The rapture is still right around the corner, but even if we somehow get past that cataclysmic event, America has other problems—like the fact that half the population will be obese by 2030. But there may be a solution: start smoking marijuana!
That's what new research out of France suggests, although researchers decidedly do not recommend that course. Because marijuana increases appetite, researchers hypothesized that users would be more obese than non users. But they discovered the opposite: "We found that cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-users. We were so surprised, we thought we had [made] a mistake. Or that our results were due to the sample we studied. So we turned to another completely independent sample and found exactly the same association," says Dr. Yann Le Strat, a psychiatrist at Louis-Mourier Hospital in Colombes, France and co-author of a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Obesity rates among participants in the two surveys who didn't smoke pot were 22 percent and 25.3 percent; those who do smoking pot at least three days a week had obesity rates of 14.3 percent and 17.2 percent. Le Strat warns that there could be "confounding factors"—pot users might exercise more, be outdoors more, eat more fruits and vegetables—and doesn't think the take-home message should be 'smoke cannabis, it will help you lose weight.'
But Andrea Giancoli, a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says that maybe it's time we started thinking differently about the typical pot head: "I know when we think about smoking pot, one of the jokes is that it gives you the munchies and dry mouth so you drink a bunch of water and eat a bunch of Cheetos. Maybe we need to adjust the stereotype." And while neither Le Strat nor Giancoli recommend people start smoking pot to lose weight, we can't help but wonder what might happen if a certain overweight Governor stayed away from the helicopters, fatty foods, and beaches for awhile and got in touch with his inner Snoop Dogg.