Light­ing up for your health?

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

While mar­i­juana may be more com­monly as­so­ci­ated with in­duc­ing a case of the munchies, now comes news from the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Medicine that re­searchers have found a link be­tween pot-smok­ing and a smaller waist size.

“De­spite its as­so­ci­a­tions with in­creased ap­petite and caloric in­take, mar­i­juana use also is as­so­ci­ated with lower body mass in­dex and preva­lence of di­a­betes,” re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Ne­braska Col­lege of Medicine, the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health and Beth Is­rael Dea­coness Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Bos­ton, wrote in their re­port.

For their study, the re­searchers re­viewed data from 4,657 adults par­tic­i­pat­ing in the National Health and Nu­tri­tion Ex­am­i­na­tion Sur­vey in 2005-10 who pro­vided blood sam­ples af­ter a nine-hour fast. Of th­ese, 579 said they cur­rently used mar­i­juana and 1,975 said they used it in the past. Mar­i­juana use was as­so­ci­ated with a 16% lower fast­ing level of in­sulin and 17% lower in­sulin re­sis­tance—a con­di­tion caus­ing weight gain and a buildup of glu­cose in the blood.

Waist cir­cum­fer­ence also was mea­sured, with past mar­i­juana users hav­ing the largest at an aver­age size of 97.7 cen­time­ters, fol­lowed by per­sons who had never smoked mar­i­juana at 97.4 cen­time­ters and cur­rent users trail­ing the pack with an aver­age waist size of 93.6 cen­time­ters.

“The mech­a­nisms un­der­ly­ing this para­dox have not been de­ter­mined,” the re­searchers note, but “with the re­cent trends in le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana in the United States, it is likely that physi­cians will in­creas­ingly en­counter pa­tients who use mar­i­juana and should there­fore be aware of the ef­fects it can have on com­mon dis­ease pro­cesses, such as di­a­betes mel­li­tus.”

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