Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions (i.e. a syndrome) that indicates that the body is having trouble handling all the energy it’s taking in. It’s defined by having three or more of the following risk factors:
- A large waistline—that is to say being apple shaped vs. pear shaped
- High level of fat in the blood
- Low level of HDL cholesterol (AKA “the good kind”)
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
Metabolic syndrome is a serious risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
<p>An analysis by the University of Miami, published in the American Journal of Medicine earlier this year, showed that, of the approximately 8,500 adults surveyed, 19.5 percent of non-smokers met the criteria for metabolic syndrome compared to 13.8 percent of those who regularly smoke marijuana. The greatest disparity was seen in young adults, where users were 54 percent less likely than their straight-laced peers to have this condition.
These findings give more detail to a portrait emerging from other studies (such as this one) of cannabis users who are able to take in more calories and stay trimmer than do abstainers.
A study from June of this year adds an unexpected twist: A survey of Australians with psychotic illness showed metabolism syndrome in very high 63 percent of non-users compared to only 43.5 percent of frequent cannabis users. Moderate cannabis use had negligible effects.
So there’s a Sophie’s choice: Smoke weed and save your heart, or abstain to preserve your mind?
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