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Q&A: WITH DR. MIKE – The Scoop on the “Munchies”

Q: Why does cannabis give me the munchies?
A: Cannabis triggers a set of neurons in your brain known as the hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin neurons. These neurons typically control the feeling of being full but cannabis makes them have the opposite effect, hunger.

Q: Hyp-hypop-hypopotamus? What the hell are you talking about?
A: Bottomline, it is the part of your brain that controls body temperature, thirst and hunger. When the CB1 receptors of your endocannabinoid system are activated this part of your brain is tricked into thinking you are no longer full. Fun fact the hypothalamus is also responsible for sexual orientation.

Q: Why are my munchies worse for high THC products than high CBD products?
A: THC binds better to the CB1 receptor of your endocannabinoid system which in turn gives you a much stronger hunger for that bag of Doritos.

Q: Munchies? So what? I love eating food when high!
A: Well great! You are probably tasting and smelling your food better when you are high. When THC binds to your CB1 receptors it triggers your olfactory bulb. This is your sense of smell, you then smell things better. When you smell things better you also taste things better.

Q: Can I get high and not get the munchies?
A: Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a variation of THC that has shown to have appetite suppressing properties. The only problem is that there is very little found in the plant.

Q: Well where can I get THCV?
A: THCV products are on the horizon. Companies like GW Pharmaceuticals are investigating THCV for treatment of type 2 diabetes and it is only a matter of time before selective breeding is capable of creating THCV dominant strains.

Q: My munchies are so bad I’m getting fat, what can I do?
A: The best thing to prevent gorging yourself to death is to be disciplined and don’t stock the pantry with junk food like Oreos and Twinkies. You can also try drinking coffee to suppress your appetite or smoking on the go where there is no food around.

Q: How bad are the munchies really?
A: On average people who toke consume 600 more calories per day, but they also have lower body mass indexes and obesity is 1/3 lower for cannabis users….so maybe not that bad.

Dr. Michael Heller,

G. Marsicano, et al. (2014). The endocannabinoid system controls food intake via olfactory processes. Nature Neuroscience, 17, 407-419.

T. Horvath, et al. (2015). Hypothalamic POMC neurons promote cannabinoid-induced feeding. Nature, 519, 45-65.
D. Butterfield. (2015). 21 shocking weed statistics. Herb.

Have some questions that you want answered? Email: to get them answered by Dr. Mike!

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