People tend to eat more after using marijuana because several separate mechanisms come together to invoke marijuana-induced appetite.
One of the mechanisms appeals to our taste buds as it makes everything yummy, while another mechanism makes us crave candy and junk food, and when the two mechanisms are bound together, they make us hungry even when full.
Talking about how marijuana induces hunger is a bit complex; therefore, to make sure that everyone understands, let us break it down into several sections that are easy to understand.
The Olfactory Bulb
This is a part of the brain that is involved in olfaction, which is a process that establishes our sense of smell.
A study conducted on animals in 2014 revealed that after consuming weed, the THC molecules bind themselves to the cellular receptors of the olfactory bulb, which enhances an individual’s sense of smell. This in turn intensifies fragrances and aromas.
Your sense of smell is closely linked with your sense of taste, providing you with a pleasurable eating experience, since food is made much yummier. Consequently, you are more likely to get the munchies once you consume weed and this part of your brain is activated.
Dopamine and Lowered Inhibitions
THC increases the levels of dopamine and lowers our inhibitions, causing some of the unhealthy food choices amongst weed consumers. This forces you to eat food you would not be otherwise caught eating, and regret hits later after the high has worn off.
The Ghrelin Hormone
In 2018, Washington State University researchers conducted a study in which they exposed rats to marijuana vapor and then observed their eating habits. The study findings showed that THC triggered a surge of the ghrelin hormone, which is responsible for signaling the brain that an organism is hungry; thus, influencing it to look for food despite it being full. This study shows what humans experience when they are high on weed and develop the urge to eat.
In 2015, researchers conducted a study on marijuana and hunger, where they found that under the influence of marijuana, POMC neuron cells in the hypothalamus alter their function.
The hypothalamus is a brain segment that links the nervous system with the endocrine system. It is responsible for hunger, thirst, circadian rhythm, sleep, and body temperature. The researchers found that under the influence of marijuana, the POMC neurons, which are responsible for sensing when one is full, shift their functions and instead detects starvation. This sends you looking for what to eat.
When one is full, POMC neurons secrete the alpha-MSH compound, which is responsible for satiety sensation, but under the influence of weed, the neurons secrete a beta-endorphin compound, which is responsible for stimulating appetite irrespective of one being full.
There are marijuana strains that contain high levels of THCV, which diminishes appetite. Therefore, consumers should strive to acquire products that are rich in THCV to counter the effects of THC-induced hunger-pangs.
For the majority of recreational weed consumers, marijuana-induced hunger is a nuisance, but for people undergoing chemotherapy, marijuana-induced hunger is much welcome because their treatment reduces their desire and ability to eat. The muchies aren’t therefore n entirely bad thing, depending on your needs.
This could perhaps be the reason why weed companies, such as ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) and Willow Biosciences Inc. (TSX: WLLW) (OTCQB: CANSF), always recommend that people talk to their doctor before consuming any cannabis product.
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