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It’s common knowledge that smoking marijuana increases appetite, and you have probably heard of (or experienced) “the munchies.” But what’s the reason behind this phenomenon? And is it necessarily a bad thing?

In this post, Cannabis & Glass, Ontario, Oregon’s largest dispensary, gives you all the details about why this happens and how to use cannabis more responsibly.

Marijuana and Your Appetite

You likely know something about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes you feel “high.” You might also know that marijuana gives you the munchies. But this is more than a stereotype; there’s science to back up why you reach for snack foods after enjoying a spliff or edible.

In addition to the central nervous system, the human body relies on the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The name might make you think of cannabis, and you’d be right in one sense. By studying the effects of THC, researchers have come to understand the existence of the ECS. This system plays a crucial role in your immune and inflammatory responses, sleep regulation, and memory.

Because the ECS also regulates the appetite, when THC binds to the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), the result can be the munchies. Without a clear understanding of the effects of marijuana, the risk of developing unhealthy eating habits increases.

Why Do You Get the Munchies When You Consume Marijuana?

Why Does Marijuana Give You the Munchies

Sensory enhancement is one of the most common effects of marijuana. Cannabis’s calming effects reduce stress and make people more aware of their bodies. One result of this is a heightened perception of tastes and smells.

Eating while high encourages you to associate food intake with the dopamine rush that follows. Marijuana dulls the satiation that would normally set in at a reasonable point, replacing it with a feeling of euphoria. Left unchecked, this vicious cycle could pave the way to overeating.

Possible Appetite-Related Benefits of Marijuana

Why Does Marijuana Give You the Munchies

While the effects of cannabis on the feeding behavior of healthy people may be concerning, cannabis can also help those with certain medical conditions. Recent breakthroughs in medical intervention have confirmed suspicions that CBD and marijuana can be a force for good.

Since locating the receptors that stimulate appetite, scientists have developed drugs to block those same receptors to treat obesity. However, these drugs are still in their infancy and have brought about some concerning side effects in isolation. Still, the innovations they make possible can only improve from here, giving fresh hope to those living with obesity.

Weight gain can be helpful for those with HIV-associated wasting syndrome, strengthening their body’s resilience against further illness and promoting a stronger immune system. People with anorexia nervosa also stand to benefit from cannabis, as do those experiencing loss of muscle and bone due to cancer.

In addition to the appetite increase, marijuana can help with pain management while side-stepping the often dangerous side effects of prescription pain medications. This is especially good news for those who are worried about developing addictions to pharmaceutical narcotics. Wider acceptance may take some time, and a deeper understanding of all the mechanisms involved is necessary to maximize the potential at hand.

Managing the Munchies

munchies after smoking marijuana

Saying that marijuana leads directly to weight gain is something of a misnomer. It’s ultimately your decision to consume more food than you need that leads to weight gain. The studies are inconclusive for now, but anecdotal evidence is enough to suggest proceeding with caution.

The bigger issue here isn’t the desire to eat when you’re high, per se; it’s the fact that the munchies tend to increase your desire for sweet, salty, or fatty foods. Many edibles on the market containing marijuana cater to this trend and are loaded with sugars, fats, and salts. While tasty, these are not healthy to eat in excess, even without the THC.

None of this should deter you from enjoying weed. Just pace yourself and keep unhealthy foods out of the house if you are prone to the munchies, especially if you partake alone.

Visit Cannabis & Glass For All Your Marijuana Needs

As proud purveyors of all things cannabis in Ontario, OR, and beyond, Cannabis & Glass offers the largest selection of bud, cartridges, CBD lotions, and flower in the area. View our Ontario dispensary menu online, to see what appeals to you. Or, if you’re out and about stop by our storefront today!