You may be well acquainted with the superior sensation in your belly after you smoke weed. The weed munchies usually sink in your body in about half an hour, and when this happens, you may feel like you are going to devour the entire fridge. Just Because of that one small bud you smoked. Well, if your buds are high in THC concentration, the greater the chances you’ll get the weed munchies.
THC, which is the active marijuana component that gives you the ‘high and flies’ sensation, acts on specific centers in the brain that include hunger and sense of smell. So basically, the very reason that makes you high is the same why you may be experiencing hunger along with it.
While for many years solid answers have eluded scientists, research in the last couple of years has provided many valuable insights into why weed is giving you the munchies.
How THC is Affecting Your Brain: Mood & Munchies
The brain regulates every function and aspect of your body. THC is a psychoactive, mind-altering component of the marijuana, therefore it is capable of influencing your brain.
THC has the power to control the centers of your brain that are responsible for emotion and how you are going to feel after you ingest weed, as well as the centers of the brain that take responsibility for whether you’ll feel hunger or not.
When THC reaches out to the parts of the brain that affect mood, some of us may feel euphoric or feel like laughing out loud. Others may feel aroused and into a making love mood. Someone else may also feel lethargic or experience anxiety. The exact effect on mood would depend on several factors, including the type of strain you’re using and how much you are ingesting. Therefore, sometimes it’s a good idea to note down the different effects you experience from consuming cannabis, by keeping a cannabis diary.
Nevertheless, after ingesting it in your body, THC will eventually also reach the part of your brain that controls your cravings for food. This is when the munchies sink in your stomach and you have to make your emergency sign-in to the kitchen and your munchies stash. We’ve all been there!
THC influences the much complex endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body to awake primeval instincts such as feeling hunger, as well as it can promote the release of a hormone called ghrelin, the primary function of which is exactly to stimulate hunger.
Weed Munchies: Hunger & Sense of Smell
In 2014, scientists came to the conclusion that there is a greater perplexity between THC and our sensation of smell. A study on mice published in the journal Nature Neuroscience reported that THC may specifically act on the brain’s receptors for smell.
During the research, the scientists observed how sensitive mice became under the influence of the odor of foods such as almonds and bananas. As a result of the THC, the rodents also chewed the food. The research confirmed that THC leads the mice to a stronger odor processing and that the effect was, without any doubt, associated with the food consumption that followed.
This appears to happen as THC complements well with the brain’s “olfactory bulb” or the cannabinoid receptor involved with the sense of smell. When the scientists genetically erased this receptor from the mice, the THC did not generate appetite, however.
In a nutshell, THC potentially stimulates a stronger smell of food, which in turn increases your appetite and your romantic dates with the fridge.
The Good Thing About Weed Munchies
Acknowledging that weed munchies stimulate appetite is a good insight for physicians who may run out of ideas on how to treat patients suffering from certain health conditions that underline a lack of appetite.
For instance, depression dulls the sense of smell. The part of the brain responsible for the sense of smell in people struggling with depression or seasonal affective depression (a specific type of depression related to the changing of the seasons), appears to be smaller than how it’s normally supposed to be.
The endocannabinoid system as well appears to be linked with conditions such as depression, since its range of roles includes influencing sleep, mood, memory, sexual drive, and appetite–all of which are to some extent affected when someone sinks into a state of depression. For what we know, THC has the ability to promote from sleep to appetite by influencing the endocannabinoid system.
According to researchers, manipulating the endocannabinoid system via its olfactory route may help improve such conditions as depression. And if the olfactory system holds a key to potentially fixing our appetite, a question remains if it could help those who struggle with obesity, too.
The Bad Thing About Getting the Munchies
The appetite-enhancing effects of marijuana are enticing, both for users and scientists. However, we all know that increased appetite may sometimes lead to gains in weight that can be harmful to our health.
The bad thing about getting the munchies–as you might imagine–is that you are going to eat a lot of junk food. Since you may feel a bit lazy after ingesting weed, or at least not in the mood to cook and prepare any healthy meal, the chances are that you’ll just grab the first bag of crispy snack you see on the shelves or order a big greasy burger to fill in the sudden hole in your stomach.
While eating junk food once in a while is okay, long-term consumption of unhealthy foods can efficiently raise your pounds, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Therefore, how you handle your munchies really comes down to your lifestyle choices and whether you seriously want to commit to healthy snacks for your weed munchies.
A Question of Lifestyle: Healthy Snacks for Munchies
It’s not difficult to practice a healthier lifestyle; of course, that is if you feel like you need some kind of change. With or without weed, healthier eating habits require routine. But should you need a boost on how to handle your stash of healthy snacks for your weed munchies, here’s a list of few tips:
- Avoid buying all kinds of fast foods. So for instance, when you go to the supermarket, avoid buying unhealthy stuff that you know you are going to eat ferociously once you get very high. Stuff like chips, fish sticks or frozen pizza rolls;
- Plan your munchies in advance. You can decide what you are going to eat when the munchies get you before you actually ingest any weed. You can prepare a fresh meal, such as a green salad containing all seasonal vegetables or a bowl of fruit salad.
- Eat diverse food. If yesterday was fruits and salads on the menu, tonight could be a night for nuts and almonds, which are well known antioxidant foods.
- Drink plenty of water. Cottonmouth is a common sensation when you smoke weed, and a lot of people make a mistake by not drinking enough water when smoking or vaping. Drink your first glass within the first 10-15 minutes after you bogart that joint: this can prevent from developing cottonmouth, which in worse cases may feel like a burning sensation in your mouth. Water may also act to delay your appetite. Fruits and salads also contain a lot of water, so they can equally help you fix both the dry mouth and hunger issue.
- Reward yourself. Okay, everything is good in moderation. You can still go back to your Doritos and burgers once in a while. Just Because it tastes so good with weed.
Consuming healthy foods while you are high may actually change your sensation of high–in a meaningful way, like optimizing your high. You may get better ideas on how to use your brain under the influence, or if you are frequently experiencing drowsiness and lethargy after consuming weed, healthy food can pick you up. Healthy foods will enable you to better enjoy any sensation your buds may be generating throughout your body.