Cannabis is a generic term used to denote the various psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa. A new study has revealed that long-term cannabis use may lead to weight gain, especially in male non-cigarette smokers. The effect was almost the opposite in male cigarette smokers.
Didier Jutras-Aswad, professor at University of Montreal in Canada, said, "It is known, and often reported by users, that cannabis causes temporary increase in appetite. As to whether it actually causes weight gain in the long term, the available data is limited. The main finding of our study shows that long-term cannabis use indeed influences weight gain. But above all, we noted that certain factors drastically modify this effect, including gender, level of use, and concomitant cigarette smoking."
The researchers analyzed 1,294 young people who from the age of 12-13 years agreed to share information each year about, amongst other things, their diet, overall mental and physical health (including weight and height), physical activities, and frequency and levels of their cannabis, alcohol, and/or nicotine use. Presently, the researchers are unable to explain the difference between males and females, although they have some hypotheses.
Jutras-Aswad said, "There are possible psychological differences in men and women in their perception of and preoccupation with weight gain and diet, which could hypothetically explain why men seem specifically sensitive to the complex interaction between cannabis use, cigarette smoking, and weight gain."
The study was published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior.