Does Smoking Weed Affect Your Weight?

Marijuana use has long been associated with incessant snacking. Smoking marijuana is known to increase one’s appetite – a sensation known colloquially as “the munchies.” Because of this common side effect, people commonly assume that chronic marijuana use causes weight gain.

Several researchers have tested this hypothesis in recent years with interesting results. While most studies agree that marijuana use affects your weight, the general effects vary from lab to lab.

Marijuana and Weight Gain/Loss

smoking marijuana can trigger an increased appetite

Research on the effects of marijuana on someone’s weight has uncovered mixed and conflicting results.

A 2011 TIME magazine report that surveyed 52,000 people and found that 25% of nonsmokers were obese compared with 17% of marijuana users. Some have hypothesized that marijuana activates the brain’s pleasure center in the same way that food does, sating one’s appetite.

However, a 2014 study in the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience found that individuals who regularly use larger quantities of marijuana (e.g., smoking two or three marijuana cigarettes, or joints) consumed more calories than individuals who smoked less or not at all.

Puzzlingly, the people who smoked marijuana in this survey had a lower body mass index (BMI) overall than nonsmokers. The study was ultimately inconclusive, requiring more research. While marijuana appears to have an effect on weight, scientists are not yet sure what to make of it.

Although the results of these studies may be mystifying, there is clear evidence that marijuana can negatively affect one’s health in several other ways.

Marijuana Health Risks

A study in Preventative Cardiology discovered that marijuana use has been associated with an increase in:

  • Blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol.
  • Triglycerides.

The study also mentioned that marijuana use often accompanied other unhealthy behaviors like drinking alcohol and using tobacco or illicit drugs – all of which have a negative effect on health.

These results indicate that, while marijuana use may not directly increase your BMI, smoking can cause cardiovascular problems that are often associated with an unhealthy diet. The result is still the same: an increased risk for cardiovascular problems.

Chronic marijuana use can also result in addiction, which is characterized by not only physical harm but psychological and social harm as well.

Getting Help for Marijuana Use Disorder

The most effective way to avoid health problems caused by marijuana use is to stop using marijuana; however, this is not always easy to do. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that around 30 percent of marijuana users are dependent on the drug.

If you find yourself unable to cut back on marijuana use, you should consider entering treatment for an addiction to marijuana (also known as marijuana use disorder). Through treatment, you will be able to overcome an addiction to marijuana, improving your health in the process.

Laguna Treatment Center—a drug rehab center in Orange County, CA—offers several levels of addiction treatment that utilize evidence-based methods to help patients not only get sober but remain in recovery. Call to start the admissions process or speak to an admissions navigator about using insurance to cover rehab and other ways to pay for addiction treatment.

Verify your insurance coverage at Laguna by using the confidential .

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

The Price of Not Getting Help
When contemplating the costs of addiction treatment for yourself, child, or loved one, consider the costs, or consequences, of “things as they are now.” What would happen if the substance abuse or addiction continued? Rehab doesn't have to be expensive. We accept a variety of insurances. Learn more below.