Cannabis use and obesity and young adults

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2010 Nov;36(6):350-6. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2010.500438. Epub 2010 Oct 12.


Background: There is shortage of evidence about the relationship between use of cannabis and obesity.

Objectives: This study aimed to examine the association between cannabis use and overweight/obesity in young adults.

Methods: Data were from a 21-year follow-up of mothers and their children recruited into the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), a longitudinal pre-birth cohort. The study is based on 2566 young adults (1264 males and 1302 females) who had data available on cannabis use and age of initiation to use of cannabis and BMI at the 21-year follow-up (MUSP children). Those who did not provide data on cannabis use and BMI were excluded from the analysis.

Results: Frequency of cannabis use and body mass index (BMI) was assessed at the 21-year follow-up. Potential confounders were prospectively measured between the child's birth and the 21-year follow-up. Some 50.9% of young adults reported use of cannabis in the last month or year and 34.1% had BMI ≤ 25. Multivariate analysis showed that those who had used cannabis were less likely to be categorised in the BMI ≥ 25 group with the least prevalence of overweight/obesity being observed in every day cannabis users (odds ratio = .2; 95% confidence interval [CI]:.1-.4).

Conclusions and scientific significance: The existing data suggest lower prevalence of overweight and obesity among young adult cannabis users. Further research is needed to examine the mechanism of this association.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult