Legal weed is linked to higher junk-food sales

IT IS COMMON knowledge that smoking marijuana causes cravings for high-calorie snacks. The condition, known as the munchies, is a staple of popular culture. (Snoop Dogg, a rapper and notorious stoner, even penned a cookbook.) Yet empirical evidence of the phenomenon and its effects is scarce. Does getting high cause smokers to consume more junk food? And if so, by how much?

To answer this question, Michele Baggio of the University of Connecticut and Alberto Chong of Georgia State University examined state laws in America. Since the mid-1990s, more than 30 states have authorised marijuana for medical purposes and 11 have legalised it for recreational use. Because these laws were enacted at different times and in different places, they created a natural experiment for researchers to study the effects of marijuana—including its effect on food consumption.

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