Have you ever smoked a joint and suddenly felt like eating sweet or salty junk food? There is no simple answer to why smoking weed suddenly gives you the urge to eat rich and delicious food. The sure thing is it happens when the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and cannabinoids found outside the body, like THC, interact in a complex way.
Everyone who has ever had the munchies knows how powerful the feeling can be, from the strong urges to eat to indulging in salty and sweet treats. As cannabis research continues to grow, it’s good to see that we’re learning more about how marijuana affects hunger.
In this blog, we will talk about how your body knows when it is time to eat, why smoking weed can make you feel hungrier, and how cannabis may help users manage weight gain and appetite stimulation.
How Signals of Hunger Work
Even though we feel hungry in our stomachs, the feeling is controlled by our brains. Your brain and the rest of your body are linked by a complex network of chemical signals that move in various directions.
Everything starts in the hypothalamus, which controls the chemical signals sent when we see, smell, or taste something. Just thinking about food is enough to wake up and stimulate the neurotransmitters in your brain that make you feel hungry.
There are two different groups of neurons in the hypothalamus. One group makes you feel hungry, while the other works to stop you from feeling hungry. Hunger is also caused by hormones released when food is digested.
Ghrelin and leptin are two hormones that can be found in the blood. These hormones connect to neurons in the brain and make people hungry or make them feel full. If your blood sugar drops, the level of ghrelin in your blood will go up. This will stimulate the nerve cells in your hypothalamus that make you feel hungry. When you feel full, leptin levels rise in your blood to tell you to stop eating. This raises the activity of a neuron in the hypothalamus that makes you feel less hungry.
How Cannabinoids Make You Hungry
Cannabis is good at making people feel less hungry because of how it affects the systems in the body that are in charge of hunger. In studies with mice that had been fasting for a while, the endocannabinoid system was shown to use the olfactory system to improve the ability to smell, stimulating the appetite.
According to research published by the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the central nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is made up of two main parts: cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoids.
So how can cannabis consumption make you hungry? The answer lies in how THC binds to our CB1 receptors, which are linked to hunger. The ECS system allows exogenous cannabinoids like THC to interact with our cannabinoid receptors and induce a wide range of other effects.
How THC Stimulates Hunger
Neuroscientists found out in 2014 from a study done on mice that THC communicates with receptors in the olfactory area of the brain. This makes it easier for us to smell food. The sense of smell and the sense of taste are so closely linked. So when the smell of food is improved, the taste will also get better, naturally making you feel more hungry.
The feeling of hunger caused by THC is the same as the feeling of hunger that comes from fasting. In a study, when mice were not given food, their sense of smell and taste became stronger.
Cannabinoids may also make food taste sweeter. This may be why some people crave sugar more when smoking marijuana. Also, THC blocks the hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons, which are chemical signals that tell the brain you are full, from reaching the brain. In a sense, THC is an appetite stimulant.
Cannabis Strains That May Give You the Munchies
Are you one of the many cannabis consumers who want to have an increased appetite? Here are the popular cannabis strains that may induce munchies, which you can purchase online:
Purple Space Cookies
Purple Space Cookies is an Indica hybrid strain created by crossing Girl Scout Cookies and Durban Poison. It is popular for its tasty flavor and amazing appearance. Its buds are dense and elongate with dark olive green nugs coated in white crystal trichomes. Each nugget smells sweet and sugary with berry and grape overtone.
This strain originated in the western region of Canada. It can put you at ease with its mood-boosting effects. You can feel creative energy and uplifted happiness that can expand into a giggly state. The relaxing body high will then leave you feeling calm from head to toe, relieving pain and easing stress and anxiety.
Since Purple Space Cookies can help you manage your anxiety and mood swings, you will be able to eat or snack better. The THC level of this strain is around 20% to 25%.
Blueberry Strain is also an Indica hybrid that has been traced back to the ’70s and is thought to be descended from Afghan and Purple Thai. It is one of the most well-known strains on the market and even won the Best Indica award at the Cannabis Cup. Its potent effects and mouthwatering flavors induce a euphoric high that washes over you as you feel a sense of calm and ease.
The strain can be excellent for managing depression and anxiety but may increase paranoia for some. This medical marijuana may worsen any pre-existing mental illness. Its THC level is around 16% to 24% on average, which is perfect for managing conditions such as chronic fatigue and migraines.
As for the appearance, the Blueberry Strain has olive green nugs with fiery orange hairs covered in amber-colored crystal trichomes. It smells sweet, spicy, and earthy.
MK Ultra Smalls
MK Ultra Smalls is an Indica hybrid that is also a Cannabis Cup winner due to its intense cerebral effects and sedative body high. It is made by crossing OG Kush and G-13 strain, giving it some intensely powerful effects.
The strain is not for novice users due to its potency. Its cerebral head high will leave you feeling relaxed and drowsy. MK Ultra Smalls is nicknamed “The Tuna” due to its strong fish flavor. It has dense white kief-coated nugs and an earthy and sweet taste. Its THC concentration is around 20% to 22%. Other effects the strain may induce are hunger, sleepiness, and euphoria.
Black Diamond OG
Black Diamond OG is a rare Indica-dominant strain that is bred in Northern California. Its THC concentration ranges between 18% and 24%. It has remarkable frosted trichomes with orange-colored hairs shooting out of the dense nugs.
The strain will leave you feeling uplifted and euphoric, progressing through your body and developing into a calm buzz. Make sure to prepare some healthy snacks since the munchies start kicking in before you completely doze off into the night. The THC concentration of Pine Tar Kush is around 18% to 22%.
How to Control Your Hunger When You Consume Cannabis
In one study, THC is given to patients to make them hungrier and help them gain weight. Cancer patients who are getting chemotherapy and have eating disorders have said that medicinal cannabis helps them increase their food intake and stimulate their appetites, which helps them fight their illnesses.
On the other hand, some cannabis users worry that their habits will cause them to gain weight. But this is unlikely to be the case. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has a lot of data that breaks down the possible reasons why people who use cannabis tend to be less overweight than those who do not.
One of the main reasons given is that cannabinoids like CBD can help control the amount of insulin in the body. In addition, cannabinoids protect cannabis consumers from chronic diseases linked to being overweight.
Weight Management and Weed
Even though cannabis might temporarily make you feel more hungry, this is not always the case for some people, especially those who use it often. A research report published in 2018 in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research suggests that a regular cannabis user may have a lower rate of obesity and a lower body mass index. The study shows that cannabis may be a better way to lose weight than surgery or drugs for many people.
The researchers concluded that consistent cannabis use over time is linked to a normal body mass index. When anxiety and stress go down, people are less likely to snack. Another idea is that it helps people sleep better, which is important for keeping a healthy weight.
Appetite Control During a Snack Attack
Research has consistently shown that cannabinoids stimulate appetite. But maybe you want to avoid getting hungry and want to know how to stop having the munchies. So, is it even possible to stop the urge to snack completely?
If you don’t want to feel like eating when you are high on medical marijuana, eat a big meal before you take any of the substances. Making sure your stomach is full is the best way to tell the rest of your body that you have just eaten. You might also be able to control your cravings best if you combine cannabis with a weed companion food like black or green tea, which have extra ingredients that might make you feel less hungry.
You could also use CBD and THC together to cancel out the effect of THC on making you feel hungry. Or you could try to drink a lot of water. Maintaining a healthy level of hydration and drinking a lot of water may help tell your body that your stomach is full. The most effective way to stop having munchies is to build up a tolerance to the effects of cannabis that make you hungry.
Other Interesting Facts About Munchies
If you use marijuana often and know that you will get the munchies at some point, there are ways to make your cravings for sweet and salty foods less intense. The good news is you do not automatically have a strong urge to eat when you consume cannabis oil or any other weed product.
If you have fewer endocannabinoids or cannabinoid receptors in the brain’s olfactory region, THC is less likely to make you hungry. Also, research shows that using cannabis regularly and eating after using it doesn’t necessarily mean you will break the scales. Studies have shown that people who use cannabis tend to eat more calories but also have less body fat than people who don’t use cannabis.
One thing you can do is plan your meals around when you smoke. It may be better for you to eat some healthy snacks to satisfy your hunger rather than stuff yourself with junk food, sugars, and carbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you get hungry when you are high?
Smoking weed could make you eat more than usual because THC makes your sense of smell and taste stronger. This process happens in the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which helps control feelings, memory, how the body responds to pain, and appetite. THC can bind to receptors in the ECS system.
Most of the time, our brains make chemicals on their own. These chemicals are called cannabinoids. Because these chemicals can fit into the same receptors, THC was able to mimic their effects. As was already said, THC binds to receptors in the brain’s olfactory bulb. This significantly affects how well you can smell food, which urges you to eat something.
Does Sativa make you hungry?
Since the Middle Ages, people have known Cannabis sativa can make people hungry. The strain can give a strong desire to eat and makes the food you eat tastier and more enjoyable. When you smoke Indica strains, your brain gets stimulated, making you think you are hungry.
While both strains can induce the munchies, Sativa strains have a higher concentration of THC. Each strain of marijuana has its mix of cannabinoids, and terpenes, which are the chemicals that cause its effects. Because of these different combinations, some cannabis cultivars are better for making strains that make you want to eat, while others are better for making strains that make you feel less hungry.
Why does weed make you hungry?
The main way cannabis makes you hungry is by causing THC and CB1 receptors in your brain to interact. Even though terpenes and other less well-known cannabinoids are likely to have secondary and complementary effects, we do not have enough conclusive information to say for sure.
Keep in mind that the effects of cannabis vary from person to person. Depending on the concentration of THC, CBD, and other compounds, some strains will likely make you more hungry. The best way to determine which strains will induce the munchies is to try different ones.
What type of strain makes you hungry?
For a strain to be called a “munchies strain,” it needs to have a lot of THC, which will make you hungrier. This cannabinoid works with a hormone in your body called ghrelin. It does this by getting your brain to tell your stomach that you are hungry.
High-THC Indicas and Sativas can make you feel hungry since they can heighten your senses. It makes food smell even better, promoting hunger and making you give in to food cravings. Hemp and cannabis strains with low levels of THC, on the other hand, are less likely to make you feel hungry.
No one method works for everyone when it comes to cannabis and controlling your appetite. On the other hand, regular cannabis use over a long period may indirectly lead to a lower rate of obesity.
If you want to reduce hunger and maintain lower body fat percentages, you should prepare or eat healthy and tasty snacks before you start consuming cannabis. Also, opt for cannabis strains with lower THC concentrations.
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