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Many cannabis users are familiar with the phenomenon: that you get huge cravings for food when you have used cannabis. It's called the munchies. Some people don't mind it and can enjoy it. Others find it annoying. But why does cannabis give you the munchies, and what can you do about it? Read on below, and you'll find out all about munchies from cannabis.

Why do you get the munchies from cannabis?

When you use cannabis, you do so to enjoy a high. Most people do know that this effect is caused by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). But THC is a substance (a cannabinoid) that has a lot of influence on our brains, so it can cause even more effects. Many people get the munchies, or binge-eating, when they are high. It doesn't matter what you are going to eat, sweet, salty or fatty. You feel a real primal urge to stuff something down your throat.

So cannabis clearly affects appetite. But why does this actually happen? Scientists were also curious about this and conducted research into the cause and effects of this phenomenon. THC affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is tasked with maintaining balance in the body and can therefore adjust all kinds of processes. Appetite is also regulated by the ECS. It turns out that THC can activate certain receptors via the ECS (the CB1 receptors). In this way, the substance stimulates appetite.

The effect of THC on the brain

THC triggers signals that tell our brain that we are hungry. There are four areas in the brain that THC influences that are related to appetite:

  • THC affects your sense of smell and taste, making you smell more and taste better.
  • In the hypothalamus, THC affects nerve cells that signal that you are satiated.
  • THC stimulates the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry. It also speeds up your metabolism.
  • The cannabinoid also stimulates the production of dopamine, making you enjoy eating more.

So THC seems to do everything it can to get you to eat. Your body makes more hunger hormone, and at the same time, less of the hormone that signals you are full is produced. Besides, all food also tastes much better when you are high. While it is of course great to enjoy food, the munchies is still something to consider, especially if you blow more often. If you stuff yourself with chocolate, crisps or fast food every time, it can have a negative effect on your health. Below, you can read what you can do to control the munchies.

Tips to keep the munchies under control

Not everyone is happy with the massive munchies that weed can cause. That is why we have listed these tips for you that will help you suffer less from these eating binges.

1. Before using cannabis: eat a healthy meal

If at all possible, it is advisable to eat a healthy, filling meal before using cannabis. Once you have eaten enough, your body gets a clear signal that you are full. As a result, you are less likely to experience a binge kick when you are high.

2. Find distractions

If you do get the munchies, look for distractions. When you are stoned, you can be completely obsessed with what you have your attention focused on. So that could be food, but try to divert your attention from all the goodies in your kitchen cupboards. Go listen to music, watch a film or do something creative, at least something that uses your senses, so that you no longer notice you are hungry.

3. Drink water

Drinking water can also help reduce feelings of hunger. Sometimes your body confuses the signal of thirst for that of hunger. Drinking a large glass of water will fill your stomach. You may feel well satiated afterwards, and the munchies may disappear.

4. Get healthy snacks in the house

Do you always get the munchies when you use weed? Then make sure you are prepared for this by keeping plenty of healthy snacks. Think yoghurt, nuts, fruit, rice cakes and healthy dips. Of course, these are not actually what you crave during an eating kick, but they do fill the stomach. And if you start eating from these, chances are the munchies will also lessen, and you can focus your attention on something other than food.

5. Switch cannabis strain

Do you always suffer a lot of munchies because of cannabis and are fed up with it? Now that you know it's THC that causes these binge-eating, switching to a different cannabis strain might be a good idea. It's indica strains with higher levels of THC that stimulate your appetite. So try a sativa strain with a lower THC content or one that contains more CBD. By the way, you can also counteract the munchies with CBD oil. This cannabinoid is also known to tone down the high that THC causes.