reduced risk of developing lung cancer and 61 percent decreased risk of colorectal cancer.”
If using cannabis can help people maintain optimal weight and motivate them to engage in physical activity on a regular basis, it would also help people reduce risks of developing a more serious condition, such as cancer.
These studies are of newer date and not conclusive. More extensive research is needed for definite statements on the influence of marijuana on people’s physical activity and fitness level.