Effects of smoked marijuana on food intake and body weight of humans living in a residential laboratory

Appetite. 1988 Aug;11(1):1-14. doi: 10.1016/s0195-6663(88)80017-5.


Six adult male research volunteers, in two groups of three subjects each, lived in a residential laboratory for 13 days. All contact with the experimenter was through a networked computer system and subjects' behaviors, including food intake, were continuously recorded. During the first part of the day, subjects remained in continuously recorded. During the first part of the day, subjects remained in their private rooms doing planned work activities, and during the remainder of the day, they were allowed to socialize. Two cigarettes containing active marijuana (2.3% delta 9 THC) or placebo were smoked during both the private work period and the period of access to social activities. Smoked active marijuana significantly increased total daily caloric intake by 40%. Increased food intake was evident during both private and social periods. The increase in caloric intake was due to an increased consumption of snack foods as a consequence of an increase in the number of snacking occasions. There was no significant change in caloric consumption during meals. The principal increase within the category of snack foods was in the intake of sweet solid items, e.g., candy bars, compared to sweet fluid, e.g., soda, or savory solid items, e.g., potato chips. Increases in body weight during periods of active marijuana smoking were greater than predicted by caloric intake alone.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Eating*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Placebos


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Placebos