A study has found that marijuana use is linked to lower levels of insulin resistance, smaller waists, and better blood sugar control.
“These are preliminary findings,” Dr. Murray Mittleman, who helped with the study at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told Reuters. “It looks like there may be some favorable effects on blood sugar control, however a lot more needs to be done to have definitive answers on the risks and potential benefits of marijuana usage.”
The study is based on blood testing for around 4,700 American adults and was published in “The American Journal of Medicine.”
When researchers took into account other health and lifestyle choice, recent marijuana use was connected to a 17 percent lower insulin resistance, better cholesterol levels, and better blood sugar control. There was no difference in blood pressure or blood fats, according to the study.
“It’s possible that people who choose to smoke marijuana have other characteristics that differ (from non-marijuana smokers),” Mittleman said.
Study researcher Dr. Elizabeth Penner noted: “It is possible that the inverse association in fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance seen among current marijuana users could be in part due to changes in usage patterns among those with a diagnosis of diabetes,” according to a press release.
“However, after we excluded those subjects with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, the associations between marijuana use and insulin levels, HOMA-IR, waist circumference, and HDL-C were similar and remained statistically significant,” she added.
Previous studies found that marijuana users have a higher caloric intake than non-smokers but they tend to have lower body-mass indexes.
“The mechanisms underlying this paradox have not been determined and the impact of regular marijuana use on insulin resistance and cardiometabolic risk factors remains unknown,” study co-author Hannah Buettner said