Drugs

Hard to Believe: Smoking Pot Can Make You Skinny

Instead of hitting the gym, should you take a hit of a joint?

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com

At some point, corporations realized the stoner snack market was such a guaranteed goldmine, they got lazy and started giving snacks names like Munchies and just called it a day. That marketing gimmick, however uninspired, is rooted in truth: pot smokers do eat more when they’re high, by as much as 600 calories, according to studies. Yet the latest science finds that marijuana use may actually be connected to lower weight and body fat. A new research paper out of the University of Miami concludes pot use might actually be linked to thinness among pot smokers.

Researchers, who recently published their findings in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, found that body mass index in those who smoke pot on the daily is lower than in people who don’t. Female potheads were found to have an average BMI 3.1 percent lower than their non-smoking peers, while male smokers had a BMI about 2.7 percent less than their smokeless cohorts.

That’s a fair amount of correlation without much proof of causation, for sure, but this is just the latest study to discover that pot users are skinnier than those who don’t use. Back in 2013, a medical study found that pot users’ bodies have, per Business Insider, “a healthier response to sugar.” The outfit helpfully broke down the findings, explaining that “insulin levels of recent pot-smokers were lower during fasting and they had a lower insulin resistance score” and that they “had more ‘good’ cholesterol and smaller waists.” 

There were also two 2011 studies, reported by Time magazine, that determined a potential relationship between thinness and pot smoking, even when controlling for all other behaviors, from eating habits to age and gender:

"Researchers analyzed data from two large national surveys of the American population, which together included some 52,000 participants. In the first survey, they found that 22 percent of those who did not smoke marijuana were obese, compared with just 14 percent of the regular marijuana smokers. The second survey found that 25 percent of nonsmokers were obese, compared with 17 percent of regular cannabis users."

Recognizing that munchies-related weight gain is a concern for some, there are guides to help you avoid adding pounds while still getting super high. There are strains of pot purportedly bred specifically to avoid giving you pizza cravings. There’s also just fairly straight-ahead advice on preparation. The authors of Pot Psychology: How to Be suggest you just do a little beforehand planning, and gather your munchies before your first bong hit:

"The key to not eating like a dog with opposable thumbs is to prepare your snacks in advance of getting high. If you buy a crate of blueberries, you will eat that crate, but at least you won't be eating a crate of donuts. Or dipping Milano cookies in peanut butter. Or toasting taco shells, breaking them up, and making nachos out of them. Or eating ramen noodles raw. Or making s'mores and substituting Cool Whip for marshmallows. Or eating a whole bag of marshmallows in one mouthful. That's dangerous and best reserved for kids on YouTube. Only idiots would put their marijuana-fueled exploits online."

Happy eating. 

Kali Holloway is a senior writing fellow and the senior director of Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.