We’ve all had them at one point in time or another within our relationship with Cannabis. You say you hate them, but you answer every time they call. You share stories about them with your friends, after moments of sheer gluttony that spawn a sensation of pride and accomplishment, swearing never to eat like that again, but then you do anyway. Two Honeybuns, four bags of Lays, two Hostess cupcakes, and two Arizona’s later, and you’re still ready to nom.
Yes, we’re thinking about the same thing; the Munchies! But why does one get the Munchies? Where do they come from? Is it me, or is it just part of the experience? Let’s dive into the science of munchies.
Just what are the Munchies?
“The Munchies” is a term given to the feelings of hunger and thirst that arise as a result of interacting with cannabis, but the day old question is still there; “why do I always get the munchies?”. Research has shown us that cannabis interacts with our body in many places, with most of the business going down in our brains.
Almost as if we were meant to be, mankind was pre-programmed with cannabinoids and a system to interpret and utilize them; the endocannabinoid system. Located via transmitters and receptors in our central nervous system and brain, our endocannabinoid system is responsible for naturally regulating our basic everyday functions such as mood, memory, and in this case, appetite.
How do I get the Munchies?
When cannabis is consumed, precious cannabinoids find their way through the bloodstream to the brain, where cannabinoids such as THC and CBD interact with our CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are the homies in our minds that connect with the cannabinoids we pass to them, interpreting the levels and then reacting accordingly.
It wasn’t until recently that researchers discovered exactly how these receptors work. Scientists at Yale discovered in 2015 that neurons in the brain responsible for the normal suppression of appetite are reversed when triggered in the presence of cannabis.
Thomas Horvath and his colleges studying the effects of cannabis and appetite came to these conclusions after observing the effects of cannabis on the endocannabinoid system of transgenic mice. They figured they could observe how the part of the brain in charge of stimulating appetite behaves when in contact with cannabis.
They found that after activated, the CB1 receptors pass a signal to POMC or pro-opiomelanocortin nerve cells, which then produce a hormone called α-melanocyte (α-MSH). α-MSH lets your body know when it’s full, except when cannabis is introduced into the system; that’s when they work in reverse, signalling the body to feel hunger. 
“It’s like pressing a car’s brakes and accelerating instead,” Horvath 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.”. 
But Why? Is There More?
Although researchers are just now beginning to understand how these cannabinoids do exactly what they do, another answer just leads to another question; why? One might say that to get something, one has to give something up of equal or greater value. In this case, to reap the benefits of cannabis’ many mysterious medicines, we have to feed our bodies the equivalent of all of the feel good and balancing energies it releases our way.
As these energies help us work through our problems, our trials and tribulations, it only seems fair that we indulge our inner needs, and properly munch whenever we have the munchies. Although it can be difficult to resist smashing your favourite munchie junk food, there is no real harm done when enjoyed in moderation. This being said, don’t be afraid to have a donut, just don’t eat 42 in a sitting. Treat your vessel like a forest. You want to keep your forest green and growing forever, and the best way to do that is to feed your body live energy that keeps it strong and radiant.
Fruits are amazing substitutes for the normal go to sweets, as their natural sugars and hydrating properties are every stoner’s best friend. As much as it is important to feed our bodies what it needs to keep us feeling groovy, staying hydrated is equally as important. Keeping in mind both when lit will ensure a pleasant experience.
In the End
As if nature wasn’t always striving for balance, it seems almost as if the effects of the Munchies almost prevent overeating in the long run, as the brain eventually reverts the reversal of receptor functionality, and releases α-MSH into the bloodstream as it was intended too, signaling the body that it is now full.
Oddly enough, cannabis users who consume cannabis regularly tend not to gain any weight as a result of their munching. It is as if cannabis helps the body to process all of the input we jut gave it, outing the bits it doesn’t while allowing for things like sugars and fats to be handled in a way that is less harmful to the body. Weird right? Cannabis users have a lower obesity rate than those who don’t consume cannabis.