Of all the good things marijuana can do for you — enhance your hearing at reggae concerts, make you fall in love with otherwise unattractive people, inspire you say profound things while sitting in a hot tub — this one is pretty amazing.

Researchers using five years worth of National Health and Nutrition Survey data compared 579 regular cannabis users to thousands of non-users:

Researchers out of Boston compared insulin and glucose levels in the subjects and found that those who had used weed in the past month “had lower levels of fasting insulin and … higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C),” according to a summary.

(HDL is known as “good cholesterol”).

Wow. The implication is that marijuana could be used to control blood sugar levels in diabetics:

Current users had 16% lower fasting insulin levels than participants who reported never having used marijuana in their lifetimes.

The study also found correlations between thinner people and marijuana use — an attribute that has been noted in previous research.

The academics aren't sure how pot helps control insulin, but they want to know more. Joseph S. Alpert, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of

Medicine, Tucson:

We desperately need a great deal more basic and clinical research into the short- and long-term effects of marijuana in a variety of clinical settings such as cancer, diabetes, and frailty of the elderly.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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