Marijuana Use Linked to Better Diabetes Stats

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If there’s one enduring thing associated with marijuana use, it’s the phenomenon referred to as “the munchies.”

In fact, this was the first real medical use approved for cannabis – the drug could be used to fight appetite suppression in those made nauseous from chemotherapy.

It’s still used for that, and the supposition would follow that regular, otherwise healthy users would develop all of the symptoms of overeating, especially when the munchies so often results in consumption of junk food. Potato chips, pizza and other marginal foods have long been associated with the marijuana culture. But the “common knowledge” here might be wrong.

Smaller waists and better diabetes stats

According to a study from the American Journal of Medicine, frequent marijuana users not only had smaller waists than average (one measure of obesity) but also scored better on measures of diabetes.

Researchers tested current and previous users of the drug with a fasting blood sugar test to measure their levels of insulin resistance, in turn a measure of type II diabetes risk. Current users had 16 percent lower fasting insulin than the general population. This measure is evidence that using cannabis may offer some protection against diabetes.

Marijuana may help to abate diabetes epidemic

Diabetes, secondary to obesity, is an epidemic in the U.S., and along with type I diabetes (a genetic abnormality) there are 25.8 million Americans with the disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are an additional 79 million citizens in a “pre-diabetic” state – those who do not currently meet the criteria for diagnosis but will likely progress to become diabetics.

With a lower fasting insulin level and less chance of being insulin resistant, cannabis users are getting some unknown protection from the disease. Waist size is another indicator and risk factor for developing diabetes, and marijuana users also scored well on this measure.

Diet information was not included as part of the study and, as this is the first study to look specifically at insulin and marijuana, more research will be needed to verify and expand on these results. Still, it’s certainly an interesting and counterintuitive result.

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