A new study has suggested that there may be a connection between marijuana use and body weight. The study, published online in the Aug. 24 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, says people who smoke at least three times a week have lower obesity rates than those that do not use marijuana.
“Cannabis is supposed to increase appetite,” study author Dr. Yann Le Strat, a psychiatrist at Louis-Mourier Hospital in Colombes, France, told MSNBC. “We found that cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-users. We were so surprised, we thought we had [made] a mistake.”
Researchers used data from two large studies of U.S. adults and found that 22 to 25 percent of participants who did not smoke marijuana were obese. While only 14 to 17 percent of those who admitted to smoking marijuana at least three times a week were overweight.
“There could be many other reasons why pot smokers have less obesity,” said Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, as quoted by MSNBC.
Le Strat has said that researchers did everything necessary to eliminate other factors, such as physical and diet activity. The connection between pot smoking and lower risk of obesity remained even after researchers adjusted for other factors that could influence a person’s health such as, physical and diet activity.
A person’s religious beliefs could also play a role in the connection. According to Time Magazine, researchers found religious people are less likely to use drugs but are more likely to be obese.
Researchers speculate this connection can occur when a person substitutes one compulsive behavior for the other. As a result, a person who might otherwise be a heavy pot smoker will choose to overeat because of their religious convictions.
The Bible does not directly mention smoking as a sin, but most Christians argue there are clear principles that apply to smoking; especially that the body should be treated like a temple of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
Research confirms that smoking is unhealthy; therefore, some believe this scripture means Christians should not abuse their bodies, which is God’s property, by deliberately putting toxic chemicals in their body.
Despite the study’s results, researchers are not urging people to take up smoking marijuana in order to lose weight.
“The possibility that cannabis is associated with a lower risk of obesity remains an interesting hypothesis, but certainly does not counterbalance its negative effects on health and mental health,” said LeStrat, according to MSNBC.