Why Does Cannabis Make You Hungry? – Munchies Explained


Have you ever tried smoking weed to get the munchies later on? You might have been perplexed as to why your body reacted to cannabis by having a junk food attack.


This blog aims to explain how your body understands when to eat, why consuming marijuana can make you feel hungry, and how cannabis use may benefit users aiming for weight gain and those trying to maintain their current weight.


What are munchies?

If you smoke or use marijuana, you may have experienced the “marijuana munchies,” which are the increased appetite for more calories such as salty, sweet, or fatty carbohydrate-rich meals. Marijuana munchies occur when you are under the influence of weed.


The munchies are one of the most prevalent side effects of cannabis ingestion, and they can last for hours. Most people who have gotten high are familiar with the insatiable desire to eat food, whether minutes or hours after we have stopped feeling euphoric.


Aside from the questionable fast food and junk food option, why do we feel so hungry after taking cannabis? Continue reading to find out why you have an increased appetite after a particularly intense weed session.


What triggers hunger?

Researchers are still trying to figure out all of the systems that lead the brain and body to increase appetite and induce a sensation of hunger in humans. Nevertheless, research has revealed that hunger is a two-stage process.


First, when you have a nutritional deficiency, your gastrointestinal system releases a hormone known as ghrelin. As a result, it activates the hypothalamus in the brain, causing you to feel more hungry. It also affects the ventral tegmental region (VTA) of your brain, which is responsible for releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being.

On the other hand, when you overeat, your fat cells release a specific hormone, leptin, which activates the hypothalamus and the rest of your body. It can suppress appetite while simultaneously affecting the VTA and dopamine release. Leptin also has an anti-anandamide effect, the ‘bliss molecule,’ which has the same receptors as THC and hence has the same effect as THC.


The lower the leptin produced by your body, the more hungry you feel. Under sober or average conditions, your body experiences hunger as a result of distinct reasons based on the following criteria:

  • Amounts of glucose in the blood
  • Hormone concentrations
  • Empty feeling in the stomach and intestines.
  • Neurotransmitters released by the hypothalamus region of the brain


These same elements also signal when your body has reached its maximum capacity. However, remember that hunger is an entirely separate concept from appetite. In contrast to actual hunger, the smell and taste of a freshly baked dish of chocolate chip cookies or a hot bowl of ramen might pique your appetite and trick your brain into eating. A stressful situation might also impact your appetite, making you want to indulge in one of those cookies or turn your back on eating entirely.


What’s the role of THC in hunger?

How exactly cannabis munchies manifest themselves is a matter of debate. What causes marijuana munchies to occur? The active element in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is responsible for these side effects.


THC is the substance responsible for the “high” that weed users experience when consuming marijuana. However, it is also the primary cause why weed makes us consume more calories, sometimes leading to weight gain. This appetite stimulation is one of the reasons why many patients consider taking medical marijuana.


The exact mechanism through which marijuana’s major component stimulates hunger has remained a mystery to researchers and scientists.


As per research, THC appears to boost our sensitivity to smell and taste by utilizing naturally existing neural networks to trick the human brain into thinking we are hungry.


Another well-known effect of marijuana is the significant increase in hunger that many users experience after smoking or swallowing the cannabis, referred to as “the munchies.”


This might be one of the most significant advantages of medical marijuana, especially for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and having difficulty eating and who want to gain weight.

The advantage of using marijuana may also be quite delightful for recreational users.


The science behind the cannabis munchies

What is the science behind cannabis inducing our body’s insatiable need to eat? The region of the brain can be split up into various parts. Some areas govern our moods, while others impact our hunger, leading us to overeat or stop eating.


Because whatever substance we ingest is dispersed throughout our bodies, when THC hits the brain region that regulates mood, it causes bliss. Thus, THC stimulates your desire to consume food and indulge in your food cravings more than necessary.


A 2014 research revealed new information on the effects of marijuana on the human brain and hunger. Several studies have revealed that THC affects the olfactory bulbs in the brain, enhancing your sense of smell and increasing hunger.


In addition, a 2015 study conducted at the Yale School of Medicine investigated the influence of marijuana on the appetites of laboratory mice. The study team’s findings revealed that THC has the effect of “flipping a switch” in the hypothalamus.


Instead of releasing the hormone that signals that you are full and satisfied, neurons send signals to the hypothalamus that you are starving.


As per one of its researchers, Tamas Horvath, it was like applying force on the car’s brakes instead of speeding. The neurons that were supposed to be responsible for signaling the end of feeding were stimulated, inducing hunger in mice already stuffed.


Another biological experience associated with “the munchies” is the impression of having solid olfactory lobes. While high, your olfactory region tells you that food will taste better since it is more flavorful.


It is typical for chewing to drive air through your nasal passages. This mechanism transports the smell of the meal, allowing you to recognize and appreciate complex flavors. In addition to that, because your body feels you are hungry, it will seek out foods high in calories to provide you with a burst of energy.


The THC interacts with your CB1 cannabinoid receptors to increase your appetite. After being attached, THC improves the taste of sucrose while having little or no influence on the flavor of bitter or salty foods.


Eating junk food that is heavy in sugar instead of healthy snacks like whole-grain crackers when you are high helps explain why you do it. And it is because it just tastes so delicious! In addition, the CB1 cannabinoid receptor is involved in the production of dopamine in a particular area of the hypothalamus.


Even now, people are using cannabis as an appetite stimulant. Medical conditions such as anorexia nervosa and wasting syndrome were recognized as qualifying criteria for using an appetite stimulant such as medical marijuana.


Another research conducted on cancer patients in 2011 had encouraging findings. Each day for 18 days, the patients in the trial took THC capsules, which the researchers prescribed.

In the results, 73% of them expressed a greater appreciation for food, and 64% reported an increase in appetite due to the study. Research even asserted that the fact that cancer patients got hungry and loved their meals represented a considerable increase in quality of life for the participants in the study.


Patients who have advanced cancer are more likely to suffer from wasting syndrome. Apart from experiencing a significant loss of appetite, they also consume calories considerably faster than usual. The research team conducted a study on 11 patients by giving them THC tablets, and ten patients were given THC pills plus a placebo. For 18 days, they ingested 2.5mg of THC two to three times a day.


Frequently asked questions about the munchies.

Take a look at the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the munchies below.


Does everyone get the munchies from weed?

No certainty taking cannabis will always increase appetite. It is less probable that you will feel hungry after eating THC if you have fewer cannabinoid receptors or endocannabinoids in the olfactory area of your brain.


Moreover, consuming marijuana does not always result in weight gain. Several studies have found the opposite to be true. Research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in October discovered something intriguing. The findings of a three-year prospective study that sought to determine if cannabis users were more prone to gain weight than non-users.


Surprisingly, the study discovered an inverse relationship between cannabis use and BMI. In essence, frequent marijuana users were less likely than non-users to suffer from obesity-related problems. Other research shows that marijuana users consume more calories than non-users yet have lower body fat percentages.


In conclusion, not everyone can get munchies. Does this imply that you should smoke cannabis as much as you want and eat anything you want? Without a doubt, this is not the case! If you know you are prone to having cravings, it is best to stock up on nutritious foods before you experience them. It might be beneficial if you also investigated experimenting with cannabis with high levels of CBD or THCV.


Do Sativa or Indica cannabis strains make you hungry too?

Sellers of medicinal cannabis frequently begin by asking which of the several strains you are interested in. You may be aware that medical cannabis is available in two different strains: Indica and Sativa, derived from various cannabis plants.


Out of the two, Indica is the more relaxing, while it is well-known that Sativa strains effectively increase appetite. However, a small number of Indica strains can boost the appetite too.

Indica is a cannabis strain widely used to treat muscular spasms and chronic pain because of its high THC levels. As a result, it produces a tranquilizing effect in the body, which is beneficial for people who have Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It has a calming and soothing impact on the body. Most Indica strains are designed to help you unwind while watching a movie or to put you to sleep.


This is also the reason why people who use it report feeling hungrier, which explains why it is the herb of choice for anorexia and cancer patients, among other things.


On the other hand, Sativa treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression. This is primarily due to the high CBD level of the product. It produces uplifting and cerebral effects on the user. Sativa is mainly concerned with physical activities, social situations, and imaginative initiatives, among other things.


Will I lose weight when using weed?

Even though cannabis has been shown to increase appetite momentarily, there are certain exceptions to the norm, particularly for long-term cannabis users.


However, the cannabinoids included in cannabis may help reduce anxiety, which may help lower appetite and body mass index (BMI).


Additionally, evidence supports the hypothesis that long-term cannabis intake may indirectly affect the waistline. As per a 2018 report published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, specific cannabis consumers may have lower body mass index and obesity rates than other people who take cannabis.


Researchers argued that weed might be a better alternative for weight loss for some people than surgery or medicines. There might be a variety of factors contributing to this probability.

In his statement, Dr. Bone contends that cannabinoids have a more indirect influence than a direct effect on the body. Increasing worry, for example, leads to decreased eating, while lowering stress lowers the release of hormones associated with increased hunger and weight gain. Another argument is that it aids in sleep problems, pointing to the necessity of adequate sleep to maintain appropriate body weight.


Stress and anxiety reduction and improved sleep quality may benefit long-term cannabis consumers in terms of weight regulation and avoiding excessive swings.



The munchies from cannabis have a scientific basis, as does the phrase “marijuana makes me hungry.” So, if you are trying to lose weight, it is a good idea to stay away from marijuana strains rich in THC. In any other case, you can find yourself scouring your pantry for the sweetest, tastiest, and unhealthiest items you can discover!


However, it is beneficial to note that cannabis may be used as a medication for those experiencing a loss of appetite.


Smoking pot improves your perception of taste and your olfactory bulb. You will also feel terrific due to the enormous amount of dopamine released by your body.


Suppose you are explicitly wondering whether or not you will get the munchies. In that case, there’s no better way of finding out the answers than trying weed for yourself! Shop from our Sativa products to see if Sativa strains are more effective in inducing appetite.


On the other hand, you can also shop from our Indica products to get relaxation and euphoria out of your cannabis experience. Don’t forget to check out more of the quality products available here at Kush Capital!

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