Why Does Marijuana Give You the Munchies?
Originally posted on 17th December 2018, Updated on 18th February 2020
Anyone who knows anything about weed might associate junk foods like potato chips, candy and sugary drinks with a ‘case of the munchies’. The funny reference may seem like a myth but in actuality it’s a scientific fact. Certain compounds found in cannabis strains are proven to be stimulants of appetite. Which is a benefit that is used by many patients suffering from cancer or other conditions that depress your want to eat. But for every other smoker, it might have you waking up in a pile of wrappers that you regret for the diet you’re trying to keep. So, why does weed make you hungry? Here we’ll explore what’s behind the ‘munchies’. While sharing how you can steer clear of those common unhealthy choices.
What are the munchies?
Put simply, the munchies is a term for the sudden urge to stuff your face after a weed smoking sesh. With inhibitions low, consumers typically turn to junk foods they crave. But in reality the term is just marijuana’s appetite stimulating effect. Which is proven science that’s just hard to physically avoid.
THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to provide a plethora of beneficial effects. By working with internal receptors, THC activates and stimulates actions that wouldn’t normally be felt. Specifically, pro-opiomelancortin (POMC) neurons found in the brain. These are neurons responsible for controlling appetite stimulation. The POMC neurons send signals from your brain to your body indicating when you’re full. After consuming THC, this signal switches to stimulating endorphins that increase appetite instead. Rather than sending a message to stop.
THC also stimulates a key hormone that is responsible for feeling hungry. So, even if you’re not feeling famished, THC releases the hormone ghrelin. This hormone is responsible for feelings of hunger. Not only that, but you may notice enjoying the act of eating far more after consuming THC. Of course, there’s a scientific explanation for that pleasurable effect, too. THC has also been found to stimulate dopamine, which is responsible for feeling pleasure. Hence, why eating high seems to be so much more enjoyable than not.
Last but not least, is the heightening of your senses from THC. When your smell and taste sensitivity increase, almost anything can be crave-worthy and taste better, too.
For most weed smokers, the urge to eat is nothing but a detriment to staying fit or trim. But, getting a sudden urge to eat isn’t always a bad thing. Especially for those suffering from conditions like cancer, or HIV that depress the need or want to eat all together. While most consumers see the munchies as a case to beat, some are using it to their medical advantage. The appetite stimulating effects are also paving new paths for treating eating disorders, too.
Strains to use for munchie driven effects
Because all cannabis strains are slightly different in genetics, certain strains will cause the s appetite stimulation more than others. Whether you’re looking to boost appetite, or avoid a late night munchie session - here are the top 5 strains that are effective in increasing the feeling to eat.
The potent Blue Dream strain boosts THC levels around 15-18%. A sativa dominant hybrid delivers aromas that are berry scented, and peppery. With a powerful buzz to match the potent aromas. Effects are well balanced with nearly equal indica and sativa traits. The strain stimulates appetites with mellowing effects that can relax the body and mind.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) is a sweet strain that will leave you wanting a box of cookies yourself. The aromas are cravable by themselves, and stimulates appetite among other beneficial effects. Carrying high levels of THC from 25-28%, GSC is uplifting and calming with a long lasting buzz to add.
A hulk of a strain, Bruce Banner is effective at stimulating appetites while providing citrusy herbal scents. The hybrid strain is highly potent with THC levels reaching nearly 30%. Delivering effects that are relaxing and euphoric, that are impressive at banishing pain, too.
A classic strain, Sour Diesel carries high levels of THC usually around 20-25%. The indica dominant hybrid is potent and pungent in gassy aromas. Responsible for a cerebral high while mellowing and relaxing the body. Sour Diesel is ideal for pain, mood-elevating effects and, stimulating the appetite as well.
A perfect strain to wake and bake with, Amnesia Haze delivers an energetic and uplifting buzz. The citrus and peppery scented buds are highly potent and equally fulfilling with effects. THC levels hover around 20% efficiently stimulating appetites from a euphoric high.
Avoid a case of the munchies
Of course, there are a few ways that you can avoid eating too much. Especially if one of your favorite strains is high in appetite inducing effects. By using the power of mind over matter, and making a few simple changes before lighting up you can conquer the need to eat while high.
Here are a few tips and tricks to suppress the urge to give into the munchies.
- Keep busy - By pre-occupying your mind, hands or body, you may be able to avoid stuffing your face. Essentially by keeping busy you’re avoiding the need to fulfil the hunger you may falsely feel. Try playing video games, making art, exercising or going for a walk.
- Keep hydrated - If you’re keeping your waist-line in mind but can’t fight the urge to consume something - try hydrating, instead. By drinking water or low-calorie beverages you’re able to avoid sugary snacks or junk foods.
- Prepare beforehand - If you’re prone to the munchies, prepare ahead of time. Exercising or eating prior to consuming can hinder the hints of hunger you’ll soon feel. If you can’t fight the urge then stock your pantry with healthy snacks Making the choice of fruits, vegetables or other nutritionally beneficial foods be your only option. By doing this you’ll stick to your diet while still enjoying that munchie feeling.
If all else fails, try a different strain. When you avoid strains known for stimulating appetites , you can avoid overindulging from the start.
Good or bad, the Munchies are real
While many myths still surround cannabis and its use, increasing studies are proving some of them to be true. In the case of the munchies, THC is undoubtedly the culprit that fuels these food binges. Whether you’re using the appetite stimulation to your benefit, or trying to avoid - we can’t deny that the proof is in the pudding. By avoiding or using our Top 5 strains for the munchies, or implementing new practices, you can successfully avoid or dive into the munchies, including that pudding, too.