Marijuana and the munchies go way back. For as long as weed has existed, a myth that you’re propelled to eat junk and snack food has been associated with use. As legalization has fuelled more research we’ve learned more about the rumoured side effect.
In fact, what has been commonly known as a myth, is actually 100% true. In fact, now cannabis is serving as an appetite stimulant for patients who lose appetite due to medications, or certain conditions. So, how does marijuana and its cannabinoids affect hunger in general? We explored the topic to find out, and compiled an in-depth guide on how cannabis and appetite collide.
Marijuana & Appetite
As a refresher, the way cannabis is able to deliver its unique effects is through its natural cannabinoids, terpenes, and the body’s endocannabinoid system. Weed’s cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system, and specific receptors that communicate messages throughout the body. Helping to regulate functions, and processes – including appetite. The receptor that’s most important to helping stimulate appetite with weed is CB1.
CB1 receptors are found not only in the endocannabinoid system, but in other tissue and areas in the body. Again, for food and weed’s sake it’s functioning in the following body areas are the most important:
- CB1 is found in the ‘basal ganglia’ where it works to enhance the pleasure of eating.
- CB1 is found in the stomach and small intestine where it regulates ghrelin. Ghrlein is a natural appetite-stimulating hormone that also speeds up digestion rates.
- CB1 is found in the limbic forebrain, where it can also enhance the pleasure of eating.
- CB1 is found in the hypothalamus and rhombencephalon areas of the brain that are known for regulating food intake.
As THC from cannabis interacts with the CB1 receptors, it’s able to offset a number of processes that in turn stimulate appetite. In addition to THC, a lesser known cannabinoid CBG is also being found as therapeutic for those who suffer from loss of appetite.
New research shows that CBG is effective at reducing latency (or the time it takes) to eat, increasing food intake, and the frequency of eating. In fact, this study alone showed the cannabinoid was successful at doubling the amount of food ingested by the participants.
On the CBD front, the more prevalent non-psychoactive cannabinoid isn’t as beneficial for supplementing the appetite as THC or CBG. But, it can help in an indirect way – by relieving nausea. Some experts say that CBD may be able to promote a more healthy appetite through its digestive system effects. The theory is with CBD relieving nausea, your nervous system and digestive tract calm down. Allowing you to feel less nauseated, and more comfortable to eat.
The Latest Research on Cannabis and Appetite
There’s been a few recent studies that are working to prove the connection between cannabis and appetite. Further proving what we all knew was true, with marijuana and the munchies. Here is the most profound research that’s been collected so far, on the topic.
- THC decreases levels of peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY), in turn, this increases ghrelin levels. Which we already learned, help increase or promote a healthy appetite.
- THC also activates a pathway known as mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin). By strengthening this pathway, levels of ghrelin are also increased, therefore stimulating the appetite, again.
- THC activates proopiomelanocortin neurons (POMCs) which increases appetite to varying degrees. It also activates a secondary pathway through its effects on the CB1 receptor, strengthening the appetite stimulating effect.
Conditions That Benefit from the Munchies
A loss of appetite is associated with a number of common conditions, or medications for common conditions. Cannabis’ appetite stimulating effects are now often used by those suffering from:
- Cancer and treatment of
- Eating disorders
- Depression, Anxiety and Stress Disorders
Best Strains for Appetite Stimulation
Of course, now that we know why cannabis can stimulate the appetite, you can better choose types of strains that will help you do so. In addition to THC, and CBG, there’s a few specific terpenes that are said to boost hunger. Or, avoid hitting the munchies if you’re on a strict diet or trying to avoid overindulging. Here are the top 5 strains to use for appetite promoting effects:
California Orange – California Orange is a citrusy, and well-balanced hybrid that is often recommended for those who suffer from a loss of appetite. The strain is also high in limonene which is a terp that can stimulate the appetite, too.
Zkittlez – Zkittlez is a uniquely scented indica strain that boasts high powering appetite stimulation. The strain is abundant in terpenes that amplify boosting appetites, and moderate levels of THC that also help.
Citrique – Citrique is a sativa dominant hybrid that not surprisingly, contains the citrus scented and appetite boosting limonene terpene, as well. The strain’s energizing yet comforting body buzz, is ideal for a case of the munchies.
Bubba Kush – Bubba Kush is a highly potent indica dominant hybrid that is considered a classic on the cannabis scene. It’s high THC concentration helps boost appetites, while it also relieves stress and anxiety, successfully.
Violator OG – Violator OG is another classic indica dominant hybrid that also boasts high levels of THC. Helping to promote the appetites of its users, with an additional boost of abnormally high CBD levels.
Weed for Eating
Since we’ve learned that the myth surrounding marijuana and appetites is actually true, the medical community is learning more about how to use the trait to its advantage. Now, the case of the munchies is used by many medically, when common medications naturally reduce their appetite, or in cases where eating disorders are involved.
With the information you’ve gained today you can best figure out which strains or products will stimulate your hunger more than others. Which is important to know, even recreationally, so you can stock-up your snack stash when necessary. Looking for munchie fuelling and high quality cannabis goods? Check out our premium collection, at Greenz, now.