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The Science Behind the ‘Munchies’

July 11, 2024

After consuming cannabis, have you ever found yourself standing over the kitchen sink mid-bite into a cookie, only to wonder how you got there?

As it turns out, you’re not alone in this experience. People as far back as300 BCE knew that cannabis led to an increased appetite.

But what’s the cannabis science behind this odd phenomenon? In the following post, let’s delve into this subject a bit further and examine what they are and what causes them.

What Are The Munchies?

An uncontrollable desire to munch on every snack within the kitchen’s distance of your couch after indulging in your preferred cannabis strain is referred to as “the munchies.” It’s a desire to eat all the weirdest, best-tasting foods possible.

One interesting statistic backs up the idea of ‘munchies.’ In states where recreational cannabis is legal, the sale of products like ice cream, chips, and cookies increases by almost 6.3 percent.

However, the cannabis science behind your weed-fueled increased appetite is even odder than the strains of chips your brain prefers while high.

What Causes The Munchies?

Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) published their findings about the science of munchies in Scientific Reports, showing how cannabis switches on a cluster of neurons in the hypothalamus area of the brain that amps up appetite.

In the study, animals were exposed to cannabis vapor, and that vapor attached to cannabinoid-1 receptors in the brain and stimulated appetite neurons called Agouti Related Proteins.

This short video from Insider Science explains the study’s details and how it relates to munchies.

Essentially, the munchies are driven by THC, cannabis’ psychoactive component, and it interacts with our brain’s hunger system. It also has the power to enhance our scene of smell and taste, which makes food even more appealing.

THC also interacts with ourreward system, making eating a more pleasurable experience. In other words, it makes sense why cannabis users love to indulge in tasty treats while under the influence. For some, though, this presents a problem: an uptick in calories.

So, what’s the best way to combat this exciting side effect of cannabis consumption?

How to Stop The Munchies


Dehydration can easily be mistaken for hunger. Drink plenty of water as you consume cannabis to help curb your cravings.


Leverage the power of your reward system and indulge in your favorite music, or head out to your nearest park and stop to smell the flowers. Activate your pleasure center in other ways instead of eating to reduce your munchie calorie count.

Healthy Snacking Options

Stock your fridge with healthy snacks that are similar to unhealthy ones. Swap carrot sticks for chips or yogurt ice cream bars for your favorite pint of chocolate ice cream.

Strain Selection

Strains with higher concentrations of THC are more likely to induce the munchies. It’s best to avoid these strains to avoid intense cravings.

Does CBD Give You The Munchies?

No, CBD does not give you the munchies. Because CBD doesn’t contain THC, it doesn’t stimulate the same receptors in the brain. However, CBD can reduce pain and anxiety, and it could potentially help with your appetite in the process.

Ready To Do Your Own Research?

Want to find out first-hand if cannabis will increase your appetite? Head into theBlue Oak Dispensary to explore our wide selection of cannabis strains that suit your preferences.

We look forward to seeing you at the store!

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