Marijuana and munchies go together like cops and donuts. We have all been there: 20 minutes into your smoking session and then all of a sudden you’re thinking cheese out of a spray-can was the best invention ever because it all of a sudden goes with everything right? Then you’re debating whether or not to first eat the spray-can cheese with your candy bar or wait till the pizza you ordered arrives and spray extra cheese on it.
Scientific reason behind the munchies?
This phenomenon is no coincidence. Would you believe there’s a scientific reason behind the munchies? Yes, people actually study this kind of stuff, yeah them! Basically it’s caused by cannabinoids taking over brain cells that usually suppress appetite. A study revealed that cannabis makes the brain create a different set of chemicals that changes the feeling of being full and satiated into a hunger that doesn’t get appeased.
The appetite centre of the brain
Tamas Horvath, the scientist that led the study at Yale University, said, “By observing how the appetite centre of the brain responds to marijuana, we were able to see what drives the hunger brought about by cannabis and how that same mechanism that normally turns off feeding becomes a driver of eating. It’s like pressing a car’s brakes and accelerating instead.”
Cannabinoid receptor 1
In previous studies it was shown that the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) contributes to the uncontrollable desire to snack, but until this study scientists did not know which parts of the brain’s appetite circuitry was involved. Now listen to this novelty; that particular study involved injecting cannabinoids into the brain of mice(!!) -yes really. How about i give you patient readers a minute to let that little tidbit sink in and imagine it for a while... After this interesting injection the researchers proceeded to observe the specific neurons that became activated. These activated nerve cells were part of a group called pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons; these neurons are the ones that give you a full feeling.
The brain’s central feeding system gets fooled. Even when you are full, the neurons that are in control of ending your feeling of hunger does a sweet 180 and gets reactivated to promote hunger again when smoking marijuana. Scientifically speaking, the cannabinoids create a counter-action by binding to the cell’s mitochondria along with receptors on the neuron’s surface.
Good news for us pot smokers
Now to top it all off and give you the best news, well, at least good news for us pot smokers is that a study revealed that people who smoke weed are skinnier than the general population! The study, published in The American Journal Of Medicine -so you know they are serious about it, also concluded that marijuana smokers have a healthier response to insulin than the average person. The study analyzed data from 4,500 adults: 579 were current marijuana smokers, 2,000 had used marijuana in the past, the other 2,000 people have never smoked weed at all. Although the statistics are on our side, scientists are still unclear about why this paradox occurs.
The reason for this could be that the marijuana munchies doesn’t affect regular users as heavily as infrequent users. Another reason could be that regular users don’t eat very much when they’re not using weed.
Food seems to taste so much better after smoking
A contributing factor as to why the munchies take place when and why food seems to taste so much better after smoking weed was demonstrated in a 2009 study conducted in Japan. The study showed that endocannabinoids act directly on taste receptors on the tongue to intensify sweet taste, thus increasing cravings. Another study by Europeans found that exposing mice to THC increased their ability to smell certain foods and led them to eat more. This hyperactive smell and taste reaction to cannabis is one reason why eating can be oh so gratifying while under the influence.
Let your next experience be guilt-free
Now if you want to take one thing away from all this… just remember the one best part!Let your next experience be guilt-free, because like you’ve learned now, that in general, smokers who have these super gratifying munchie attacks are… skinnier!