So you’ve got your California medical marijuana card and you head down to your local dispensary. You’ve found your perfect strain and you’ve got your perfect delivery method. You get ready to head home or to a friend’s house but, you’re overwhelmed with the need to make a pit stop at the nearest grocery store and stock up on supplies. Typically really unhealthy supplies, because you know that after you consume your medical marijuana you’re going to be pretty darned hungry! You’re also going to find yourself surrounded by food wrappers everywhere while you enjoy your high. Why though? What is it about medical cannabis that makes you so hungry? Well, it’s a little scientific, but don’t worry too much were here to help explain why after smoking weed you get the inevitable munchies.
Why you’re hungry? It’s all in the mind
Like all good things in life, your increased hunger level starts with the impact that medical marijuana has on your brain. When you consume weed, you’re consuming the main component of medical marijuana tetrahydrocannabinol, or, for those of us who can’t pronounce that (all of us), it’s more commonly known as THC. THC has the ability to heighten your sense of both smell and taste by targeting your brain’s olfactory bulbs. This in turn tricks your body into thinking it’s starving via the delicious smells and heightened taste sensation you get when high. Essentially, cannabis tricks your body into thinking everything is delicious when you’re high, but this is only part of it. Medical weed also has the capability of making your body forget it’s full altogether, but we’ll get into that later.
How did we find this all out?
It all comes down to the legalization of marijuana through CA cannabis cards, which has opened up a more healthy discourse and a series of scientific studies into the drug and the positive effects it can have on users’ lives. Studies carried out on mice recently, which would have never have gone ahead in the past, have really opened up the flood gates when it comes to giving us a better understanding of why smoking legal cannabis makes us so hungry! A new study performed on mice in France called “The endocannabinoid system controls food intake via olfactory processes” has made some substantial breakthroughs in understanding the exact science behind what it is within weed that makes us so hungry.
The study split two groups of mice up. One group of mice were exposed to the main chemical ingredient of marijuana (THC) and another group of mice were not. Each group of mice were provided with equal measures of bananas and almond oils. As you may have guessed, the mice that became high off the THC spent significantly more time smelling the bananas and almond oils than the mice who were not high. The mice exposed to the THC also ate more than the mice who were not exposed and therefore not high. You might be thinking ‘yes, well this isn’t a breakthrough, I get hungry when I smoke my medical marijuana’, but it all comes down to a system in your brain known as the endocannabinoid system. This is where the real science comes in.
What’s the endocannabinoid system and why does it make you hungry when you smoke weed?
The endocannabinoid system in our brains produces our own cannabinoids, these cannabinoids regulate and control our moods, memory, pain and appetite. As we’ve already mentioned. the main chemical component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and what this chemical does is manipulate the cannabinoid receptors in our endocannabinoid system, thus mimicking and altering the sensations of hunger, pain, depression and memory. When it comes to hunger it’s all down to your body’s hypothalamus, which produces chemicals telling your body it’s no longer hungry. THC found in cannabis overrides this system and masks these chemicals, essentially confusing your body into thinking that it’s ravenous.
Let’s do a little stoner science instead
The above might all sound a little confusing but to put it in layman’s terms, let’s do a little stoner science. So we’re trying to explain why mice that consumed THC were hungrier than the mice that didn’t and, by proxy, clarify why you are hungrier after consuming medical marijuana than before, even if you’ve just eaten, think about it like this. Your body is full of neurons (like little balls – yep, think of neurons like a kid’s ball pit in your brain). These neurons work together and deliver messages to your brain. Once you’re full, these neurons tell your body you don’t want or need any more food and you stop eating (the ball pit is calm and compact). The THC in cannabis essentially represents you, if you were to dive into that ball pit headfirst! It disrupts the ball pit, which had assumed you were full, and confuses it into thinking you’re hungry again, whilst in the process making foods that are typically kinda disgusting delicious.
It’s all a little complicated, but its straightforward as well, so think about that next time you head down to the dispensary with your 420 card and are wondering why that snack pit stop seems inevitable.