The Munchies: Why Does Weed Make Me Hungry?

Eaze Team
Jan 26, 2024

Weed and Your Endocannabinoid System

Let’s dive into one of the classics—the munchies, brought to you by THC, the OG compound in cannabis. THC doesn’t just make food taste like it’s touched by culinary gods; it cranks up your cravings for sweet and savory treats OR full on meals (tasty, or just straight weird). This hankering for crazy food concoctions happens when THC buddies up with the CB1 receptors in the brain, an effect that spans across many species. And guess what? Our bodies have their own version of cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids.
The endocannabinoid system isn’t just about eating—it’s the maestro of whole-body metabolism. Cannabinoids, the conductors, pull the strings via the CB1 receptor, the same one THC engages with to produce psychoactive effects. Their metabolic symphony includes liver fat synthesis, pancreas insulin secretion, and muscle-use with sugars. More CB1 receptor action means your body is on a mission to hoard energy reserves—consuming calories now, storing them up for later use. Even fat cells join the CB1 receptor party, with cannabinoids giving them the green light to reserve energy.
But here’s the twist—cannabinoid receptors aren’t just kicking back in the brain; they’re throwing a party in key metabolic organs like the liver. So, when you’re savoring cannabinoids, be it THC or tweaking your endocannabinoid levels with your diet, it’s not just about igniting psychoactive effects. These little players are pulling some strings beyond the brain, messing with not just your munchies mode but also how your body works its magic with whatever you choose to consume.
munchies blog - pizza
Now, in the short-term, cranking up those CB1 receptors tends to have some metabolic side effects:
1. You’re feeling a bit more peckish, AKA increased food intake.
2. The liver’s cranking up its fat-making game—hello, lipogenesis!
3. The pancreas is dropping more insulin into the mix.
4. Your GI tract is on overdrive, absorbing nutrients like a champ.
5. Muscles are doing a happy dance with increased glucose metabolism.
6. Adipose tissue (that’s fat storage) is getting a little boost.
And let’s touch on the less talked-about subject—how your diet.

Can My Diet Influence My Endocannabinoid System?

Cannabinoids don’t just influence our hunger levels; they also take cues from what we put on our plates. Enter endocannabinoids—these small, fatty wonders crafted from linoleic acid, a crucial omega-6 fatty acid. Now, because our bodies don’t produce fatty acids, we need to consume them through what we eat.
The more omega-6-rich content in your diet, the higher the endocannabinoid levels tend to be. Here’s where the Western diet makes an entrance, boasting sky-high omega-6 fats and low levels omega-3s. Since endocannabinoids stimulate how much food we choose to eat, a diet heavy on omega-6 fats is like rolling out the red carpet for increased food consumption levels. It’s a classic case of a vicious cycle: indulging in omega-6-rich foods can lead to weight gain and potentially impact your metabolic health, which, in turn, cranks up the endocannabinoid levels, cueing in more munchies.
Let’s sum it up:
1. Endocannabinoids are created from omega-6 fats. Diets with high in omega-6 fats increase endocannabinoid levels.
2. Omega-3 fats are the brain’s best friend for endocannabinoid function. Skimping on omega-3s can lead to deficits in endocannabinoid-related brain antics.
3. A diet that’s all about balance, featuring both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, is the golden ticket for a happy, well-fed endocannabinoid system.

THC and Your Metabolism

Overall, consuming marijuana can lead to an enhanced hankering for your favorite foods, or as we call them, “the munchies”, thanks to THC; the maestro behind activating the CB1 receptor—the very same receptor that endocannabinoids tap into to stimulate our appetite.
Enter the tolerance theory. Picture this: increased exposure to THC could potentially dial down the number of CB1 receptors hanging out on neurons or turn down their sensitivity dial. In simpler terms, it’s like having fewer CB1 receptors ready for action, leaving endogenous cannabinoids with a smaller cast to stimulate. Since the activation of CB1 receptors usually sends us on a journey of increased eating, having fewer CB1 receptors might mean less overall CB1 activation, leading to lower levels of munchie-inducing feeding—except in cases of a THC-heavy feast.
Disclaimer: Eaze does not make any medical claims. The information provided in this blog regarding THC and its impact on the human body has been researched online and sourced from various external references. It is intended to offer a brief educational overview of one effect that can be influenced by cannabis. It is essential to acknowledge that each person’s body reacts differently to cannabis, and individual responses may vary. Cannabis can have different side effects on different individuals, and the information presented here is for general educational purposes only. Before making any decisions related to your health or well-being, it is strongly recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances. The content in this blog is not a substitute for professional medical guidance, diagnosis, or treatment.
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