420 FILE–As marijuana becomes legal in more and more states, public-health officials are asking important questions: Does smoking pot really give people the munchies? And if so, is the wider availability of the drug making Americans even more obese?
Two new studies suggest that the answers to those questions are yes and no, respectively. One finds that people who are high on cannabis do indeed prefer unhealthy snacks. The other reports that pot smokers are actually a bit thinner, on average, than those who don’t partake in the drug.
For the first study, a research team led by Jessica Kruger of the University at Buffalo visited the 2016 Hash Bash, “an annual public forum on a university campus in the Midwestern U.S. advocating for the reform of cannabis laws.”
The study’s 248 participants, 80 percent of whom reported being at least “somewhat high” at the time, filled out a survey about the foods they typically eat after smoking pot. Afterward, they were offered either a bag of chips or an orange as a thank you gift.
Unsurprisingly, 61 percent chose the unhealthy snack, vs. 32 percent for the healthy one (the remainder passed on both). Their written answers were even more lopsided, as 77 percent reported eating unhealthy food while high, as opposed to 23 percent who typically ate something healthy. (Seven percent said they avoided eating anything while high.)
In addition, “participants reported eating more food when under the influence of cannabis compared to at other times,” the researchers write in the journal Human Ethology. They conclude that this finding suggests “the need for tailored nutrition education among the population of cannabis users.”
Or does it? Another new study—one featuring nearly 30,000 participants—reports that regular pot smokers actually gained less weight over time than people who did not use the drug.
Published: April 28, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News