Have you ever wondered how you suddenly gain superhuman powers to eat an entire pizza to yourself while you’re stoned? This is why.
Read on to understand what happens in your body when you experience the munchies and how you can control it.
Have you seen the movie Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle? It’s the story of 2 stoners who experience an extreme case of the munchies. After they see a television commercial for White Castle Hamburger Chain, the pair end up going on a hilarious, crazy hunt in order to satisfy their weed-induced burger cravings while encountering several bizarre experiences along the way.
I found the movie uproarious - I personally had several laugh-out-loud moments, even though I couldn’t relate to the “munchies” that the main characters were experiencing.
Yep - you read that right. I don’t know what it’s like to have the munchies!
As a social stoner, I’ve watched in amazement several times how my friends seem to develop bottomless stomachs as they gorge on food after a few hits of the bong. Literally they will consume twice or even thrice as much food as they normally would while sober.
Meanwhile here I am: stoned, without an appetite, and apart from the temporary case of cottonmouth, pretty damn satisfied.
I’ve always wondered about what really happens in the body when people get the munchies.
Harold and Kumar Goes To White Castle is just one of the many movies with scenes (or entire plots, even) dedicated to that appetite surge colloquially referred to as the munchies, easily one of the most well-known effects of cannabis.
The Science Behind
The “munchies” have prodded researchers around the world to investigate what happens in the brain each time you feel like reaching out for a snack after hitting that joint.
For some time now, scientists have understood that the cannabinoids found in marijuana is responsible for appetite stimulation as well as activating CB1, which are the brain’s cannabinoid receptors. But that’s not all, as discovered by a team of Yale University researchers led by neuroscientist Tamas Harvath.
After conducting studies on mice, Harvath and his team found that cannabis also activates the body’s pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons which are actually responsible for suppressing hunger. When the POMC neurons were inhibited, the CB1 cannabinoid receptors didn’t result in extreme cravings. However once these neurons were overactivated through cannabis ingestion, the mice were shown to eat much more, as if they haven’t eaten for days. The results of the studies surprised Harvath and his team since POMC neurons were responsible for eliminating appetite altogether.
While more research needs to be conducted to better understand how marijuana selectively changes the chemistry of the POMC neurons resulting in either suppression or stimulation of appetite, it’s become pretty clear how powerful cannabis can be on the brain.
And why the rest of us don’t experience the munchies? Well that simply boils down to the fact that the effects of marijuana are different for every single person.
Controlling the Munchies
Going on a full-on feeding frenzy whenever you’re stoned doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing. Unless you tend to overeat and the excess weight is becoming a problem, then maybe you’re looking for ways to curb those munchies without having to quit marijuana altogether.
Try decreasing munchies-induced weight gain with these tips:
But let’s be grateful: The ability of marijuana to induce hunger for some people can actually be an advantage, especially when you consider its medicinal benefits. Patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses may be prescribed this magical drug to stimulate their appetite and feed their body with much-needed nutrients from food.
Either way, we all know that marijuana is a magical plant. Dealing with the munchies just requires us to make better well-informed decisions the next time you decide to get stoned.
Do you get the munchies? Share with us your favorite foods to indulge in, or how you curb the munchies.
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