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Study: Marijuana Users Less Vulnerable To Obesity And Diabetes

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

Marijuana users are often stereotyped as unhealthy, munchie-ridden, fast food devotees, but a new study in the Journal of Obesity could turn the turn the popular assumption on its head.

A study comparing cannabis users to those who abstained from the drug found there was an association between marijuana use and a lower weight range and lower risk of diabetes.

Examining 786 Inuit adults between the ages of 18 and 74, researchers from the Conference of Quebec University Health Centers found that after controlling for the effects of gender and age the body mass index for cannabis users was 26.8 compared to 28.6 for non-users. The group that scored the lowest BMI were those who were cannabis users who had never used tobacco or had quit tobacco.

Furthermore, marijuana users had a smaller risk of contracting diabetes, with lower fasting insulin and insulin resistance. “In this large cross-sectional adult survey with high prevalence of both substance use and obesity, cannabis use in the past year was associated with lower BMI, lower percentage fat mass, lower fasting insulin, and HOMA-IR (insulin resistance),” the authors said.

They added that “the inverse association observed in our work supports evidence from a larger proportion of previous cross-sectional and follow-up investigations. … As a result, cannabinoids from cannabis may be viewed as an interesting avenue for research on obesity and associated conditions.”

The American Journal of Medicine published research in 2013 showing that cannabis users had lower insulin levels than non-users. The study suggested that marijuana could play a key role in controlling type 2 diabetes.

The study will be another feather in the cap of marijuana campaigners who claim the drug can provide a host of medical benefits. The pro-legalization movement was recently gifted with a study that found no link between chronic marijuana use and mental health problems later in life. (RELATED: Study Teen Marijuana Use Has No Link To Mental Health Problems)

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