Recently a group of researchers at the University of Montreal decided to analyze an NDIT (Nicotine Dependence in Teens) study led by Jennifer O’Loughlin. Nearly 1300 teens had agreed to share continual information regarding their diet, overall mental and physical health, physical activities, and frequency of cannabis, alcohol, or nicotine use. Because the study was highly detailed, it allowed the researchers to eliminate unlikely factors regarding weight gain and cannabis use.
“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.” ~Didier Jutras-Aswad, University of Montreal professor and researcher at the CHUM Research Centre
They were surprised to discover the interacting factors were more complex than anticipated from real world settings. For example, non-tobacco, cannabis-only smoking males showed more weight gain. However, those who smoked both tobacco and cannabis had no weight gain issues. The female study participants had surprising results as well. At the moment, researchers do not have clear cut answers for why men and women have different physiological responses to cannabis, but they do have some theories on the question, does marijuana affect weight gain?
“THC and nicotine do not affect the neurobiological circuits controlling hunger in the same way in men and women. We also know that these targets in the brain are modified by hormonal factors that can fluctuate, in particular, during menstrual cycles. There are also 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.” ~Didier Jutras-Aswad
Improving knowledge will continue to aid scientists and health practitioners in finding ways to fight the battle against tobacco use, cannabis abuse, and obesity. Understanding the big picture includes many contributing factors when developing an action plan for treatment is half the battle. Addiction is not singular. It often snowballs, taking the victim along a path of pain and misery. We at The Last Resort understand, and are waiting here for when you are ready to get off the ride.