Why Does Weed Make You Hungry? Plus, More FAQs About Eating When High
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Weed is well-known for making you feel hungrier. Otherwise known as the “munchies,” many people are urged to start eating because of increased appetite whenever they smoke cannabis or eat marijuana edibles.
But why does weed make you hungry? Many people think it’s the THC that causes them to begin eating while high, and they would be right. But there’s more to the science than that.
In this guide, we answer questions like, “Why do you get hungry when high?”, “Why does THC make you hungry?” and “Does Indica or Sativa make you hungrier?”
Does Weed Make You Hungry?
Anyone who has ever smoked weed will experience the munchies at some point. There’s no getting around it because of the way that THC interacts with the brain. So, why does weed increase appetite?
In one paper published in Nature Neuroscience, it was found that THC actually tricks the brain into thinking that you are hungry, even while full. The reasoning for this is that your brain produces natural cannabinoids that control everything from mood and appetite to pain and memory.
The simple reason you feel like eating when high is because THC molecules bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These molecules mimic the same chemicals that the brain uses to send out hunger signals.
So, does THC make you hungry? Yes. It’s not the pot itself but the THC inside it. This is also why many types of weed can lead to you feeling hungry.
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Why Does Marijuana Make You Hungry?
Why does weed make you hungry and tired?
The mechanism is precisely the same. And gaining a complete understanding of how the process works begins by walking through the three-step process of how Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains interact with the body.
- Cannabis contains numerous cannabinoids, but the ones that matter are THC and CBD. Every time you consume a cannabis-based product, your body is filled with both of these essential cannabinoids.
- Once these cannabinoids make their way into the bloodstream, they begin binding to various receptors in your brain and body. All of these receptors form an integral part of what we know as the endocannabinoid system.
- The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating various bodily functions, so when THC and CBD bind to these receptors, they interfere with the body’s native signaling process. It’s also why you feel intoxicated when ingesting THC.
Research shows that there are two ways THC causes hunger. The first one is as described above; the THC molecules bind to the receptors in the brain responsible for hunger.
However, THC simultaneously binds to the receptors located in your stomach. When THC binds to these particular receptors, the stomach releases a special hormone that it ordinarily uses to tell the brain that it needs more food.
Since these processes occur at the same time, the feeling of hunger tends to be more pronounced than ordinary hunger, which is why most people head for the refrigerator.
Do Edibles Make You Hungry?
Edibles that make you hungry also exist because they contain THC. The fact that a small amount of brownie or cookie enters your stomach isn’t enough to override the effects of the THC.
However, the munchies caused by edibles take longer because the THC isn’t going directly into the bloodstream or brain. Instead, it’s broken down in the stomach and then absorbed into the bloodstream via the digestive system.
So do edibles give you munchies? Yes, but, like an edible-based high, you can expect it to take anywhere from one to two hours to kick in.
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch
Does Sativa or Indica Make You Hungrier?
Indica and Sativa are seen as polar opposites of each other, with the former purportedly making you feel relaxed and the latter energizing you. But does Sativa or Indica make you hungry?
Both can cause you to feel hunger because of the presence of THC in both. Naturally, higher concentrations of THC will increase your chances of feeling hungry, but does all weed cause munchies?
Like in so many things, differences exist between Sativa and Indica, and it’s all down to a cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV. This cannabinoid is found in what’s known as “diet weed.”
Does Indica Make You Hungry?
Indica is likelier to make you feel hungrier. This is due to the reduced THCV content. Moreover, Indica can also make you feel like you have to eat out of boredom.
After all, if you’re feeling relaxed and lying on the couch, it’s natural that you might feel as if you could go for a snack. But there are Indica strains that can help you to avoid the munchies.
Although some may argue that traditionally Indica strains contain more significant concentrations of THC, this is a theory that is falling by the wayside as new strains are bred worldwide. These days, you can find countless Sativa strains with just as much THC as their Indica brethren.
Some of the top Indica strains for avoiding the munchies include the following:
- Pink Boost Goddess
- Sour Tsunami
Does Sativa Make You Hungry?
Sativa is where most “diet weed” comes from. These strains contain higher levels of THCV, which can actively fight off hunger while making you feel energized and ready to take on the day.
Moreover, suppose you believe the traditional line on THC content. In that case, Sativa strains contain lower concentrations of THC, meaning that your body is less likely to send out those awkward hunger signals.
Some of the best Sativa strains for avoiding hunger include the following:
- Durban Poison
- Jack the Ripper
- Red Congolese
With all this talk of munchies, can weed make you fat? No, weed itself won’t add to your calorie intake. It’s what you eat while you are feeling the munchies that can make you fat. Naturally, many smokers are worried about this, which is why selecting a Sativa can be beneficial.
Do Hybrid Strains Make You Hungry?
Hybrids work similarly to pure Sativa and Indica strains. Every hybrid will differ because some may be Sativa dominant, whereas others will have more Indica characteristics.
This is why if you’re a regular hybrid strain smoker, you should research each strain to figure out what’s inside. Doing so will tell you more about whether a particular hybrid will lead to the munchies.
FAQs About Eating When High
Now that you know the answer to “Does weed make you hungry?” it’s time to answer some questions about the best ways to handle the munchies while high. In this FAQ section, we’re going to go in-depth about some of the aspects of munchies and how to keep them under control.
Why Does Weed Give You the Munchies?
Weed can inevitably lead to munchies because of the THC content of your weed. More THC will result in a more significant high and an elevated chance of experiencing feelings of hunger. This is because the THC molecules interfere with your brain’s signaling system.
However, some strains balance this with THCV, an appetite suppressant. It’s why Sativa strains rich in THCV seldom end up with you feeling hungry.
The other way to avoid feeling hungry is to opt for a strain with a higher CBD-to-THC ratio. This dilutes the THC content and stops you from feeling hungrier. However, this can also reduce the psychoactive high you are looking for, which may be something you want to avoid.
Why Does Food Taste Better High?
Many people comment that they believe food tastes better while high. And research shows that this is the case, with scientists confirming that cannabis makes your meals taste better.
One study examined mice and exposed them to high concentrations of THC. The results of the study showed that exposing your body to THC will inevitably amplify your sense of smell. Since we already know that smell is closely associated with taste, cannabis can increase the sense of taste and smell, resulting in better food tasting.
Additionally, other research has shown that THC can stimulate the brain’s reward centers. When this happens, food smells and tastes better, but your brain also amplifies the pleasure you gain from eating food. In other words, your brain over-rewards you for enjoying something tasty.
Does this mean that you will be ravenously hungry? No, it depends on how full you were to begin with. If you were starving, you are likely to feel so. On the other hand, if you are already full, it shouldn’t take much to tamp down those hunger sensations.
And, as always, everyone experiences these feelings differently.
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How to Stop Eating When High?
Some people experience the munchies to a greater extent than others. If you’re someone who suffers heavily from eating while high, you may be wondering how you can stop eating when high.
Here are some tactics to help you stop eating when high:
- Switch Strains – If you’re constantly battling the urge to eat, the answer could be in switching cannabis strains. Try changing to a Sativa or hybrid strain. Alternatively, look for strains known for not causing you to get hungry.
- Drink Water – Just like the brain tricks you into making you feel hungry, you can return the favor by downing a big glass of water. This is often enough to make your brain think you have been fed.
- Look for Alternate Stimulation – Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is to take your mind off of your stomach. Throwing on a movie, listening to music, or talking to friends are three of the ways that you can stimulate yourself in other ways.
On the other hand, if you’re worried about your diet, you can make some healthy snacks available to you instead. Always having something you can nibble on that won’t pile on the calories can enable you to eat without worrying about putting weight on.
Why Can I Only Eat When I’m High?
Unfortunately, this is a medical issue. You may have anorexia, or you may be tackling another chronic medical condition that makes it difficult for you to eat.
This is why conditions like anorexia have been classified as qualifying conditions for an MMJ card.
In this situation, it’s vital that you speak to your doctor to discuss your eating habits. You may have a genuine medical condition that must be addressed.
Why Does Weed Make Me Thirsty?
Cottonmouth is one of the most common side effects of smoking marijuana. The extreme thirst that you experience is a perfectly normal part of consuming cannabis.
One of the reasons why cottonmouth is a factor in smoking cannabis is that you produce less saliva. When your mouth produces less saliva, it becomes less able to secrete itself, which tells the brain that you are thirsty.
The mechanism is the same as the munchies. It’s the THC that interferes with different parts of your body’s signaling system.
Does Everyone Experience the Munchies While Smoking Weed?
In short, nobody knows. Everybody’s endocannabinoid system reacts differently to weed, so it’s unclear as to why two people smoking the same strain of cannabis may have two entirely different experiences.
Remember that just because someone claims they don’t experience the munchies doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. They may just be smoking a Sativa strain of weed or a Sativa-dominant hybrid.
More research is required to understand better why some people have strong reactions to weed and need to eat, whereas other people’s appetites are unphased.
Pick the Right Weed for Your Needs with a Medical Marijuana Card!
Why does weed make you hungry? It’s all in the THC. However, you can enjoy a munchie-free smoke by choosing the correct strain and having some smart tactics to avoid your hunger from taking over.
In the meantime, the importance of selecting the right strain cannot be understated. With a medical marijuana card, you can access a wider variety of strains, purchase in bulk, and save money on taxes.
If you’re interested in whether you qualify for a medical marijuana card, contact Green Health Docs to start your application now.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.