What Causes Cannabis to Make You Hungry?

The munchies are commonly associated with cannabis. Many users report feeling hungry after smoking, vaping or eating the plant. What causes this? Are there any risks in getting high and then eating a lot of junk food afterwards? We take a look at what science has to say on the matter. 

To an outsider, it might seem like getting high and then bingeing on sugary snacks would be a bad idea. But for many people who use cannabis regularly, the combination of these two activities is something they do almost every day. 

In both scientific and colloquial terms, this phenomenon is known as the ‘munchies’. However, what causes them – and are there any risks associated with getting high and eating a whole bag of chips after?

What Causes the Munchies?

The munchies are commonly reported side effects of cannabis consumption. They are often reported by users who smoke or eat cannabis edibles. But what causes them? A wide variety of hypotheses have been put forward to explain these munchies. 

These include: Hypotheses about how eating leads to munchies are less common. However, some cannabis users believe that eating leads to munchies for two main reasons.

Why Does Cannabis Make You Hungry?

As we’ve discussed, there are a wide variety of theories behind why cannabis makes people hungry. However, the most widely accepted explanation is the cannabinoid-mediated theory of feeding. 

This theory suggests that the chemicals in cannabis that make you high also cause the munchies by regulating appetite and hunger signals in the brain. This theory is supported by two main facts: The first of these facts is widely accepted as a core feature of cannabis, and is found in nearly all strains of the plant.

In fact, it’s considered to be one of the main reasons behind the plant’s medicinal potential. The second fact is less widely accepted, but is nevertheless a common hypothesis among cannabis researchers.

Are There Any Risks to Getting High and Ate Lots of Junk Food?

As we’ve seen, the cannabinoid-mediated theory of feeding suggests that the chemicals in cannabis that make you high also cause the munchies. This theory suggests that the risks of getting high and eating lots of junk food are connected to the risks associated with cannabis’s effects on the body. 

In other words, eating a lot of junk food after getting high is likely to have negative health effects. These could include weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer. Most of the research conducted on cannabis’s negative health effects has been done on regular users. But the same effects are likely to be found in occasional users too. 

These negative health effects are likely to be worsened by using cannabis edibles. Since taking an edible usually gives the user a much longer and more intense high than smoking or vaping cannabis.

How to Avoid the Munchies While Stoned

Obviously, it would be great to avoid the munchies altogether. But as we have seen, cannabis’s effects on the body and brain mean that it is impossible to do so. Instead, the best thing you can do is to avoid eating lots of unhealthy junk food

Instead, try eating some wholesome meals or healthy snacks that are high in fibre, protein and healthy fats. Eating foods like these will keep you full for longer. As a result, you are less likely to overeat or overindulge in unhealthy snacks. These wholesome snacks could include a bowl of granola, a peanut butter and banana sandwich, a tofu and broccoli stir-fry, or a bowl of oats or muesli. These snacks are high in fibre, protein and healthy fats. They will keep you full for longer and are less likely to cause weight gain and other negative health effects.

Final Words

As we’ve seen, the munchies are commonly reported side effects of cannabis. However, there are a wide variety of theories behind why cannabis makes people hungry. 

These range from metabolic and endocrinological effects to the activation of certain cannabis receptors in the brain. And while it’s impossible to avoid the munchies altogether, there are ways to avoid unhealthy snacking. Instead, try eating wholesome meals or healthy snacks that are high in fibre, protein and healthy fats.

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