MAY 23, 2024 5:48 AM PDT

Study Explores the Link Between Cannabis Use and Binge Eating

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

Researchers from Drexel University's Center for Weight, Eating, and Lifestyle Science (WELL Center) conducted a study of the link between binge eating and cannabis. The team examined the frequency of binge-eating episodes while also using cannabis recreationally. The study published in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology

also explored whether cannabis consumers experience more severe eating disorder symptoms or more significant mental health issues.

Few research studies have explored the effects of cannabis use on individuals with a binge eating disorder. Binge eating often involves an uncontrollable urge to eat. Cannabis may play a critical role in promoting binge eating since it can enhance the pleasure or reward effects associated with high-sugar or high-fat foods.

The study found more than 23% of the 165 study participants reported using cannabis several times in the past three months. The participants were seeking treatment for binge eating. Many claimed their cannabis and alcohol use was a coping mechanism for dealing with their impulse to eat. The participants also consumed alcohol more frequently and reported more alcohol-related problems. However, one finding indicated that participants with binge eating disorders who used cannabis did not demonstrate more severe eating disorder or depression symptoms.

The study also compared cannabis users with non-cannabis users to determine any significant differences in alcohol use, eating disorder symptoms, or depression symptoms. The research team found that a considerable number of participants with binge eating disorder experience strong desires or urges to use cannabis. Cannabis consumption was also associated with drinking patterns and problems with drinking, such as increased tolerance and lack of control for patients with binge eating.

As cannabis policy evolves and more states legalize medical and recreational use, it will be necessary to update research on cannabis use and binge eating. The research team has plans to explore how cannabis consumption affects hunger, mood, and eating for patients.

Sources: Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, Science Daily


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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