Smoking or consuming pot is often associated with insatiable food cravings, as shown in the movie “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.” But why does pot make you so hungry?
THC (Tetrahydrocannabiol) is the psychoactive component in Marijauna, meaning that it affects the brain. One of these effects is to act on the olfactory part of the brain which relates to the sense of smell. It therefore heightens the taste and smell senses, making your body crave food. In some cases, any type of food will do while in others, a craving for a certain type of food can become overwhelming.
THC also combines with the cannabinoid receptors in the human body which fulfill many different functions. That’s right, there are receptors in the body that are specifically designed to combine with THC which is a cannabinoid. In fact, the human body produces it’s own cannabidiol in small amounts.
This endocannaboid system is responsible for controlling moods, emotions, pain and of course appetite. Marijuana therefore stimulates the appetite and decreases the natural process of feeling full after eating, meaning you eat more than you normally would. It basically tells the body that it is starving and needs to consume as much food as possible.
Marijuana and specifically THC also affects dopamine levels. Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that results in feelings of happiness, contentment and joy. If eating and having a full tummy makes your happy, you will experience a need to eat and eat.
While consuming large amounts of food (especially those of the junk food variety) cannot be considered to be healthy in regular people, there are significant medical benefits that can be gained from this side effect of marijuana.
For example, it can be used to treat eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. Cancer patients who have a lack of appetite due to the disease or treatment (especially chemotherapy which results in suppressed appetite, nausea and vomiting) can also benefit from this function of Marijuana on the human body.
However, much more research needs to done into this appetite stimulating side effect of Marijuana before it can be used to specifically target conditions that require it’s use for medical purposes. However, in states where Marijuana has been legalized fully or for medical use, it can be used without the need for additional, targeted research.
CBD (cannabidiol) is another cannabinoid extracted from the Marijuana plant but has no psychoactive effects and therefore has minimal to no effects on the appetite. However, this extract has additional and significant healing, pain relieving and other properties that can be beneficial to patients suffering from a variety of different diseases, illnesses or health conditions.
So if you are looking to get all the other health benefits of CBD oil without having to deal with the munchies, this is the way to go. CBD is legal in more states than Marijuana use and is available in many different forms but is most commonly produced as an oil. And remember ever never drive while high.