In this research on cannabis oil and obesity, researchers found that men who used cannabis oil had a lower body mass index (BMI) than non-users.
It has often been a question of whether there is a link between marijuana and obesity. Findings in a new investigation published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine recommend that long-term cannabis oil use is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI).
Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. The measure is used to screen adults 21 years and older for weight classes that can increase the risk for serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and even cancer. A high BMI can be an indicator of unhealthy levels of body fat and obesity.
High body fat is a major health issue in the United States. More than one in three adults in the United States were regarded to be overweight or obese, according to 2013-2014 data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. About one in 13 were considered to have extreme obesity.
To evaluate the association between long-term cannabis oil use and cardiometabolic risk factors like BMI, researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Pittsburgh used a longitudinal research design composed of 253 men from the Pittsburgh Youth Study.
In this comparison of cannabis oil and obesity, the researchers examined cardiometabolic risk factors in the men for 25 years, from age seven to 32. Cannabis oil use was covered every year between ages 12 and 20, and then again at ages 26, 29, and 32.
The research, issued online ahead of print, showed an interesting link between marijuana and body weight; it showed that greater cannabis oil exposure was linked to a relatively lower BMI.
“Cannabis oil use is associated with lower BMI and lower BMI is related to lower levels of risk on other cardiometabolic risk factors,” the researchers concluded.
A person’s BMI can be determined by dividing weight in pounds (lb) by height in inches (in) squared and then increasing that value by a conversion factor of 703. A healthy BMI for adults is viewed between 18.5 and 24.9. An adult with a BMI of below 18.5 is considered underweight, and a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30.0 or above is classified as obese.
Cannabis oil and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
The new research from Arizona State University and University of Pittsburgh researchers also showed a positive link between cannabis oil use and a smaller waist to hip ratio (WHR), healthier cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower fasting glucose and triglycerides, and fewer metabolic syndrome criteria.
“With the privilege of BMI, cannabis oil users’ mean levels on cardiometabolic risk factors were regularly below clinical cutoffs for high risks,” the research authors write. “Most associations between cannabis oil use and cardiometabolic risk factors persisted after adjusting for tobacco use, childhood [socioeconomic status], and childhood health.”
After adjusting for adult BMI, these associations were no longer apparent. According to the researchers, this suggests that “that cannabis oil users’ relatively lower BMI might explain their lower levels of risk on other cardiometabolic risk factors.”
Previous Findings on Cannabis oil and Obesity
The new study’s findings are consistent with those of previous studies concluding marijuana use is associated with lower body fat levels.
Researchers from Oregon’s Health and Science University in 2017 found that those who consumed cannabis more than five times per month had an on average lower BMI compared to non-users. A 2016 study showed daily marijuana use to be associated with lower BMI in both men and women.
The significance of a potentially healthy relationship between cannabis oil and obesity cannot be understated. In 2017, a researcher from Indiana University South Bend found evidence suggesting that cannabis oil use reduces premature deaths. In his research review, Dr Thomas M. Clark, Professor and Chair of the university’s Department of Biology, cited evidence of cannabis oil use leading to “significant positive health outcomes.” Clark specifically highlighted comparisons linking cannabis oil use to lower rates of obesity. These lower rates of obesity, he explained, would subsequently lead to lower rates of premature deaths related to cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, and Alzheimer’s disease.
How Cannabis oil and Obesity May Be Related
Researchers are still studying more about how cannabis oil use may encourage a more healthy body fat percentage. The relationship between cannabis-derived cannabinoids and the body’s metabolic processes are still unclear.
One hypothesis regarding cannabis oil and obesity recommends that cannabis-derived cannabinoids may influence one of the body’s major self-regulatory networks. This network, the endocannabinoid system (ECS), is tasked with regulating a wide array of functions, some of which influence a person’s body fat percentage– metabolism, energy balance, and appetite.
Some researchers believe obesity could be related to a problem with the ECS. In one study, cannabis oil and obesity investigators found evidence that an unbalanced energy intake triggered a dysfunction in the ECS and cause it to be overactive. An overactive ECS may have contributed to fat accumulation and eventually obesity.
It’s known that cannabis cannabinoids interact with the ECS through cannabinoid receptors found in the brain, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system. Researchers have suggested that altering the ECS through the interaction between cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors may encourage the network to perform more optimally and more effectively regulate the functions related to the storing of body fat.
This theory is supported by evidence showing that in underweight individuals, cannabis use can actually stimulate healthy weight gain. Together, these findings indicate that cannabis-derived cannabinoids do not always elicit weight loss or weight gain. Rather, they likely encourage the ECS to better regulate healthy body weight.
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