Why Does I Get The Munchies?
If you’ve ever smoked weed before you likely know about the munchies. The munchies are a distinct feeling that weed brings, making you feel a sudden strong appetite for anything you have in the pantry (especially junk food). Hard to avoid after a large bong rip sometimes.
In fact, the munchies are such a large part of getting high that there are plenty of people who bring snacks out to group smoke sessions specifically for when the munchies hit them.
For a long time, people have wondered why it is that weed makes us more hungry, and luckily, science has recently answered that question. If you’re interested in this question read on, as this guide will tell you everything you need to know about how and why weed impacts your appetite.
Why Does Cannabis Make Me Hungry?
The short answer to why weed increases our appetite is because marijuana tricks our brains into thinking we are hungrier than we are. In fact, it tricks our brain not only into thinking we are a little hungry, but it tricks us into thinking we are starving. This is why we seem to be able to reach into the chip bag endlessly without ever feeling full because your brain is telling your body that you need to consume as much as possible– because it thinks you are starving.
Our brains contain specific neurons that have the sole job of suppressing our appetite, they know when to do this by communicating with other neurons that tell them if we have enough energy/food.
When we smoke weed, with any method (big bong, bubbler, joint or pipe) , these neurons responsible for suppressing appetite are shut down completely. When you smoke, regardless of your body potentially being full or having sufficient energy, the neurons that shut down appetite are unresponsive to this information, and thus, you stay hungry.
This is why weed works so well for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Chemotherapy makes patients feel extremely weak and sick, and they often feel nauseous to the point of losing their appetite. The only thing that seems to be able to stimulate their appetite again and get them to eat is weed. And that’s because weed is turning off the neurons telling them not to eat, despite them feeling extremely sick.
The Science Behind This
Believe it or not, our brains have cannabinoids, and these cannabinoids help us to regulate our appetite, mood, sleep cycles, etc. Weed contains THC, and THC latches onto our cannabinoids and has the ability to change what our natural cannabinoids would have otherwise told our bodies to feel. Specifically, studies have found that THC messes with the cannabinoids in our hypothalamus, which is what’s responsible for managing hunger. When THC reaches the cannabinoids in the hypothalamus a flip is switched from your body is full to you are hungry.
Side note, In addition to this, THC also affects other neurons and cannabinoids in the body, including those involved with smell and taste. The effects of the THC interfering in these regions causes food to smell and taste more intensely, which may also contribute to an increased appetite since food that you like will smell and taste better.
A lot of people think that weed simply puts us in the mood for food, but in reality, what the science tells us is that weed literally attaches to our cannabinoids and shutdowns our neurons and in turn, makes us feel starved— regardless of it you just ate the biggest dinner ever, if you smoke weed you will feel hungry.
Will I gain Weight From the Munchies?
Since you eat more when you smoke you must gain weight when you smoke weed right? Nope. Luckily, the munchies do not generally contribute to weight gain. In fact, people who smoke weed often, aka stoners, are more likely to be skinny than overweight.
There are a few potential reasons for this, with one of them simply being that people who smoke weed more tend to just be the types of people who are skinny because they work out often or have good genetics. And while that’s possibly an explanation as to why some people are skinny surely it’s not the case for everyone. So why then, does weed not make us gain weight?
The answer is that weed increases our metabolism. So while weed increases our appetite it correspondingly increases our metabolism. Our metabolism is responsible for turning our food into energy and is what keeps us at a certain weight. The higher your metabolism the more food you can eat and still not gain weight, so weed increasing our metabolism is certainly a good thing in that respect.
Of course, how much you smoke and what you eat are a factor. If you smoke every day and only eat high-caloric junk food then it is certainly possible to gain weight. Even a high metabolism cannot overcome a diet consisting of unlimited amounts of little Debbie desserts. That said, if you are eating a little less and healthier compared to a diet like that, then you have good odds of either maintaining or even losing some weight.
Healthy Munchies Snacks
If you’re unsure of what healthy snacks you can eat while you have the munchies then the list below will help. In general, look for foods that are low in calories and processed sugars.
The first healthy munchy food you need to add to your snack rotation is sweet potato fries. Sweet potato fries offer plenty of nutritional benefits and still taste spectacular. The second healthy munchie snack to consider is peanut butter and celery, a classic. If you want to get fancy you can add raisins to the peanut butter to make ants on a log.
Just make sure you don’t forget you did this, once you’re high you might think there really are ants all over your snack (just kidding). If you need something sweet, you should opt for chocolate-covered almonds, strawberries, or bananas. Any of these three dessert snacks will at least be better than the processed store-bought junk food and they’ll taste even better too.
Weed makes us hungry because the THC in weed attaches to our cannabinoids (neurotransmitters) that are responsible for telling the body we’re full and shuts them down.
The good news is, that while weed might make you hungrier you probably won’t gain weight– since weed also increases our metabolism. If you are worried about it though, or just want to be healthier you can try some healthier munchy snacks like sweet potato fries, ants on a log, or chocolate-covered almonds.
Now that you know how and why weed makes you hungry, you can be the nerdy one in the next smoke session and explain this to everyone else! Better than that, you should feel secure in knowing that the munchies won’t cause you to gain weight.