Study Reveals Daily Marijuana Use Linked To Lower BMI


marijuana, body mass index, brain


Study Reveals Daily Marijuana Use Linked To Lower BMI

Written by: Lindsay Sibson

If you live in or around Los Angeles for any period of time, you most likely will end up with a “celebrity story.”

Mine involves a Golden Globe winning actor, marijuana and a case of paranoia.

Ya see, the thing is that I don’t really smoke marijuana… as previous experiences have taught me that it’s hit or miss as to whether I’ll  feel good, or become ridiculously anxious and paranoid.

Naturally, in the presence of this famous actor at a small party, I became paranoid and told him I thought he was strange and “up to something.”

Not my finest moment…

BUT, unlike my random shenanigans with marijuana, many other people use it frequently to relax, relieve pain and get a good night’s sleep.

Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that there is a link between daily marijuana use and having a lower body mass index! Read on to learn more…

Smoke Weed Everyday?

A new study focused on smoking marijuana suggests that people who SMOKE daily may be slimmer than people who don’t use the drug:

  • Researchers found that on average, people who use marijuana daily had about a 3% LOWER BMI (body mass index) than people who never use marijuana 

Lead author of the study and a research support specialist in interventional radiology at the University of Miami, Isabelle C. Beaulaygue, states:

“There is a popular belief that people who consume marijuana have the munchies and so [they] are going to eat a lot and gain weight and we found that it is not necessarily the case.”

The Study

More than 13,000 adults ages 18 to 26 participated in the study:

  • Researchers collected body measurements to calculate the participants’ BMIs
    • The participants were also tested for marijuana use
  • 6 Years later the researchers looked again at their BMIs and marijuana use (participants now between the ages of 24 and 32) 

The study, which was published in The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics reported the following results:

  • WOMEN who smoke marijuana daily during the study were 3.1% lower than the BMIs of women who did NOT smoke marijuana daily
  • MEN who smoke marijuana daily during the study were 2.7% lower than the BMIs of men who did NOT smoke marijuana daily 

Conflicting Results

Researchers also shared that previous research on marijuana use and weight had produced mixed results.

A smaller study, conducted back in 1988 and published in Appetite, observed 6 people in a lab for 13 days:

  • During the first half of the study, the researchers gave the participants 2 to 3 placebo cigarettes per day
  • During the second half, the participants received 2 to 3 marijuana joints per day 

What was found was that when participants were smoking marijuana during the second half of the study, they:

  • Consumed 40% MORE calories than they did during the first half (when smoking placedo cigarettes)
  • Gained 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms) during the second half of the study 

However, a 2014 publication in the Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience journal supports the new study’s suggestions that there is a link between marijuana use and lower BMI.

The New Study’s Strengths & Weaknesses

The researchers of the new study recognized that various other factors of a person’s lifestyle can influence weight, such as diet, exercise and alcohol consumption. However, the researchers took these factors into consideration and the results still held true:

There is a link between marijuana use and lower BMI.

HOWEVER, Beulaygue (author of the study), stated that this new study does NOT prove that smoking marijuana causes people to lose weight or helps them to avoid gaining weight. Rather, it shows that there is a link between marijuana use and lower BMI.

It is still unknown as to what mechanism explains this correlation. Some research has suggested that regular marijuana users may break down blood sugar more quickly. As a result, it may help to prevent weight gain.

On a final note, according to Beulaygue, researchers are NOT advocating for people to  use marijuana as a new weight loss tool as previous research has linked marijuana use to have potential health effects on the heart and the brain.

MORE Health Benefits Of Marijuana:



Lindsay Sibson

Lindsay Sibson

Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.

Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (

Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
Lindsay Sibson

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