The intense, unremitting feeling of hunger your experience after smoking marijuana. It’s maybe the most well-recognized phenomenon in stoner culture — yet few understand the chemical and biological processes that make it happen.
Has examined how marijuana affects metabolism and what access to pot does to fatness rates in legal states, but the munchies deserves a separate study, and we’ve checked out the analysis in an effort to tell our readers about why smoking marijuana makes you crave, well, everything in sight.
In massive part, the munchies are a product of THC, the most psychoactive element of marijuana. When you smoke, THC activates neurotransmitters in your brain called endocannabinoids, which regulate metabolism and activate hunger, among other things.
“Chemicals in marijuana, especially THC, activate this false sense of hunger when they interact with hormones like leptin, a main player in sending out hunger signals,” Ryan Vandrey, a behavioral pharmacologist at Johns Hopkins. “Then you get the munchies. If you hadn’t smoked, you probably wouldn’t have gotten hungry then …