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Ann Epidemiol. 2015 Jul;25(7):486-91. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2015.01.013. Epub 2015 Jan 31.

Estimating the association between metabolic risk factors and marijuana use in U.S. adults using data from the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Economics, and Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Leonard Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
2
Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Economics, and Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Leonard Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Electronic address: jhay@usc.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

More research is needed on the health effects of marijuana use. Results of previous studies indicate that marijuana could alleviate certain factors of metabolic syndrome, such as obesity.

METHODS:

Data on 6281 persons from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2012 were used to estimate the effect of marijuana use on cardiometabolic risk factors. The reliability of ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models was tested by replacing marijuana use as the risk factor of interest with alcohol and carbohydrate consumption. Instrumental variable methods were used to account for the potential endogeneity of marijuana use.

RESULTS:

OLS models show lower fasting insulin, insulin resistance, body mass index, and waist circumference in users compared with nonusers. However, when alcohol and carbohydrate intake substitute for marijuana use in OLS models, similar metabolic benefits are estimated. The Durbin-Wu-Hausman tests provide evidence of endogeneity of marijuana use in OLS models, but instrumental variables models do not yield significant estimates for marijuana use.

CONCLUSION:

These findings challenge the robustness of OLS estimates of a positive relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, insulin resistance, body mass index, and waist circumference.

KEYWORDS:

Instrumental variables; Marijuana use; Metabolic health; Multivariate linear regression

PMID:
25743435
DOI:
10.1016/j.annepidem.2015.01.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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