Fat Stoner Myth Exploded

By Ariel Nagi 09/08/11

Scientists were shocked to discover markedly lower obesity rates in potheads compared to the general population. But "Smoke Yourself Thin!" is definitely not the takeaway.

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Stoners may be famed for getting the munchies and setting forth on food-seeking adventures, but a new study by French researchers suggests they are still less likely to be overweight than non-smokers, and are generally on the thinner side. This came as a surprise to the researchers, who believed in the stereotype that pot causes the urge to wolf the entire contents of the fridge. "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 compiled data from two population surveys of US adults and found obesity rates in people who "just say no" were 22% and 25.3% respectively in the two surveys. But those who smoked pot at least three times a week in those same populations had obesity rates of just 14.3% and 17.2%. However, there is no evidence that weed causes weight loss. Other factors like pot smokers' intense physical activity and diets could have contributed to the finding, said Le Strat. "The take-home message is certainly not 'smoke cannabis, it will help you lose weight,'" he hastened to add. "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."

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