Summarization By: Dr. Trish Hurford MD, MS (MoCann Healthcare Education Committee Chair)
Washington state health data collected since the inception of recreational cannabis use in 2014, demonstrated that cannabis users may be less likely to be obese than non-users. When compared to other states without cannabis legalization, the rates of obesity in this state did not increase in ways seen in other states where no cannabis legislation exists.
The authors of the published research in the journal of Health Economics concluded that marijuana legalization resulted in an obesity rate that was 5.4% lower than expected when compared to states without recreational cannabis laws. One potential mechanism includes reversing the effects of a “westernized diet” on an overactive endocannabinoid system that resulted in an imbalance of omega fatty acids. The importance of this balance can mean the difference in weight gain for those who need it (chemotherapy and AIDS patients) and weight loss mitigating the heart, diabetes and stroke effects of obesity on the US population.
So, it may be that the “cannabis munchies” do not cause weight gain, but in fact balance our endocannabinoid system creating a healthier population. This certainly helps support the need for additional MEDICAL research into this unique plant.
- Health Economics. (2022). “Cloudy with a chance of munchies: Assessing the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on obesity.” https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.4598
- Theoretical Explanation for Reduced Body Mass Index and Obesity Rates in Cannabis Users Thomas M. Clark,* Jessica M. Jones, Alexis G. Hall, Sara A. Tabner, and Rebecca L. Kmiec Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.Dec 2018.259-271.http://doi.org/10.1089/can.2018.0045