A new study suggests that marijuana use helped one group of people maintain a healthier weight than their peers.
A Quebecian study found that marijuana users among an Inuit tribe had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who didn’t partake. The study, recently published in the journal Obesity, used data collected from a 2004 health survey of 786 individuals from an Inuit tribe, 57% of whom used pot. Even when adjusting for other factors, not only did those who used marijuana have a lower BMI than the non-users, but those with a history of marijuana use were 30% less likely to have diabetes at the time of the survey.
This isn’t the first time that a study has found a possible positive weight maintenance effect with marijuana use. A 2013 study led by a Harvard Medical School researcher found that marijuana use somehow jumpstarts carbohydrate metabolism and lowers insulin resistance. That study surveyed 4,600 people over a five-year period, according to a report in Time.
Research into any possible health benefits of marijuana is still in its infancy, and has been hampered by the fact that it is hard to get such a study funded, especially since the drug is still considered illegal by the U.S. government. Because of this, even if there were a possible weight benefit to marijuana use, it would be difficult to determine at this point how to effectively use the drug medicinally to maintain a good weight, due to variables such as potency, dosage, and the different varieties of marijuana. However, as marijuana laws become more relaxed in some states, and medical marijuana use more established, better data and funding might soon be available to researchers to flesh out and prove or disprove these initial findings.