Everyone has experienced aggressive food cravings. Nothing sounds better than a pizza at midnight, ice cream for breakfast, or a steak for lunch and dinner. When you’ve got the munchies, it seems like nothing will satisfy you no matter what or how much you eat. Now if you add in a chemical reason for cravings, such as pregnancy or marijuana usage, you have a serious case of the munchies developing.
If you’ve been smoking for a while, you’re probably all too familiar with the munchies that come from marijuana use. The insatiable desire to eat your whole fridge and then never move again is a mainstay of being high.
Have you ever wondered why it makes you so hungry? Maybe you’re dieting and want to cut down on your calorie consumption while smoking weed? Keep reading to learn the ins-and-outs of the munchies, and what you can do to stop packing on the pounds.
What Makes You Hungry?
Many people don’t give a second thought to why they are hungry. They just assume their stomach is empty, so they need to fill it so that they can have energy. That energy allows them to survive and continues the cycle. However, hunger is more complex than just your caloric intake.
How hungry you are is determined by two primary factors: changes in nutrient levels and hormones in the body. When your brain notices a lack of vitamins and minerals that it needs, it signals your body to become hungry in order to make you eat to provide them. In order to make you hungry, your stomach will release the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is an appetite increaser that urges you to eat. This is the secret to why weed makes you hungry.
How Does Weed Affects Your Brain?
With recreational and medical marijuana use becoming more common, the studies and research conducted on the effects of weed on the brain have been further explored. As a result, we have answers about the safety, use cases, and effects of marijuana that we haven’t known in the past. As time goes on, scientists expect to be able to further refine their understanding, improving weed’s effectiveness as a natural alternative to conventional medicine.
Marijuana contains THC, a compound that is found in cannabis plants in varying levels (depending on the strain). When you smoke or ingest marijuana, you absorb the THC into your body. This does a variety of things, including causing brain chemicals and hormones to be released to relieve anxiety and depression. It also enables CB1 receptors in the brain, which is thought to be the receptor that is linked to the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
With the increased production and release of ghrelin from marijuana, it’s no surprise that it makes you hungry. But munchies are more than just a hunger; they are a need to eat more than what should be physically possible. So why does weed make you overeat, rather than just eating until you are full? The answer most likely comes back to hormones again, this time dopamine.
Dopamine is the “feel good” brain hormone, affecting and controlling the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It is released and provides pleasure when you do things like use drugs, have sex, or eat.
Marijuana increases the rate of release of dopamine from the brain, causing you to feel a greater reward from doing the activities mentioned above. That means that the level of satisfaction that you receive from eating exceeds satisfying your body’s need for nutrients and responding to the ghrelin. You are instead eating almost entirely for pleasure, which makes you more likely to keep eating until you physically can’t anymore.
How to Protect Your Waistline from Munchies
While it is possible to suppress your urge to eat, it is impossible for many once the munchies kick in. For active smokers, it can be hard to stay in shape and healthy when you’re almost always craving something bad for you. With one of the primary complaints, people have about the effects of weed being how much they eat, working to minimize the effect overeating has on your waistline is a great way to make it more sustainable.
Here are some things you can try to stay in shape while you smoke:
Workout before you smoke
Working out is an incredibly important part of staying in shape for smokers and non-smokers alike. It helps to burn fat, build muscle, and keep your happy and healthy. However, weed has a nasty habit of sapping the motivation to exercise from you. To make sure you can still get your workouts in, be sure to exercise before you smoke so that you don’t decide to binge a show on Netflix as an alternative.
Hide the junk food
While easier said than done, keeping junk food out of your reach can lower the chances of you eating unhealthy foods while high. You can keep healthy food around so that the closest thing to you won’t be too many calories or loaded with fat. Sure, you could always just walk to the store, but if your motivation is hampered by the marijuana, you are much less likely to go out and get something that you are to settle for something in your house.
Drink water and chew gum
These are tips you may find when looking for tips to lose weight, but they also help you to feel more full from the start so you are less likely to become ravishingly hungry. The sugars and flavors in many gums will satisfy your appetite, and when combined with lots of water, you can make your stomach feel fuller with less food. Plus, you’ll be well hydrated!
Overall, marijuana is great for treating a variety of problems, with little consequence other than eating tons of food. Your brain and stomach work together to make you hungry and happy while high, and eating gives you a dopamine rush that keeps you going back for seconds. Now that you know why you get so hungry and how to limit the damage, you can live a healthier lifestyle while still enjoying your high. Smoke on!