Munchies are one of the most enjoyable side effects from cannabis, even more so when you have a feast of tasty treats to choose from. If you’re not sure which foods to try when you’re high, we’ve got a fantastic article you can check out at your leisure called “The Best Snacks To Eat While High.” Today’s article, however, will break down the science behind why munchies even exist in the first place. If you’ve always been curious to know why you get hungry when you’re high, keep reading to find out! For those of you just starting out on your cannabis journey, we’ll start off with a quick breakdown of what munchies are and why we love them.
Om Nom Nom…Fooooood!!!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since the beginning of time, you’ve no doubt heard the term munchies and figured out what they are from context. But just for clarity’s sake, munchies is the slang term for when you experience a desperate craving for food when you’re high. You might crave a sugary delight such as chocolate and baked goods like brownies and cookies, salty faves like potato chips and popcorn, or even a full-blown meal like pizza or fast-food cheeseburgers. Regardless of the snacks you choose, your taste buds will explode with flavor that seems to taste exponentially better than if you were to just eat them normally. Even if you’ve had a full meal before getting high, chances are that you’ll still feel the munchies once the effects fully kick in.
Understanding Why You Get Hungry
There’s no definite answer why munchies exist because there’s not a clear understanding on what causes hunger in the first place. On a basic level, your body gets hungry when it detects a deficit in energy available for use. Yet there are several known disorders where the individual lacks the ability to produce certain chemicals to tell the brain that the stomach is full. Prader-Willi syndrome, hyperphagia, and diabetes can cause an intense feeling of being hungry that will force the individual to take extreme measures to eat something at all times.
In normal individuals, the ghrelin hormone is released via your GI tract when your body detects an absence of food. Ghrelin kickstarts your hypothalamus and initiates hunger pangs to let your brain know to get something to eat. If you ignore these hunger pangs, the ventral tegmental area (VTA for short) slows down the production of dopamine. The term “hangry” was coined as a result of hungry individuals who get progressively angrier the longer they go without food.
But Why Do The Munchies Exist?
Believe it or not, you can still experience munchies even if you’ve already eaten and feel completely full. The sensation of “feeling full” is a direct result of leptin, a hormone that is released by your body’s fat cells. Leptin communicates with your hypothalamus to instruct your body to stop eating and also counteracts the “bliss molecule” known as anandamide. When you’re high, the brain stops secreting leptin, causing you to feel hungry even if you’re not. The THC in hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids and marijuana essentially tricks your hypothalamus into thinking you’re starving, resulting in you raiding your fridge and pantry or ordering ridiculous amounts of takeout and delivery.
Do Certain Foods Trigger Munchies?
Believe it or not, there are several foods that contain specific compounds that activate your brain’s craving for that particular food. Have you ever wondered why the term “comfort food” exists? Aside from the obvious reason of “comforting you” when you feel emotional, comfort foods are often associated with feelings of happiness and contentment. That memory of how you feel when eating the food surpasses the flavor of the food itself, making you crave it when you’re hungry.
One such comfort food is pizza. The delicious fusion of fatty meats (sausage and pepperoni), gooey melted cheese, and sweet tomato sauce is enough to make any mouth water. Aside from their rich flavor, pizza ingredients contain a compound called glutamate. The human brain is easily addicted to glutamate, often reaching a frenzied excitement when the compound is first consumed. This is why you might find it difficult to stop after just one slice, and a big reason why stoners love munching on pizza when they’re high.
Chocolate is probably the most widely-known craving food amongst men and women of all ages. The warm creamy sensation of chocolate melting on your tongue is almost as powerful as the high itself, and there’s a scientific reason for that. As the chocolate slowly dissolves, your brain activity heightens and your heart rate quickens, almost identical to how you’d feel when being passionately kissed. Yet the feelings of love and passion will last nearly four times longer than even the most passionate of kisses. This explains why we gravitate towards chocolate on love-themed holidays and special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and anniversaries.
Another comfort food is potato chips. A powerhouse potato chip brand even defies the consumer to stop after eating just one chip, a feat that is almost impossible to achieve once that salty goodness hits your palate. One fascinating study recorded the results of 48 volunteers who were fed a high sodium diet versus those who had regular sodium content. The study found that salt not only affects the taste and pleasurability of the meal, but also caused the high-sodium consumers to eat 11% more than the other volunteers. Since your sense of taste becomes much more enhanced when you’re high, the obsession with potato chips and other salty snacks becomes much more understandable. Add that to your lack of self-control and lowered inhibitions, you might find yourself at the bottom of the bag before you realize it!
Does Everyone Experience Munchies While High?
THC affects every user differently; just because your friend experienced munchies doesn’t mean that you will feel them as intensely, and possibly not at all. Munchies are simply a response to the brain’s olfactory region telling the body that it’s hungry. If your brain contains less cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids within your olfactory region than what’s considered average, you may not experience munchies at all, or at the very least not as intensely. The level of intensity can also vary depending on the total CBD content, as the mix of cannabinoids can help you maintain a stronger hold on your desire to eat something.
If you’re worried that indulging in munchies might cause you to gain weight, you’ll be surprised to learn of the results from one study. This study concluded that in the course of three years, consistent cannabis users were less likely to struggle with obesity than those who did not partake in cannabis use. Despite consuming more calories, cannabis users had a lower overall body fat percentage. This does not mean you should indulge in whatever sweet or salty craving the munchies drives you to consume. Try opting for healthier snacking options, such as carrots (for crunchiness) or dried fruit (for sweetness). We’ll touch on this topic in our next article, but it’s clear that no matter what you munch on, your enhanced sense of taste (and smell!) will have your eyes rolling back in pleasure.
Up until now, you may have regarded the munchies as a comical side effect of getting high. Yet there the phenomenon of experiencing an enhanced appetite and sense of taste has scientific reasons behind it that have been proven through studies around the world. The chemicals produced by your brain can be affected by THC, to the point where you can feel extremely hungry even after consuming a full meal. You can choose to consume comfort foods willed with fat and sugar that result in feeling euphoric due to dopamine production or opt for the healthier options to remain health conscious while high.
Ready to experience the psychoactive elements of hemp-derived cannabinoids? Here at Two Hawk Extracts, we pride ourselves on carrying some of the finest products in the industry. Delta-8 THC, Farm Bill Compliant Delta-9 THC, HHC, and THC-O products line our shelves in both consumable and inhalable form, readily available in full-size or sample sizes. To ensure a potent and pure product in every purchase, we have subjected our entire catalog to independent third-party labs for testing. The results of these tests are listed in each product listing, but are also prominently displayed via QR codes on the product packaging. We’re excited to see how you enjoy our products, so feel free to share your experiences in the comments below and let us know how we’re doing! Until we meet again!
Leave a comment