People Who Smoke Pot Are Thinner Than Those Who Don’t

It may not seem like a weight-loss tool, but apparently marijuana smokers are thinner than people who don't smoke.

Sure, when you think of pot smokers you may think of someone lying in a pile of empty potato chip bags and half-full Mountain Dew cans —what's up, my friends who do that and are awesome!!!— but according to a new study by French researchers, potheads are actually less likely to become obese than the stereotypes would have you believe:

"Cannabis is supposed to increase appetite," says Dr. Yann Le Strat, a psychiatrist at Louis-Mourier Hospital in Colombes, France and co-author of a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. "So we hypothesized that cannabis users would be more likely to have higher weight than non-users and be more likely to be obese."

Instead, Le Strat and his colleagues found just the opposite.

"We found that cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-users," he says. "We were so surprised, we thought we had [made] a mistake. Or that our results were due to the sample we studied. So we turned to another completely independent sample and found exactly the same association."

I kind of love the idea of French scientists observing and weighing-in pot smokers and having dramatic "What-what-what-WHAT???" reactions that cause them to remove their glasses and squint at the page.

La Strat says there could be "confounding factors" which would explain the results — such as the level of physical activity of the pot smokers, or the fact that they might also use tobacco — but they tried to rule out such factors.

Those who fessed up to smoking pot at least three days a week, however, had obesity rates of 14.3 percent and 17.2 percent, respectively.

La Strat says there could be "confounding factors" which would explain the results — such as the level of physical activity of the pot smokers, or the fact that they might also use tobacco — but they tried to rule out such factors.

"We did our best to take them into account and still showed the association," he says. "Our findings are too preliminary to answer [what accounts for the disparity]. But there are a lot of different substances in cannabis. The observed association may be due to the effects of one of them."

So perhaps marijuana isn't the magical weight-loss bullet it never seemed to be —and other factors such as cigarette use and exercise do play a large part in these findings— but in case you're still hoping you can switch up your routine from "moderation and exercise" to "smoking a shitload of weed", Le Strat wouldn't recommend it.

"The take-home message is certainly not 'smoke cannabis, it will help you lose weight,'" he says. "The possibility that cannabis is associated with a lower risk of obesity remains an interesting hypothesis, but certainly does not counterbalance its negative effects on health and mental health."

Pot smokers skinnier than non-tokers, study says [MSNBC]