It’s not uncommon for people to get cravings when they use marijuana. And those cravings can lead to weight gain, according to a national study of more than 33,000 people.
But researchers at Michigan State University took it a step further and found some surprising results. Their study found that over a three-year period, all of the participants in the survey gained weight. But people who used marijuana gained less weight than those who used alcohol or other drugs.
Professor Omayma Alshaarawy says it could be due to the foods people eat when they’re not high to balance whatever they eat when the munchies strike.
“It might be a behavioral thing that occurs with marijuana consumption,” Alshaarawy said. “Like okay, I know I’m a user and I’m having the munchies after my use, and then the next day I’m trying, when I’m not using, then I will be more careful about what I’m eating. So it’s more like a kind of balance.”
But she doesn’t want people to start smoking weed as a way to drop a few pounds or keep from gaining more weight. The original study didn’t factor in people’s diets, exercise habits or how much marijuana they consumed–or if they consumed it on a regular basis.
She says it could even be caused by one of the many chemicals in marijuana. And there’s no way to know for sure without a more specific experimental study. That’s exactly what she hopes to tackle next.