A new study suggests that the United States might have a shot at controlling its obesity problem by simply legalizing marijuana across the entire nation.
While the “munchies” are often associated with the consumption of marijuana, researchers at the University of Miami say they have discovered some evidence to support the concept that cannabis users are less likely to be overweight.
Their findings, published in a recent edition of the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, indicate that people who use marijuana regularly have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than their sober counterparts.
Related: Edibles That Look Like Real Food Products
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study is that female cannabis connoisseurs are the ones reaping the majority of the benefits.
Utilizing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, researchers found that women who consumed marijuana on a daily basis have a 3.1 percent lower BMI than the average non-user. Those numbers were slightly lower in males, but still indicative of the powers of pot – 2.7 percent lower BMI than non-tokers.
Researchers concluded that the latest findings could contribute to the elimination of the stereotypes associated with marijuana and overeating.
“Uncovering a negative association between marijuana use and weight status is a valuable contribution to the literature,” the study authors wrote.
The results of this exploration into marijuana and the battle of the bulge are consistent with previous research. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that marijuana could hold the key to curbing obesity rates because of the way it manipulates insulin production in the body – helping to make a person’s metabolic function a well-oiled machine. Other studies, including a pair of surveys from 2011, have also shown a correlation between marijuana use and lower weight.
Some of the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows around 70 percent of the adults in the United States are overweight. Interestingly, states where marijuana is legal, including Colorado and the District of Columbia, have some of the lowest obesity rates in the nation.