Findings published in The American Journal of Medicine have suggested that consumers of cannabis are 50% less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome compared to people who do not smoke marijuana. Metabolic syndrome has many risk factors, here are just a few: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat, which could lead to diabetes or heart disease.

Researchers at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine studied the relationship between marijuana use and metabolic syndrome in a group of almost 8,500 subjects with an age range of 20 to 59 who answered some questions in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. To determine who was suffering from metabolic syndrome, at least three of the following symptoms needed to be present: high fasting glucose levels, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, elevated systolic/diastolic blood pressure, or increased waist circumference.

Of people who had never used marijuana, 19.5% were determined to have metabolic syndrome; of those who had smoked in the past, 17.5% and of current users, only 13.8% of users.

“Among emerging adults, current marijuana users were 54 percent less likely than never users to present with metabolic syndrome,” researchers reported. “These findings have important implications for the nation as marijuana use becomes more accepted and we simultaneously face multiple epidemics of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.”

These findings support previous observational studies showing a relationship between those who did not smoke cannabis and higher rates of diabetes markets. These results also support other studies that show that those who smoke marijuana have smaller waists and lower BMIs than those who do not.

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