We’ve all had our Harold and Kumar moment, you and your friends light up a few joints and afterwards find yourself fighting off starvation like you haven’t eaten in a week. There isn’t a bag of chips or a pack of candy safe in the house after you roll one up, even after your body is full you still crave more and more, until you wake up in the morning regretting your midnight snacking decisions. We’ve all been there and we will all be there again, in a way this craving of snacking after smoking isn’t all your fault, there is a science that explains why weed makes you hungry. Here we’ll look at why weed make you hungry and why you get the munchies after smoking weed.
Why Do We Get Hungry?
Before we get into why does weed make you hungry lets take a look at why we get hungry in the first place and how the body reacts to hunger. Being hungry is a two-part process depending on if the body senses an excess or decrease in the energy it stores. When the body is feeling a decrease in energy the ghrelin hormone is released by the GI tract, it then stimulates the brains hypothalamus which then increases the feeling of hunger in the body. When your body has too much energy the fat body cells release the leptin hormone which also stimulates your hypothalamus, this inhibits hunger and affects both the VTA and dopamine release. The less leptin the body produces the hungrier we feel.
Why Does Marijuana Make You Hungry?
When asking why does weed make you hungry there are various aspects of the body that interact with cannabis that creates answers why does marijuana make you hungry, this comes down to the many cannabinoids which impact the brain. When your body feels full neurons in our brains send waiting messages letting us know we are full, this is what stops us from over eating, however when we smoke cannabis those neurons begin to do the opposite and start to promote hunger even if we are full, this is a key indicator to answering why does marijuana make you hungry. Tricking the brains central feeding system, THC also binds to the natural cannabinoid receptors in our body known as CB1s found in the brains olfactory bulb, this is the area of the brain that allows us to identify things like food aromas. When we consume cannabis our brain treats things like smells and flavors with more attention and makes those sensations more intense, making things taste and smell a lot better then they are and leading people to become ravenous when they become high.
THC also increases the dopamine levels within the brain, similar to when you consume alcohol, dopamine is increased and inhibitions were lowered. This is why we make questionable food choices when high, our inhibitors become low which is why we look at almost any type of food when high and convince ourselves to eat it. It also leads us to gorge on food, which we always regret later on.
Cannabis doesn’t stop there, it also increases the ghrelin in our brain, which tells the brain that an organism is hungry, telling our brain to begin to search for food. Another part of the brain THC interacts with to cause hunger are the POMC neurons. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain which connects the nervous system with the endocrine system, playing a role in hunger, thirst, body temperature, sleep and circadian rhythm. The hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin neuron (POMC) are the neurons that provide the sensation of satiety, which when cannabis is smoked changes their purpose and becomes responsible for the sensation of hunger. Instead of promoting a hormone that provides the sensation of being full it begins to promote another hormone which stimulates appetite, leading to cannabis causing the brain to tell the body to be hungry when it doesn’t need to be.
Marijuana As An Appetite Stimulant
When asking yourself why does weed make you hungry when your sick, It’s been well documented that cannabis increases one’s appetite, this has lead to cannabis being used for medical purposes for those suffering from the inability to eat due to their illness. Those suffering from things such as cancer, anorexia or wasting syndrome have all had success using marijuana to help with a suppressed appetite.
Studies on cancer patients who use marijuana to help with appetite have shown very positive results. A specific study provided patients with THC pills for 18 days, which resulted in a 73% increase in appreciation for food and 64% reported an increase in overall appetite. This has shown that cannabis can have a significant improvement of life for those suffering from cancer symptoms.
Patients who suffer from wasting syndrome are usually individuals who are suffering from cancer or AIDS. Studies have shown that cannabis can help reverse weight loss in those losing weight at a rapid rate, helping patients eat the required amount of calories and sometimes eating more and helping put on weight which their body needs to feed off of during these diseases. This makes cannabis one of the few options to those suffering from such ailments to be able to eat and without any hard effects.
Does CBD Make You Hungry
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause the munchies. CBD interacts with various different areas of the brain and endocannabinoid system then THC does, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t assist in helping the body increase appetite in other ways.
One of CBDs most powerful tools in relieving pain and reducing stress, this can lead directly to having a healthier appetite. Feeling sick or nervous is a guaranteed problem to taking away appetite and can leave little desire to consume water and food. When we take CBD it can help with relieving nausea and also calming the nervous system down during times of panic or stress. When you are feeling less sick or aren’t as stressed after taking CBD you are more likely to regain those sensations of wanting to eat to help restore energy and balance out your hormones. CBDs ability to release tension can directly effect the body’s desire to consume food, giving the digestive system revive itself after not being bogged down by discomfort. This allows for your body to reliance and feel more normal and back to its original state, hopefully producing that hunger feeling and allowing for CBD users to be able to consume food on a more regular basis.