By Carey Wedler
Although cannabis use is often associated with laziness and gluttony unmitigated, a new study suggests the opposite: cannabis use may be associated with decrease in obesity. A analysis more than 20 years of data found that obesity decreased by a significant margin in states where medical cannabis is legal. Despite the findings of researchers correlation represented as opposed to causality, the results, as many new findings on cannabis, chipping away at the decades-old stereotypes about the plant and its users.
The study entitled “The effect of medical marijuana laws in body weight,” was published in Health Economics , an academic journal that focuses on health policies and services, health sciences and services, and the economy. Researchers at the Department of Policy Analysis and Management and the Department of Economics at San Diego State University from Cornell University analyzed data from the Center for Disease Control Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System . The BRFSS is the “system premier telephone surveys related to health that collect status data about US residents regarding their risk behaviors related to health, chronic health conditions, and the use of preventive services “according to the CDC.
The researchers studied data from 1990 to 2012 – collected more than five million individual survey responses – in what they call the first study that “ examine the effects of medical marijuana laws (MMLS) on body weight, physical fitness and exercise. difference to the difference “a” used “approach, a method in which researchers use ‘before and after’ data in a group and analyze together “ a comparison group that is experiencing the same trends, but is not exposed to the policy change. ”
Although the study recognizes that randomized studies and previous controlled found cannabis was associated with an increased appetite and caloric intake, its findings determined that “ application MMLS [medical marijuana laws] is associated with a decrease of 2% to 6% in the likelihood of obesity. “
Researchers presented different explanations for the trend of different age groups and postulated that among older people, cannabis is often used to treat chronic pain. His hypothesis it is that with reductions in pain are increased physical activity, and as a result, reduce obesity rates.
the study authors offer an alternative analysis for adults 18-24 years, suggests the availability of cannabis is associated with reductions in alcohol consumption. “ Our results show that the enactment of MMLS is associated with a 3.1 percent reduction in the likelihood of alcohol and a reduction 4.8 percent in the probability of excessive alcohol consumption “, explained. alcohol is high in calories, and compared with cannabis, which has zero calories, the difference is substantial. When cannabis is more accessible, the authors reasoned, can “ because of substitution to the lowest in recreational calories ‘maximum’ among younger individuals. ”
The study also suggests that in the long term, the results can be even more pronounced. In addition, they suggested the apparent reduction in obesity associated with cannabis use leads to lower health care costs. “ they estimate a reduction of back-of-the-over-per-person medical costs related to obesity by MML of $ 58 to $ 115 induced a year, ” they wrote.
The results were not without extenuating circumstances. The Washington Post observed states while some studies have found with legalized cannabis also see decrease in alcohol consumption , other studies indicate that alcohol actually increases in MML-friendly states, leaving conclusions on the murky affair.
Rosalie Pacula, director of the Center for Health Economics at RAND Corp. BING argued that the surveillance system of behavioral risk factors is not particularly accurate in determining the effects statewide, although he did not explain why. He also noted that the legalization of cannabis is relatively new, and ongoing consequences of such policies are still evolving.
“ This data will not provide the definitive answer to the problem with the period of the data and the time being evaluated ,” said the Pacula Message in an email. “ Therefore, I believe that these results should be interpreted with caution – because they could plausibly be invested in the future when other analyzes were performed using data sets containing either (a) status of representative populations with time, or (b) longer periods of time for subsequent policies . “
Although the study has warnings, echo results of similar studies on related topics. One 2013 study cannabis use linked to lower risk of developing diabetes, finding cannabis helps control blood sugar. Murray Mittleman, associate professor of medicine at the Medical School of Harvard and lead author of the study professor explained that “The most important finding is that current marijuana users seem to have a better metabolism carbohydrates than nonusers. levels of fasting insulin were lower, and appeared to be less resistant to the insulin produced by the body to keep blood sugar normal blood . “
reporting on the study Time said further studies determined” marijuana users are less likely to be obese, have a lower risk of diabetes and have lower body -weight index measurements. and these trends occurred despite the fact that they seemed to have more calories. “
despite the findings of the new study should be replicated and explored by further confirm that shed light on the benefits that still has not unknown to the legalization of cannabis, voters increasingly embrace policy -. And increasingly good reasons
This article ( The researchers suggest that cannabis can reduce obesity and the risk of diabetes ) it is free and open source. You have permission to publish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org . Anti-Media Radio airing weeknights at 11 pm ET / PT 20:00. Image Credit: Chuck Grimmett . If you find an error, email [email protected].