What Causes Cannabis-Induced Munchies?
Imagine this: You are hanging with your friends, consuming marijuana, when you are suddenly very hungry. The desire to eat something sweet or salty – or anything rich in carbohydrates – is suddenly *very* intense.
Now, if you’ve ever smoked or eaten weed, you might be familiar with this situation.
But have you ever wondered why you have these sudden cravings after using pot? What’s the reason behind these cannabis-related hunger pangs?
In this article, we’ll try to investigate the reasons behind getting “munchies“ after smoking cannabis.
First Things First: What Is (Are?) ‘The Munchies’?
Cannabis is a very complex compound. It includes a number of cannabinoids, the most prominent of them being THC.
THC, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive compound that creates a state of high for the user. In addition to giving you a happy buzz, THC can make you hungry – very hungry.
You see, the chemical has a stimulating effect on the endocannabinoid system located in your brain. This stimulation, in turn, can increase the production of a hormone known as ghrelin, which can increase your appetite.
THC interacts with primitive areas of the brain that influence emotions and appetite. In fact, it can heighten your senses of smell and taste. While the scientific mechanisms are complex, the increased sensitivity to smell basically makes the aroma of food more appealing.
Additionally, THC releases dopamine. This makes eating or snacking a more enjoyable affair thanks to dopamine’s control over the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. In other words, smoking or eating weed can lower your inhibitions as well as making you very hungry.
So it’s this increased urge to consume a lot of food that is known as “the munchies.”
Can Getting ‘The Munchies’ Actually Be a Good Thing?
Experts believe appetite stimulation is an important therapeutic effect of cannabis. Patients suffering from certain mental and physical problems require medication to increase their appetite, but these drugs are powerful and can cause unwanted side-effects.
A person undergoing chemotherapy, for example, can lose an unhealthy amount of weight owing to the treatment. Patients as well as doctors report that smoking weed helps patients eat by boosting their appetite and reducing the intensity of their pain.
In addition to cancer, there are a host of other ailments that cannabis appetite stimulation could be potentially useful for.
But There’s Bad News Too – Higher Weight Risks
Often when you get hungry you’ll find yourself reaching for that package of chips or a tub of ice cream. And if you have to regularly consume weed, it’ll ultimately lead to an increased intake of junk food.
For obese people or people who experience disordered eating patterns, a case of the munchies can be even stronger, with the release of dopamine contributing to the intensity. If you aren’t careful about what you consume, you can end up gaining a lot of weight through increased consumption of unhealthy foods.
Fortunately, there are two ways to control this problem; opting for healthy snacks and avoiding high-calorie edibles.
Check the internet to find easy and delicious snacking recipes, and keep them ready before you start smoking weed. In addition, you might consider avoiding cannabis edibles like candies, brownies, or lollipops, as these will only add to the calories, resulting in weight gain.
Whether you smoke weed or use it in your food, it is very likely that the interaction of the compound with the endocannabinoid system will increase your appetite. It’s basically our brains ensuring survival by making sure that we eat.
To curb the weight risks associated with the munchies, have a stash of healthy snacks that are low in sugar and calories ready before any smoking session.