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Munchies for Days: Why Weed Makes You So Hungry

April 5, 2017


It's 2:00 in the morning. There's a hurricane outside and the city is in a state of emergency. Before it's too late, you grab your rain bots and jacket to travel to the the place where all dreams come true. After trekking through two miles of weather carnage you arrive at Mecca and plead to the cashier, "I need five Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, stat." After devouring your feast in seconds flat, you return to your place of rest, to slumber in peace and fulfillment.


Don't worry, we've all been there. Whoever's heard of marijuana knows what munchies are. Whether you've smoked weed or not, everyone knows that pot makes you hungry. When high, many users turn into insatiable zombies, forever seeking out more edible substances to satisfy their cravings. It's all to no avail though. No matter how many Chipotle Burritos you inhale, the munchies can never be satisfied.


Why does smoking weed make users to damn hungry, though?


For a long time, the scientific community could never pinpoint why smoking weed made users so hungry. Even though we didn't know exactly why marijuana stimulates appetite the way it does, we used it and continue to use it to treat loss of appetite caused by a range of causes, including sickness or even chemo therapy. 


It wasn't until February 2015 that we finally found the answer. A study by the Yale School of Medicine found that marijuana's appetite stimulation is linked to the drug's effect on neurons in the brain that are normally involved in suppressing appetite. 


The study's lead author Tamas Horvath reported, "We were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating, were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full. It fools the brain’s central feeding system."


It's all linked to THC, marijuana's most notorious and abundant cannabinoid. THC, when ingested, activates CB1R, the cannabinoid receptor responsible for overeating. The CB1R cannabinoid signals the group of nerve cells called pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) in the brain. These neurons are the key to reducing hunger when full but when activated by THC, they have the opposite effect. 


Yes, it's all very complicated and science-y. All you have to know is that we now know why weed makes you reach for that third cheeseburger. And the fourth one.... maybe just one more.




Now find out why music sounds do good when you're high

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