Scientists reveal the real reason weed always gives you the munchies
Even if you've never tried the stuff, decades worth of TV shows and movies teach you that when you smoke weed, a goofy kind of expression appears on your face, you suddenly become fascinated by the design of the paperclip, and you get the munchies. Yes, an image of someone stuffing their face with snacks goes hand-in-hand with a stoner's reputation, though no-one has ever really questioned why you get so hungry after you smoke a joint.
Until now. A new study has looked into the relationship between cannabis and a person's hunger levels, with lead researcher Jon Davis stating in a press release that it's largely known that "cannabis use affects appetite," but that no-one really understood "about how or why."
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer shared the findings from the study, highlighting how the scientists (who did not volunteer themselves as test subjects) worked with lab rats to try and discover something new about the 'devil's lettuce.' They gave the rats cannabis in order to investigate what causes people to eat every consumable in sight after they inhale or ingest the plant.
But as well as trying to find the scientific reasoning behind getting the munchies, the research was actually conducted for another reason altogether: scientists were on a mission to find ways to help people with illnesses that suppress or remove their appetite. The medicinal uses of cannabis could then be further extended for those who need help getting hungry.
So what did the study find?
Well, they found that the munchies are a legitimate thing, and they're linked to hormones. Every one of us has a thing called ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that controls hunger, and cannabis consumption tends to boost ghrelin, which then makes us hungry.
"By studying exposure to cannabis plant matter, the most widely consumed form, we're finding genetic and physiological events in the body that allow cannabis to turn eating behaviour on or off," Davis said. These genetic and physiological events are primarily the increase of ghrelin levels, which tend to lead people to seek "more frequent, small meals".
Davis also highlighted that there is "a delay before it takes effect", which many people who smoke pot could probably confirm.
While the results of the study are positive for the researchers who were trying to find the scientific reason behind the desire to eat after consuming cannabis, it's also interesting for those who consume cannabis on the regular – whether for medicinal or recreational purposes.
This little bit of extra knowledge might help you think twice before mauling an entire packet of tortilla chips you somehow thought would taste simply delectable with half a tub of ice-cream. It might be making you feel happy now, but your stomach might not be so happy with you later...
Actual scientific research like this is only going to become more common as countries around the world move towards the legalization of cannabis. So far, several countries around the world have approved medicinal use, and a few states in America are blazing the trail to legalize the plant fully, meaning people can legally walk into stores to purchase pot products.
So, go forth with your new knowledge and use it wisely.