How Cocaine Makes Users Skinny

Clínica Gressus

A new study examines the weird ways cocaine changes people’s metabolisms.

By Francie Diep 

Cocaine U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration


Cocaine has long had a reputation for keeping users slim—check out this 1990 article from the Los Angeles Times—and there’s some science to back that up, too. Now, a new study of cocaine-addicted men examines how, exactly, cocaine makes users thinner.

Cocaine can fundamentally alter the body’s metabolism, the study found. Even though addicts eat more and have altered protein levels that should make them gain weight, they’re actually likely to have less body fat than non-addicts.

Knowing this could help doctors manage the weights of those who stop using cocaine, the research team, four neuroscientists from the University of Cambridge in the U.K., wrote a paper they published in the journal Appetite. Many of those who quit cocaine gain a lot of weight and reducing that effect could keep people happier…

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