A love of high-calorie snacks is one of those stereotypes that has hung around cannabis consumers for a long time now. There's no denying that cannabis stimulates your appetite; that's why it can be a very good treatment option for people suffering from wasting disease. But until recently, there wasn't much solid research that shows smoking weed makes you crave certain kinds of food. However, a new study shows that legalizing marijuana leads to increased sales of junk food.
The study was conducted by two economics professors: Michele Baggio from the University of Connecticut and Alberto Chong from Georgia State University. Together, they evaluated sales data collected from convenience stores, grocers, pharmacies and other "mass distribution stores" in 2,000 counties across the 48 contiguous states. The data spanned the ten year period between 2006 and 2016.
After studying that data, they found that immediately after recreational cannabis was legalized in a given state, sales of high-calorie foods spiked. For instance, ice cream sales increased by 3.1 percent, cookie sales by 4.1 percent and chip sales by 5.3 percent.
"These might seem like small numbers but they're statistically significant and economically significant as well," Baggio told Medical News Today.
And they could be especially significant for public health. As Medical News Today noted, America is facing an obesity crisis that will only get worse if legalization leads to bad dietary habits. But individual consumers can offset those risks by choosing healthy snacks instead of scarfing high-calorie foods when the munchies strike.