After smoking cannabis, you usually start to experience sensations unimagined to the sober mind. One of the major effects is an intense hunger which has always made us wonder why does weed make you hungry?
Even if you’ve never consumed weed, you’ve probably heard people mention its ability to increase hunger, better known as “the munchies.”
Read on to find out how our bodies react to hunger under normal conditions and how consuming marijuana influences our desire to eat.
How the body normally triggers hunger
It's important to understand how hormones cooperate with the nervous system before understanding why smoking weed makes you hungry.
As humans, we evolve and explore more possibilities of this reality and how we can navigate and survive better. From hunter and gatherer times to now, the ability to order food through an app is quite an achievement.
Hunger is an intrinsic part of human nature and has been since our existence. Trying to function on an empty stomach is often an unpleasant physical sensation that’s impossible to ignore.
Appetite and hunger function by triggering an intricate chemical system that sends signals between your brain and body to release hormones.
The first thing to know is an area of your brain called the hypothalamus, which contains different neurons. The hypothalamus makes the distinction between your body being hungry or full and signals hormones to respond.
When you're hungry, your glucose levels are low, which signals the release of a hormone called ghrelin from your gut. Its role is to stimulate neurons in the hypothalamus, resulting in an increased desire to eat.
Have you ever wondered why your stomach starts to growl? Well, that's ghrelin released to signal the hypothalamus that you need food.
This chemical ultimately makes you think of all the foods you like to eat, and your body starts to anticipate feeding.
Why weed makes you super hungry, according to science
Now to find out why weed makes you hungry?
Did you know that our brains naturally produce cannabinoids and chemicals that control mood, appetite, pain reception, and memory?
The recent influx of cannabis legalization for medical and recreational purposes has encouraged research into the value of its benefits. As knowledge expands, we learn more about the connection between marijuana and appetite.
If you've ever consumed marijuana, you would've experienced an increased appetite within the first few hours, even if you ate prior.
I'm sure you’ve wondered how exactly does cannabis chemically affect the body’s system leading to an increase in appetite?
To understand why smoking weed makes you hungry, we need to explore all the chemicals and systems within our bodies that relate to consuming marijuana.
We have an endocannabinoid system within the human body that's constantly working to maintain a balance of chemicals. These chemicals relate to our stress levels, mood, and memory.
The cannabis plant contains two major cannabinoid molecules called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the psychoactive feeling, while CBD offers many therapeutic and health benefits.
The endocannabinoid system is present throughout the body, and in different tissues. This system is the main reason why cannabis may help with various ailments like stress, eating disorders, sleep, and anxiety.
So, why does weed make you hungry?
THC and CBD molecules bind to our brain's cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. When THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, it enhances the taste of sucrose (sugary snacks) and salty foods.
The olfactory system is also impacted by this chemical combination. This system controls our sense of smell and taste, so increasing activity in our olfactory processes drives the desire for food.
So how does cannabis interact with cannabinoids and the olfactory system in the body?
THC targets the olfactory system and heightens your sense of taste and smell, increasing appetite and hunger.
Researchers found that the feeling of hunger driven by THC also relates to the feeling of hunger experienced when fasting. As a result, snacks and food taste twice as good when you’re high and have the munchies.
According to a study, neuroscientists discovered that THC binds with receptors. Instead of producing the hormone that signals you’re full (insulin). Cannabis doses trigger a ghrelin surge, which signals neurons in the hypothalamus that you're hungry even if you're not.
“The receptors that THC interacts with are located in our central nervous system, essentially the brain and the parts of the brain that stimulate appetite,”
- Rachna Patel, MD
On the other hand, when you have excess food in the system, your body releases a hormone called leptin. This hormone stimulates the hypothalamus, inhibiting feelings of hunger.
Weed strains to stimulate your appetite
So, you now understand why does weed make you hungry, let's look at high THC strains to improve your appetite.
For many patients struggling with chronic pain, other ailments, and the side effects of prescription medication, a lack of appetite is a regular occurrence.
If you don’t eat enough, you won’t have the vitality to heal, so it’s necessary to stimulate hunger to recover from illnesses.
One of the main effects of cannabis is to stimulate appetite because of the THC levels in the cultivar. Moderate to high THC medical weed strains may increase appetite and improve the sense of smell and taste even with a few puffs.
Isn't it a fun and incredible way to enjoy your meal easily and in comfort?
The cannabis from Vanilla Kush feminized seeds is an indica-dominant product that produces dense, aromatic, and flavorful buds. This cultivar promises THC levels between 15–20% and allows your body to relax while craving nourishing snacks.
These cannabis seeds thrive in a greenhouse or indoor setup and have 9–10 weeks of flowering time. Expect to harvest high yields of nugs with red and gold trichomes exuding a mixture of herbal aromas.
Pepper Jack Haze
Pepper Jack Haze feminized seeds thrive in all growing areas and produce resinous nugs exuding spicy and pepper fragrances within 8–9 weeks. The THC levels of the Pepper Jack strain average between 15–20%, with CBD content of 1–5%.
The potent cannabis from these seeds may help positively shift mood disorders and relieve stress thoughts. Consumers report this weed does make you hungry by igniting taste buds and opening up nasal pathways.
The marijuana from Pineapple Gum feminized Seeds offers medium to high yields of potent indica-leaning buds, with up to 20% THC. This cultivar produces a sublime bouquet of terpenes, including citrus, pine, and tangy scents.
The immediate effects of Pineapple Gum cause an onset of relaxing sensations and increased appetite. Users report it puts you in the mood to satisfy your cravings with a yummy, nourishing meal.
If you’re looking for weed that won't make you hungry, try strains with minimal THC levels.
Weight management and weed
Research might suggest that smoking marijuana is a good way to lose weight. There's no direct evidence that consuming weed causes weight loss, but it may positively contribute indirectly to your well-being.
Appetite loss, nausea, and fatigue are common symptoms of various chronic illnesses. While studying the medical benefits of marijuana, researchers found that it can help those suffering from eating disorders.
The findings suggest that consuming weed does make you hungry and may alter behaviors leading to better treatment options. Many chronic patients seeking to gain weight and reduce nausea turn to cannabis as an appetite stimulant.
Other research points to the rejuvenating sleep provided through consuming certain marijuana strains. Sleeping well daily helps keep ghrelin and leptin levels balanced, regulating normal appetite feelings.
Some users report that smoking weed has led them to consume lesser amounts of alcohol. Cutting down on alcohol lowers your calorie intake and helps you avoid unhealthy eating habits, amongst other benefits.
Many cannabis smokers also report lower stress levels due to consuming the herb. Lower stress can help maintain a healthy weight, better sleep, and overall health.
Scientists have found that stress leads to higher levels of cortisol which cause higher insulin levels. When this stress hormone is released, your blood sugar levels drop, and you start craving fatty and sugary snacks.
Though using cannabis doesn’t cause immediate weight loss. There's some evidence that high amounts of weed might increase metabolism in users, resulting in a lower body mass index. There is also a wide selection of CBD strains and this type of weed that won't make you hungry.
Stress, anxiety reduction, and improved sleep quality may all assist long-term marijuana consumers in maintaining their weight and avoiding fluctuations.
An appetite for cannabis
Scientists have finally discovered why weed makes you hungry and how it may benefit your health.
Why not purchase some cannabis seeds to cultivate in your garden and experience the potent effects of weed?
Studying how our bodies are influenced by weed is an important step in changing how we perceive and consume cannabis.
However, scientists discovered that THC manipulates the brain area that induces appetite, increasing the release of other hormones.
When it comes to cannabis, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for appetite control. Weed consumption might indirectly lead to lower rates of obesity and stress in the general population.
Marijuana may be the answer to various eating disorders as it’s an easy alternative for those wishing to stimulate their appetite.
Why does weed make you hungry: Frequently Asked Questions.
Below we provide answers to some of the most common frequently asked questions about why does weed make you hungry.
Let's dive in.
Why Does Smoking Cannabis Make You Hungry?
THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors and influences the olfactory system, signaling hunger and making food seem more desirable.
Is there weed that won't make you hungry?
Yes, there are many types of strains with very low THC levels. These cannabis strains contain a higher CBD content, considered a weed that won’t make you hungry.
How much will I want to eat?
Higher THC strains are more likely to cause an extreme increase in hunger, while lower THC cannabis doses may not.
Not everyone who consumes marijuana may get the munchies. Users with fewer cannabinoid receptors are less likely to have an increase in hunger after smoking cannabis.
If you get those intense munchies, it's better to satisfy your hunger with some delicious, nutritious snacks rather than junk food. Choosing healthy and nutritious food to snack on after smoking weed improves your overall health.
Will I gain weight from the munchies?
While the immediate onset of the munchies may be unavoidable, the cannabinoids present could reduce anxiety and stress. By decreasing these states, your appetite also drops over time, leading to a lower body mass index (BMI).
Some users also claim that marijuana makes them eat less and causes them to lose weight.
An article published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that weed consumers may have reduced body mass index and obesity rates. The researchers stated that “For many patients, cannabis may be a better option for weight loss than surgery or pharmaceuticals.”
Try consuming strains with low THC levels and higher CBD as this type of weed that won't make you hungry.
What should I eat when I get the munchies?
While cannabis may make you crave delicious sugary and fatty treats, your choice of snacks can boost your overall health. Choosing snacks like nuts, sliced fruits, yogurts, and dark chocolate can provide many nutritional benefits.
When you eat good food, you're going to feel better by preparing healthy and nourishing foods to satiate your sweet and salty cravings. Choosing snacks like nuts, sliced fruits, yogurts, and dark chocolate can provide many nutritional benefits.
Why not make an evening out of it and cook a well-balanced meal to satisfy your munchies. Healthy home-cooked meals help alleviate the guilt or negative physical and mental emotions of binging on junk food.