The Science Behind The Munchies

Find Out Why Weed Boosts Your Appetite

Ever wondered why you get the munchies whenever you smoke weed? If you guessed THC, you are correct!

Our brain is divided into regions, each controlling different centres such as mood, appetite, thought – you name it! When THC enters our brain and hits the region that controls mood, we are hit with a sense of euphoria. The same principles apply to our appetite.

So, why does THC cause us to have intense food cravings?

According to a study on rats conducted by Yale University in 2014, munchies are driven by neurons in the brain that typically suppress the appetite. However, when these neutrons are met with THC, we have an uncontrollable urge to eat more.

READ MORE: Hypothalamic POMC Neurons Promote Cannabinoid-Induced Feeding

“By observing how the appetite center of the brain responds to marijuana, we were able to see what drives the hunger brought about by cannabis and how that same mechanism that normally turns off feeding becomes a driver of eating,” says Tamas Horvath, the Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Medicine, Professor of Neurobiology and Ob/Gyn at Yale University School of Medicine, and director of the Yale Program in Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism.

“It’s like pressing a car’s brakes and accelerating instead,” he said. “We were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating, were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full. It fools the brain’s central feeding system.”

The next time you get the munchies, you’ll know why!