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Munchies: Science Behind Cannabis Affecting the Appetite

Have you ever smoked marijuana and reached for a container of chips or a pint of ice cream? If so, you're not alone. Many people experience increased appetite, or "the munchies," after consuming cannabis. But what causes this phenomenon? Let's examine the science behind munchies and how cannabis affects your appetite.

The Endocannabinoid System

To understand how cannabis affects your appetite, you first need to know about the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a system of receptors and signalling molecules that controls many bodily functions, such as appetite, mood, pain, and inflammation.

Endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes that degrade endocannabinoids make up the major parts of the ECS. Endocannabinoids resemble cannabinoids found in cannabis oil regarding their structural makeup. They attach to cannabinoid receptors found all over the body, including in the intestinal tract and brain.

Cannabis and Appetite

When you consume cannabis, the cannabinoids in the plant, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), bind to the same cannabinoid receptors as endocannabinoids. This can affect the appetite-regulating areas of the brain, leading to an increase in hunger and food intake.

Specifically, THC has been shown to stimulate the release of the hormone ghrelin, known as the "hunger hormone." Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and signals to the brain that eating is time. THC also enhances the sense of smell and taste, making food more appealing and enjoyable.

Contrarily, CBD has been demonstrated to have appetite-suppressing properties. It is believed to function by obstructing the CB1 receptors in the brain that trigger hunger and food consumption.

The Relationship Between Cannabis and Weight

Studies have shown that frequent cannabis users typically have lower body mass indices (BMIs) than non-users, despite the potential for increased appetite after cannabis consumption. As a result, people have begun to wonder if weed can help people lose weight.

However, the relationship between cannabis and weight is complex and not fully understood. Some researchers believe cannabis use may lead to weight loss because it can increase metabolism and energy expenditure. Others suggest it may be because cannabis users are more physically active than non-users.

It's worth noting that other factors, such as diet and lifestyle, may also influence the relationship between cannabis and weight. Cannabis use may not necessarily lead to weight loss if it is accompanied by a diet high in calories and low in nutrients.

Potential Medical Uses of Cannabis for Appetite Regulation

While the munchies may be an inconvenience for some people, for others, they could have therapeutic benefits. For example, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often experience a loss of appetite and nausea, which can lead to weight loss and malnutrition. In these patients, cannabis has been demonstrated to successfully reduce nausea and boost appetite, enhancing their quality of life and nutritional condition.

Similarly, people with conditions that cause wasting, such as HIV/AIDS or certain types of cancer, may benefit from the appetite-stimulating effects of cannabis. In fact, the FDA has authorized the synthetic cannabinoid dronabinol to treat appetite loss and weight loss in HIV/AIDS patients.


The science behind munchies is complex and not fully understood, but it appears to be related to the effects of cannabis on the endocannabinoid system and the appetite-regulating areas of the brain. While the munchies may be inconvenient for some, they could have therapeutic benefits for others, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or people with conditions that cause wasting. 

As with any medication or substance, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider before buying from a cannabis store to determine if cannabis is a safe and appropriate option for you.

Cannabis-related goods are offered for sale in Kamloops, British Columbia. The personnel at this cannabis store in Kamloops are helpful and friendly. At Fiore Fresco in Kamloops, purchase cannabis.

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