Is Marijuana the Secret to Weight Loss?

The stereotypical image of a person smoking marijuana includes the ever present “munchie” food – certainly those who have tried smoking pot report a craving for salty, sweet and junky foods. But often, users report that they find weight loss to be an unexpected and welcome side effect. Is there any truth to the rumor?

In 1985, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Behavioral Biology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore conducted a study. Nine male volunteers were asked to spend 25 days in a secluded laboratory. During the first part of the day, each subject participated in planned work, and after that work was completed, they were allowed to socialize with the other participants. Cigarettes containing either marijuana or a placebo were provided and smoking was allowed during both the work and social times.

Researchers found that a single marijuana cigarette smoked had no bearing on caloric intake, but additional cigarettes increased the calorie intake of the men. The marijuana smokers found that their calorie intake increased as much as 40%.  The additional calories did not come from increased meal portions, but from additional snacks, usually sweet foods like candy bars, that were ingested both during their private time as well as their social time.

The study seems to indicate that marijuana does not help people lose weight, but I know that I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that says otherwise. Anyone brave enough to share their experience?


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