Health & Medicine

Can medical marijuana tackle obesity?

photo credit: A new study suggests that increased availability of medical marijuana may encourage some people to drink less alcohol, which is high in calories. Atomazul/Shutterstock

Marijuana smoking has long been well- known to cause people to have the “munchies,” yet recent research has claimed that its legalization for medicinal purposes actually could cause a reduction in obesity rates. It’s partially due to the pain killing properties in marijuana, which allow individuals to lead more active lives, and partially because of a “spillover” effect, whereby higher availability will cause some users to smoke cannabis rather than consume high-calorie alcohol.

For specific groups, the availability of medicinal marijuana produces a reduction in high-calorie alcohol intake, whereas for other people it assists in relieving pain and allows a lifestyle that is more active.

It’s despite the fact that cannabis contains cannabinoids that bind to the human brain’s CB receptors, and cause signals to become transmitted to different regions of the body which include the gastrointestinal system. Those signals influence hunger feelings, and will be responsible for the “munchies” effect typically related to smoking cannabis.

Irrespective, the authors of the research conclude that “the MMLs enforcement is related to a 0.4 percent to 0.7 percent decrease in BMI (body mass index) and a 2 percent to 6 percent obesity reduction. Also, they report that those effects usually increase about 5 years after MMLs become implemented– that corresponds with the idea that states the benefits of the legalization of medical marijuana ought to take a while in order to manifest themselves.

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