CANADA: Forget the Funyuns and drop the Doritos. New research out of Arctic Canada suggests that marijuana users, for some yet-to-be-understood reason, are slimmer and less at risk for diabetes than non-users.
A study by Quebec researchers found that among Inuit residents of Nunavik, the province’s northernmost region, use of cannabis was correlated with lower body-mass-index measurements, lower body-fat percentages and less insulin resistance.
Body-mass index, or BMI, and body-fat percentages are used to determine obesity or overweight conditions; insulin resistance, a condition in which the body fails to respond properly to the hormone insulin, is a precursor of Type 2 diabetes and is associated with other poor health conditions.
The study was published in the journal Obesity; results were presented last month at a circumpolar health conference in Finland. The study analyzed health data for 786 adults collected in the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey of 2004, making it one of the rare examinations of the subject in a North American aboriginal population. It included statistical controls for age, gender and other factors. In all, 57.4 percent of the survey subjects identified themselves as cannabis users. Those saying they use cannabis had an average BMI of 26.8, compared to an index of 28.6 for non-users; cannabis users had an average 25 percent body-fat reading, compared to an average 28 percent for non-users, according to the study.