You can almost bet that anytime you smoke weed, you'll get a case of “the munchies!” Weed smokers all know the feeling: an insatiable, fierce hunger for something. You might begin to crave potato chips, cookies, BBQ wings—who knows? Different highs can cause you to crave different things at different times.
The Effects Of THC And Hunger
Scientists have worked for years to understand how marijuana stimulates the appetite. It appears the cannabinoid
THC causes sensitivity to flavors and scents, and convinces the brain it's hungry through neural networks known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux
led a team of European neuroscientists in a study involving mice. They found that THC fits into receptors in the brain's olfactory bulb
. This significantly increased the animal's ability to smell food more acutely, and caused the mice to want to eat more.
Are There Benefits Of The Munchies?
While most people enjoy the munchies as a pleasant side effect of weed, for others it can be a very beneficial thing. Many people use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Sometimes it is to help with chronic pain, sleeplessness, anxiety, or other conditions.
For some people, maintaining a healthy appetite can be difficult. People that undergo chemotherapy can not always eat as well as they could because of nausea caused by the treatments. Many people smoke joints
or eat weed because it helps relieve nausea and gives them an appetite again.
Cancer patients may not be the only ones that can benefit from having the munchies. A person with Alzheimer's disease may forget to eat regularly. Cannabis can help them remember to eat because their appetite is stimulated, so they stand a better chance of getting the nutrition they need because they feel hungry.
Will The Munchies Cause Weight Gain?
The myth about marijuana making you pack on extra pounds may not be true after all. Several studies have shown that in healthy individuals, it can have an opposite effect. In 2011 a study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology
and it concluded obesity rates in non-marijuana users were higher than those that had used weed.
Tips To Prevent The Munchies
Not everyone enjoys getting the munchies. If you're trying to stick to a diet to lose weight, getting the munchies can throw your entire day out of whack. Breaking an eating schedule that you have been trying hard to maintain could lead to overeating at other times even if you are not high. Even if you aren't trying to lose weight, the munchies can sometimes make you feel bloated and lethargic because you can tend to eat too much when you're not even really hungry!
So, how can you avoid getting the munchies or at least have a shot at controlling them? There are several things you can do to manage crazy munchie madness.
One of the best ways to combat munchies if you smoke weed regularly is to also eat regularly. Try to stay on a regular meal schedule three times a day, and include a snack or two so the cravings aren't so bad.
Use Fat Instead of Sugar-Based Edibles
If you use weed in baked goods like cookies and brownies, you know that while you are getting high and satisfying the munchies at the same time, you are also consuming a lot of sugar. Try using cannabis butter or cannabis coconut oil in healthier savory dishes that don't have as much sugar.
Plan Other Activities
Have an activity planned to distract you from your munchies. If you have a video game set up, a board game to play with someone, or a craft you can work on, that can help keep you focused on something other than food.
Practice Oral Hygiene
Keep your mouth feeling clean and fresh. Right after you get high, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with mouthwash or use a mouth spray. This is not only good hygiene, it might help you to not crave cookies or chips.
Try A Different Strain
With all of the different strains of cannabis that are available, you might be able to find a strain that doesn't trigger your appetite. Try a strain that's high in CBD — ask your budtender for a recommendation.
Don't Keep Snacks Around
One of the simplest ways to beat the munchies is to just not have any food available! If it's not in the house, you can't eat it.
Make Healthy Snacks Ahead of Time
Make up your snacks beforehand. Keep healthier choices available such as yogurt, nuts, fruit, and other healthy things that will be just as yummy when you're baked!
You can also get in a little exercise before you get stoned. Burn off some extra calories so if you do decide to munchie binge after you're high, it won't be such a big deal.
Pick A Healthy Recipe To Make
You might pick out a recipe you've been wanting to try before you get stoned. Once you have had a few hits, you can get cooking in the kitchen, and by the time the munchies hit, you'll have a healthy dish ready to eat. Cooking when you're high is one of the best things in the world — if you haven't tried it, you really should.
Keep Healthy Snacks In Your Stash Box
If you have a weed stash box
where you keep all of your cannabis supplies, include a few healthy snacks for after you get high, like a couple of granola bars, or smoked almonds, or dried fruit.
The munchies aren't a bad thing. They're part of getting high. If you use weed for recreational purposes or for medical reasons, enjoy every aspect of it, including a robust appetite. Bon appetit!