We all know the inevitable craving for food that many cannabis strains bring us. It is known as “munchies.” While munchies themselves are quite familiar to most of us, even experts are not sure what is the true nature of this mystery side effect.
For some people, munchies are an unpleasant consequence of their favorite pastime that they have to fight against. These people have to restrict themselves and not give in to the temptation. In addition, there is always an option to find some more “dietary” choices.
For others, they are a life saver in their struggle against the loss of appetite. Medical marijuana is often used to treat people with this problem.
Until recently, the understanding of the biological mechanism behind the “munchies” phenomenon was severely limited. Today, scientists are beginning to successfully unravel the mystery. It is believed that munchies arise because of the effect of THC on our bodies. Apparently, this cannabinoid stimulates our appetite through a group of neurons that normally suppress it.
What is most peculiar about the mystery is the fact that despite munchies, marijuana consumers tend to have a lower body mass index. In addition, they are less at risk for diabetes. However, it does not mean that you can eat junk food whenever you want and stay healthy.
A study conducted in 2013 claims that cannabis improves our insulin control and regulates body weight. After entering our bodies, THC acts as an appetite stimulant. However, as it wears off, the “stop eating” chemicals return; this may cause a so-called “rebound period” after the munchies.
The professor of neurobiology at Yale University, Dr. Thomas Horvath, led several studies on munchies in cancer patients. He explains that after the initial hungry rush, you can go without eating for a long time.
The doctor also claims that because of the rebound, there is no connection between cannabis use and obesity in the scientific literature.
However, another question remains—why cannot we just eat a salad and be satisfied after smoking? People tend to crave snacks, junk food, and sweets when high. Our attempts to eat healthy even when stoned often fail. Dr. Horvath has an answer to this question as well. He says that we tend to choose the high-calorie food because our brains have been hardwired this way evolutionary. It means that our eating tendencies come from the times when the food was sparse, and humans were constantly searching for it. It means that science prevents us from keeping to our gluten-, fats-, and sugar-free diet.
However, it does not mean that we should stop trying. At the very least, we can stick to those strains that do not cause munchies.