The last decade or so has been dominated by a movement toward wellness, leaving us asking questions like: does not showing up to work for 11 days straight count as self care? Do the probiotics in this hard kombucha cancel out the havoc the alcohol content will wreak on my intestines? Where are my chakras and what can my 19-year-old spiritual Instagram influencer neighbor actually do to align them?
An even more interesting question that has (finally) arisen over the last few years is about cannabis’ position in the wellness world. We’ve known forever that it has physical, emotional, and spiritual (if you’re into that sort of thing) healing properties.
But now we’re seeing studies that show a possible connection between consuming cannabis and weight loss. Could this actually be true?
Let’s start with the data. Despite the widely-accepted notion that pot smokers are munchies-driven connoisseurs of Doritos Locos Tacos™, we’re seeing the emergence of a potentially different picture:
- Dr. Yan Le Strat of the University of Paris’ psych department published an analysis of data from the American Journal of Epidemiology that suggested more non-cannabis users (25.3%) were obese than cannabis users (17.2%).
- The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse published a study that suggested a lower prevalence of obesity among young adult cannabis users.
- The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics published a study showing daily users have 2.7% (men) to 3.1% (women) less body fat than their non-using counterparts.
- A 2015 study published by the Annals of Epidemiology suggested marijuana users have smaller waistlines and lower insulin resistance than non-users.
The thing about these studies (and you’ll probably already be thinking this if you’ve ever taken a science class) is that correlation doesn’t imply causation. Researchers can’t account for every factor of life, so the cannabis may not actually be the one factor that is making people slimmer. Some researchers wonder if it’s the perception of cannabis being unhealthy that keeps obese people away from it; maybe cannabis users just tend to live healthier lifestyles with less stress; perhaps habits of smoking are used as substitutions for habits of overeating.
So, what does it all mean?
Well, for one, it means that everything we learned about cannabis during the war on drugs is definitely wrong. But you probably already knew that.
Unfortunately, though, until we start seeing large scale placebo-control trials, we can’t know that any of this is true for sure. What we can glean from all of these studies is that cannabis can totally have its place in your wellness regimen, as long as you know how to use it properly for your body.
Maybe it’s a CBD bath bomb, taking a high yoga class, incorporating a special body balm into your night routine, or eating a spiked caramel and watching Euphoria to keep the Sunday scaries at bay. What you do with these natural healing chemicals is a very personal decision.
The choice is yours. Enjoy responsibly.