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Published on December 13th, 2015 | by News Feed

New Study Links Medical Marijuana With Lower Obesity Rates

New research shows that making medical marijuana might help to reduce obesity rates in the United States. Cornell University and San Diego State University researchers worked together to perform the study that is published in the journal Health Economics. After analyzing data across a wide age range, they discovered that marijuana is actually closely linked to lower obesity rates, a surprise considering most people associate pot with a heavy case of the munchies.

The research team found that when marijuana is legalized for medicinal use, it “is associated with a 2 percent to 6 percent decline in the probability of obesity.” The authors of the study stated that the positive effects are likely even greater over the long term. Next, the scientists turned to the Behavioral Rick Factor Surveillance Survey and studied 20 years of federal data from 1990 to 2012. They specifically analyzed the places where medical marijuana laws existed. They found that in areas where there were laws for medical marijuana, there was a decrease in overall body mass index (BMI) and obesity. They believe that several factors played into these findings.

When it comes to older adults, chronic pain is one of the most common factors that cause patients to seek out medical marijuana. Specifically among the elderly population, medical marijuana laws “are associated with an increase in physical wellness and frequent exercise.” When the marijuana can decrease a person’s pain, they are able to move more and by moving more, they are burning more calories.

Researchers also looked at adults between 18 and 24 years old and once again, medical marijuana use was consistent with reduced obesity rates. “Our findings show that the enactment of MMLs is associated with a 3.1 percent reduction in the probability of alcohol consumption and a 4.8 percent reduction in the probability of binge drinking.” They availability of marijuana helped young adults to “substitute away from highly caloric alcoholic beverages toward a lower-calorie marijuana high, resulting in lower body weight and likelihood of obesity.”

While this study on its own won’t be enough to convince states to legalize medical marijuana, it’s a good start. Once again, we are finding consistent proof that marijuana can have a positive impact on society when used within appropriate perimeters.

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