Wait, Smoking Weed Makes You Skinnier and Have a Lower BMI, Now? – New Study Sheds Light on Why That Is True!

January 3, 2024 · Cannabis.net

In a recent study featured in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers investigated the impact of cannabis on anthropometric measures. This exploration gains particular significance against the backdrop of the escalating global obesity crisis, affecting approximately 650 million adults, as per the World Health Organization (WHO).

The profound health implications of obesity are underscored by its association with metaphysical changes and the development of chronic conditions that significantly curtail life expectancy. The repercussions of excess body fat extend to inflammatory processes that disrupt the normal functioning of the cardiovascular, vascular, hemodynamic, skeletal, and cerebral systems.

In the ongoing quest to address the obesity epidemic, diverse strategies have been proposed, encompassing enhancements in physical activity standards, adherence to healthy eating guidelines, pharmaceutical interventions, and even surgical procedures.

Notably, Cannabis sativa has emerged as a subject of interest in recent years for its potential in treating or alleviating symptoms associated with certain diseases. However, despite its observed tolerance in certain conditions, the long-term use of cannabis has been linked to adverse effects, particularly in psychiatric disorders.

The intricate relationship between cannabis use, its various sub-products, and its effects on health remains inadequately understood, presenting a critical gap in current knowledge. As such, further research is imperative to unravel the nuanced impacts of cannabis on anthropometric measures, shedding light on its potential benefits and risks.

It will also help to contribute to a more informed discourse on the therapeutic or recreational use of cannabis in the context of various health conditions.

About the study

This research looked at how cannabis and its products affect the size and measurements of the human body, especially in overweight adults. The scientists searched through reliable databases to find studies that used controlled experiments with random assignments. They excluded reviews, opinions, plans, studies on animals or cells, and those involving people under 18.

The focus was on the therapeutic use of cannabis or its products, and they checked for changes in weight, waist size, body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage. They collected information from the studies about their design, how long they followed participants, who the participants were, how much cannabis was used, changes in obesity measures, how they gathered data, what they found, and any limitations. The scientists used a tool called the Joanna Briggs Institute to check for bias risk.

To understand the connection between cannabis use and changes in body measurements, the researchers did a meta-analysis using a model that considers random variations. Tests and statistics were used to check how different the studies were from each other.

The study’s authors also created plots to show the treatments’ effects visually. They also did additional analyses to see if the type of cannabis used or how long they followed people made a difference, adding more details to their findings.

The Result

The initial search process identified 2,620 potential articles. Following removing duplicates and screening titles and abstracts, 2,560 articles were excluded, leading to the inclusion of 27 studies for a systematic review.

Within this subset, 12 studies met the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. These studies encompassed a total of 4,394 participants, ranging in age from 18 to 70, and featured follow-up durations extending up to 1,338 days.

Conducted in multiple locations across the globe, the selected studies delved into the effects of various cannabis products. These investigations occurred in diverse countries, including France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Finland, Argentina, Portugal, Sweden, Iran, Holland, Spain, and Switzerland.

The spectrum of cannabis products under scrutiny encompassed rimonabant, hemp oil, cannabidiol, β-caryophyllene, and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its analogs, among others.

Notably, these comprehensive studies explored a wide range of doses associated with cannabis products. However, it’s important to mention that some studies did not specify dosages for specific components like hemp oil, β-caryophyllene, cannabidiol, and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).

Despite the variability in dosing information, the research aimed to provide a holistic understanding of these cannabis-related substances’ impact and potential benefits, contributing valuable insights to the broader field of medical and scientific inquiry.

Participants utilizing cannabis and its derivatives demonstrated a reduction in weight by 1.87 kg and waist circumference (WC) by 2 cm. Conversely, body mass index (BMI) significantly declined, while body fat increased by 0.58%.

Subgroup analyses revealed a more substantial weight reduction in those using cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) antagonist/agonist, particularly in studies with a follow-up exceeding one year. Similarly, a more significant reduction in BMI was observed among participants using CB1 antagonist/agonist and in studies with a follow-up duration longer than one year.

The CB1 antagonist/agonist sub-group displayed a more pronounced decrease in WC. Additionally, the use of cannabis oil was associated with a modest reduction in body fat, whereas other cannabis products, especially CB1 antagonist/agonist, led to an increase in body fat.


Collectively, the utilization of cannabis and its derivatives demonstrated a notable reduction in waist circumference (WC) and body weight. Sub-group analyses revealed a more significant decrease in body mass index (BMI) with extended follow-up periods. However, the assessment of alterations in body fat yielded inconsistent results, primarily owing to the limited number of studies available for this aspect.

Despite the observable positive trends in WC, body weight, and BMI reductions associated with cannabis use, caution is advised in interpreting these findings due to inherent methodological limitations within the existing studies.

It is crucial to underscore the need for further investigation, particularly exploring the potential synergies between cannabis use and concurrent dietary interventions or physical activity.

Such research avenues hold the promise of delivering additional nuanced insights into the prevention of obesity, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the interplay between cannabis consumption, lifestyle factors, and their collective impact on body composition and weight management. (Full Story)

In category:Research
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