Why Does Weed Make You Hungry?

by Brad P

Weed makes you hungry

If you’re reading this, you’re probably high and hungry. Welcome, we’ve been expecting you. While we don’t have any chips, we do have answers as to why weed makes you so damn hungry. So, grab a snack, order another vape cart, and listen up, because we’re dropping some serious knowledge.

Does cannabis make food taste better?

The snozberries taste like snozberries. But like way better, man.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there before: chicken tacos with a side of Funyuns and a pint of ice cream for dessert? Compliments to the stoned guy fumbling around in the kitchen.

According to science though, cannabis actually does make food taste better. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in our olfactory bulb, which controls our sense of smell and therefore our perception of flavor. THC tells those cannabinoid receptors to get to work, and the result is that aromas, particularly that of delicious baked goods and fried food (this part might be hearsay), are more intense. The intense aromas trick our brains into thinking food tastes even better than usual.

Research has also shown that THC increases dopamine production. If you aren’t familiar, dopamine is a chemical in our brains that helps control our reward and pleasure centers. When dopamine increases, our inhibitions are lowered and the experience of eating is more pleasurable than usual. So, as far as your brain knows, cannabis actually does make food taste better.

Sounds like it might be time for an amateur science experiment. You get the pizza, we’ll bring the weed.

But seriously, why does weed make me so hungry?

Now we know that weed makes food smell extra intense which can heighten the pleasure of eating. But, that still doesn’t explain why we can finish dinner, burn a bowl, and suddenly be starving again. You can’t actually be hungry again so soon… right?

Obviously you aren’t actually starving, but cannabis convinces your brain that you are. In 2015, Yale University conducted a study on mice that showed that cannabis caused the parts of your brain that normally tell you you’re full to suddenly turn coat and send your body hunger signals.

According to the lead researcher of the study, “It’s like pressing a car’s brakes and accelerating instead,” he said. “We were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full. It fools the brain’s central feeding system.”

So, when that bowl of Glue’s got you searching for snacks, blame it on your brain. You can always add some extra cardio… next week.

Medicinal cannabis and the munchies

While the munchies might have recreational smokers considering an extra trip to the gym, it can be a miracle for many medicinal users.

The use of cannabis to help cancer patients experiencing nausea during chemotherapy treatments has been long documented. In a CNN interview of health practitioners about medical marijuana, many doctors say patients have told them they simply can’t eat without using cannabis first. 

One doctor spoke about her personal experience with her Dad using medicinal cannabis, saying “My dad tried cannabis when traditional pain meds were marginally effective and caused terrible side effects, including constipation and fatigue. Not only did he get relief from his pain, but he also saw a welcomed increased in appetite.” 

Can weed ever curb your appetite?

Alright, if we know why weed makes you hungry, can’t we create cannabis that curbs your appetite instead? Well, just like using pantyhose over your vacuum hose to salvage a dropped bowl, you’re not the first person to have this high-dea.

In 2006, a European pharmaceutical company released a weight loss drug called Rimonabant, which was basically a reverse cannabis to your brain. Instead of sending your cannabinoid receptors into overdrive, it was designed to block them. It totally worked for weight loss, but there were some extremely negative unintended side effects.

Turns out the cannabinoid receptors it was blocking weren’t just responsible for the pleasure centers that control eating, but also mood. So, with their pleasure receptors blocked, patients began experiencing severe depression and Rimonabant was pulled from the market in 2008. 

Could cannabis conquer where pharmaceuticals failed? According to CNN, researchers in Colorado have been experimenting with strains high in THCV rather than THC, which is an antagonist of the same endocannabinoid receptor that usually promotes eating. That means it could potentially prevent the munchies, but more research needs to be done to make sure it won’t have the same negative side effects as Rimonabant. 

With scientists blazing the path in cannabis research, we’re excited to see if an appetite curbing strain could be on the horizon. But for now, pass the snacks.

The more you know

Now that we’ve explained the science of why you get hungry when you’re high, it’s time to put that knowledge to the test. With weed delivered to your door in minutes, science has never been simpler. Don’t forget the snacks. You know… for science.

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