As Marijuana is becoming evermore prevalent in our society today, many people ponder the consequences of this drug. Recently I had been thinking about how it is known that one gets what is called “the munchies” after participating in the smoking of weed. This effect of the drug inclines one to eat more than they usually would at that given time. I then began to question whether this period of increased intake of food caused a pattern of weight gain for regular users of marijuana.
When researching this question, the most consistent answer that I found was that Marijuana causes weight gain. However, there are two factors that seem to heavily alter this conclusion, which are gender and the smoking of cigarettes. The study explained in this article, tells us that in general, marijuana leads to weight gain in men if they do not also smoke cigarettes. This is because as marijuana stimulates more of an appetite, cigarettes stint appetite, therefore it evens out and the cigarette smokers will not gain the weight. The gender factor comes into play because girls who smoke both marijuana and cigarettes are not less likely to gain weight compared to girls who only smoke marijuana. The article explains that a part of the brain that controls hunger can be effected by the hormones found within women. The statistical analysis is found here, within the direct study of this topic.
With all of that being said, there were many studies that I came across that contradicted the one above and mentioned many third (confounding) variables. The study explained in this article found that the intake of marijuana results in lower obesity rates. It also talks about medicinal marijuana and that the illness of the person taking it, could be a cofounding variable. Another article, explains that people are actually losing weight when they begin to smoke marijuana because they become less likely to binge drink.
So, one might ask: What is wrong with the studies that are being done regarding this topic? It seems as if they are all looking at large enough sample sizes and the studies seem to be going on for a long enough time. However, all of the studies were completely observational. Studies can become more and more unreliable when they are solely based on observation because many variables can be effecting their results when they are not varying anything. I believe that if all of the people in the study had the same eating and exercise habits and were smoking the same amount of marijuana, the results might be more clear.
Similarly to the conclusion that we found in class about the question, “can prayer heal?”, there is no clear answer to whether marijuana causes weight gain because there are not enough studies that share similar data on this topic.