Anyone that have smoked weed has some point or another had the desire to devour anything they can lay their hands on. That being said, why does weed make you hungry? Could it be as a result of what happens in your brain? You are about to find out.
What happens in your brain when you smoke weed?
In 2015, researchers conducted a study on rodents at the Yale School of Medicine. They found out that THC activated a switch in the rodent’s brain circuitry, thus felt hungry as a result. Similarly, in humans, when you smoke weed, THC binds with cannabinoid receptors (CB1s) in the brain’s olfactory circuit, thus, increasing your awareness of taste. That’s why after you smoke weed, food smells and tastes better than they usually do.
Furthermore, more dopamine gets released and the appetite stimulation hormone, ghrelin, is activated.
Cannabinoids in marijuana affect our brains in numerous ways. THC is one of the main reason why we crave for food after smoking weed. What role does THC play in making us crave food after smoking weed?
The role THC plays in making us hungry
To get a better understanding of the mechanism of how the body regulates itself when it comes to hunger or feeding stimulation, visit this site. However, in a nutshell, this is what happens when we feel hungry.
When the body senses lower energy and decrease in energy stores, ghrelin gets released. The hormone gets released in the GI Tract and stimulates the hypothalamus in our brain to give us the sensation of hunger. Interestingly, this is in the same area where the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine gets released.
And when the energy stores are full, or there are too many of them, a hormone Leptin gets released by the fat cells to stimulate the hypothalamus to decrease the “hunger feeling”. Leptin also affects dopamine release, hence, the feeling of satisfaction when your tummy is full.
Furthermore, leptin cancels another very prominent hunger stimulator, Anandamide.
However, when THC gets into our body, things change. Anandamide (an appetite stimulator) binds to the same receptors as THC and activates the munchies we feel after smoking weed.
How are the munchies activated?
When THC joins Anandamide on the receptors (CB1s), the leptin counts decreases and it fools the neurons into thinking that you are still hungry, hence, the munchies.
This whole mechanism gets controlled by a protein AMPK.
Benefits of the Munchies
Wait a moment, wouldn’t there be a problem when you eat too much? Now, this is where the therapeutic benefit of THC kicks in, especially for people having trouble eating.
THC produces many effects in the body. We know all about euphoria, but it also produces analgesia and sedation. It also combats vomiting and nausea. It stimulates appetite too.
For people struggling to eat due to cancer or any other medical condition, weed helps to stimulate their appetite and makes the food taste and smells better. This is another plus-point for those with zero appetites.
To top it all, after smoking weed, THC along with anandamide binds with the CB1 /glucose receptors (replacing sugar) causing (the ghrelin hormone to be released in the GI tract), which in turn stimulates the hypothalamus in our brain to create the feeling of hunger, hence, why your body craves food.
So there you go. If you ever wonder why you have a seemingly unquenchable hunger; this might just clear it up a bit. The case of munchies resolved.