Cannabis Education Why Does Weed Make You Hungry? The Science Behind The MunchiesNov 15, 2022
Whether your favorite post-smoke snack is sweet or salty, there’s no denying that everyone gets the munchies. So what actually makes you hungry when the munchies strike?
The Science Behind the Munchies
The reason that your stomach starts rumbling after smoking all comes down to the same ingredient that gets you high in the first place, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. When THC enters your bloodstream either through the lungs or is digested and absorbed through the liver, the chemical goes straight to the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain. This is the part of your nervous system that controls things like stress, pain, and appetite. Your brain is constantly producing cannabinoids on its own, but weed kicks that system into overdrive, telling your body that it needs more of everything.
Once that part of your brain is activated, it starts a chain reaction of neurochemicals, causing all the symptoms we’ve come to know and love as a high. The particular chemical that causes the munchies is called ghrelin, a hormone released by your stomach to let your brain know that it is empty. Once THC stimulates the endocannabinoid system, it tricks your stomach into releasing more ghrelin and tells your brain that it’s time to chow down.
That’s what is making you hungry, but there are a few other reasons that the munchies are so powerful. THC also binds with the olfactory bulb in your brain, making the sense of smell more sensitive. Smell makes up about 80% of what we taste, so when that gets ramped up, everything you taste is going to be heightened. Things that taste good are suddenly SO good that you just can’t stop eating them.
The Outcome of the THC High
This chain reaction of neurochemicals also increases the production of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is the chemical that your brain creates to make you happy, especially as a reward for doing something good. Generally, eating releases a dopamine response because it ultimately keeps you alive and your brain wants to reward you for that. But when dopamine is artificially increased, that feeling of happiness just keeps on coming and you’ll want to keep on eating.
Next time you’re reaching for those munchies snacks, think about all of these processes that are going on behind the scenes in your body. Enjoy that dopamine kick and keep on snacking!
Our Favourite Edibles
Need something sweet to get started? Here are some of our favourites:
- Wana Blueberry Sour Soft Chews — A mellow tartness blends with a touch of sweetness to create these treats.
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Check out our edibles store for more great options.