Childhood obesity is a serious problem. Find out how marijuana can help people lose weight and combat obesity later in life.
Did you know that marijuana could help people lose weight and combat childhood obesity you’ve lived with?
This is surprising news to many people who have bought into the myth that cannabis-users are lazy, overeating stoners. After all, everyone knows the cliche that potheads always have the munchies after smoking marijuana. But nobody is disputing that smoking weed gives you the munchies.
It’s true that when you smoke cannabis, the mechanisms in your brain that make you make you want to eat everything in sight are triggered. The hormones that result in an increased appetite for the user come into play. This causes you to stuff your face with as much food as you can get your hands on.
But rather, what the emerging research on cannabis in fact suggests is that the relationship between marijuana and weight loss is much more complicated. This suggests that marijuana could help combat childhood obesity that affects people later in life.
This adds some complexity to the famous stereotype of the stoner eating out the refrigerator in the middle of the night.
Let’s take a closer look at the question of whether marijuana can help you lose weight and prevent childhood obesity.
Before we can look into how marijuana may affect weight loss, we have to establish what we mean when we talk about childhood obesity and overweight. It’s important to distinguish between childhood obesity and overweight.
After all, many people fluctuate in their weight according to whether it’s Christmas time, or whether they’re getting their body ready for the beach. But obesity is much more serious than this.
Obesity is a serious problem that has vast consequences for the individual and society as a whole.
In the United States, the problem of childhood obesity is particularly acute.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, the percentage of children suffering from obesity in the US has increased by three times since the 1970s. This means that nowadays, 20 percent of children are obese.
Obesity is not simply a matter of excess weight but it can also cause problems later in life. This includes increased risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart attacks, and many more diseases and conditions.
According to medical professionals, an obesity refers to a surplus of adipose tissue.
Health experts use the Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference metric to determine whether someone is obese or not.
For overweight children, this means a BMI above the 85th percentile, but less than the 95th percentile. Whereas, childhood obesity is categorized as above the 95th percentile.
A healthy weight for an adult is a BMI of between 18.5-25. Whereas, waist circumference varies from approximately 40 inches for a man and 35 inches for a woman.
Now we’ve established what we mean by obesity, we can further explore how marijuana can help.
There is an increasing number of scientific studies that are interested in the question of how marijuana affects hunger.
While the science is in its infancy, so far it suggests that marijuana is not just a high sensation at the end of a hard days work. It could also be helpful for people looking to lose weight and combat obesity.
Although it’s crucial to state that the most effective way to lose weight is not sitting in your bed all day getting high – far from it!
In fact, marijuana consumption unlikely to have any positive impact on someone’s weight unless they make other lifestyle changes as well.
The essential aspects of any weight loss regime is a healthy low-fat diet, good sleeping habits and regular exercise and physical activity.
This means that you have to urge your child to get outside and do physical activity before considering other solutions to childhood obesity.
And yet, cannabis consumption alongside healthy eating habits and a physically active lifestyle could help you lose weight.
Just as with any subject, there are experts. So let’s take a look at what the cannabis experts have to say.
In a 2011 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that “people using cannabis are less likely to be obese than people who do not use cannabis”.
Now you may be thinking that a single study doesn’t counter the familiar experience of gobbling up an entire bag of potato chips in one sitting after getting high. This is true.
But countless studies have pointed in the same direction of this 2011 study. People who smoke marijuana on a regular basis have slimmer waists than those that don’t have a puff.
However, what is perhaps most shocking about the research is that the cannabis-users examined also ate on average up to 600 calories more than non-cannabis-users.
These results occur regardless of the size of the sample. Similar studies have altered the gender of the participants, as well as, the age of people examined. And yet, the same results are found.
So, how come marijuana-users eat a greater quantity of food without putting on the pounds?
The jury is still out on why exactly cannabis seems to be having this surprising effect on users. But there is some hypothesis that could illuminate the question.
There has been the suggestion by researchers that it may be because of a particular compound found in cannabis. This compound is known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC causes cannabis-users to experience the sensation known as a “high”.
Researchers at the University of Calgary, Canada, set out to see if there’s a link between weight loss and consuming THC.
They used regular weight mice and obese mice as subjects. They gave the mice THC daily for a period of time and found that the obese mice lost weight, while the other mice stayed at the same regular weight.
They concluded that the experiment showed that consumption of THC causes changes to the regulatory system of the mice. This change subsequently alters the way the body manages digestion and weight.
Following this, similar studies that have been carried out in Poland, the UK, Italy, Hungary and more have further supported the findings of the researchers.
This evidence has caused Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, a self-described cannabis researcher, to claim there is “a correlation between cannabis use and reduction in the BMI”.
But the evidence that marijuana reduces obesity is not just restricted to the science labs alone. But rather, there is also already real-world evidence that marijuana consumption is helping to combat obesity in the United States.
A number of US states have legalized marijuana in recent years. This has triggered the interest of cannabis researchers who want to investigate the link between weed consumption and weight loss.
In a 2015 study in the US, researchers investigated the relationship between the legalization of cannabis in certain US states and obesity reduction. They found that states that had brought in the so-called “medical cannabis law” saw an incredible “2-6 percent decline in obesity”.
This is a significant finding since the new law has only been in place for a matter of a few years. If the trend continues in the future, marijuana use could be at the forefront of obesity reduction attempts.
Researchers have pointed out that since cannabis is prescribed to patients to combat chronic pain, as a result of cannabis consumption patients are able to live a more active lifestyle.
This subsequently results in a healthier lifestyle that helps people lose weight and can combat childhood obesity.
While there is certainly significant evidence that supports the case that marijuana can help people to lose weight.
This makes weight loss one of the many health benefits of marijuana.
However, the evidence that marijuana can have a positive impact on childhood obesity is still in the early days of research.
Despite this, it’s uncertain whether the long-term weight loss overrides the urge to overeat in the short-term.
As Professor Didier Jutras-Aswad at the University of Montreal points out, “it is known that cannabis causes a temporary increase in appetite”. On the subject of long-term weight loss, he admits, “the available data is limited”.
And yet, the existing evidence suggests a future in which cannabis is not merely associated with stoners with the munchies. But instead as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Now you know how marijuana can be an important part of helping people lose weight and combat childhood obesity.
While the scientific evidence is on-going, we can safely say that cannabis smoking is much more complicated than the stereotype suggests.
There are many other surprising health benefits of consuming marijuana. These include everything from treating anxiety and depression to combating arthritis and improved sleeping patterns.