Effects of marihuana use on body weight and caloric intake in humans


Body weight and caloric intake were measured in a group of heavy and casual marihuana users prior to, during and following 21 days of marihuana smoking under research ward conditions. A group of control subjects were studied under identical conditions, but they did not smoke marihuana. Both heavy and casual marihuana users had a significant increase in caloric intake and gained weight during the marihuana smoking period. Heavy and casual users gained an average of 3.7 and 2.8 lbs respectively during the first 5 days of marihuana smoking. In contrast, control subjects gained only a small amount of weight (0.2 lbs) during the same time interval. Water retention did not appear to be a major factor in weight gain by the marihuana users. These findings are in agreement with both anecdotal reports and previous experimental data that marihuana use is associated with increased caloric intake and weight gain.

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Correspondence to Isaac Greenberg.

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Greenberg, I., Kuehnle, J., Mendelson, J.H. et al. Effects of marihuana use on body weight and caloric intake in humans. Psychopharmacology 49, 79–84 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00427475

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Key words

  • Marihuana smoking
  • Weight gain
  • Experimental setting
  • Caloric intake