We’ve all been there-being high and then bingeing everything in sight like our bellies are bottomless pits. Our bellies aren’t bottomless but why we feel this is simple: the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis is the main cause for why our appetites increase. Emerging research has given us two reasons as to why this is.
Reason One: Receptors
For a substance to work or function within the body it needs to find the right receptors. THC interacts with the receptors located in our nervous system (the brain). Specifically, the parts of the brain that activate appetite according to Dr. Rachna Patel, who counsels cannabis consumers for medicinal purposes. Essentially, the higher the THC content is in your bud, the more severe your munchies may be.
Reason Two: Hormones
You may also feel hungry due to a hormone secreted from the stomach known as ghrelin which sends signals to your brain to let it know you are hungry. According to Dr. Gary Wenk, a neuroscience professor and researcher for a cannabis advisory board, there is a relationship between cannabis consumption and the secretion of this hormone. When this happens the receptors in your brain activate and make you want to eat.
What We Crave & Why
Experts say cannabis plays into the rewarding feeling you get when eating food. Our brains crave foods with high amounts of calories typically found in sugary, salty and fatty snacks. When our brain gets these snacks it releases high amounts of dopamine - which is responsible for why we feel pleasure - and feeds the reward system. Essentially, when we eat these types of snacks it makes us feel pleasure and encourages us to eat more in order to keep pleasure (or dopamine levels) high. This is a reason we tend to want to order a pizza or eat an entire party size bag of chips when the munchies come knocking.
Tips on Munching Responsibly
Since our bodies crave salty, fatty, sugary foods, eating a salad will probably not satiate the ravenous hunger we feel after seshing. A way to stay satisfied while keeping relatively healthy is to find alternative sources of sugar, fat and salt. The most full-proof way to ensure you stay healthy while munching is planning ahead. Make sure you have access to these healthier alternatives by shopping at your favourite local grocer beforehand, prepare your snack before seshing and/or have ready-to-eat as well as easy-to-prepare snacks on hand.
Guacamole & Baked Tortilla Chips
Peanut Butter & Banana
Cream Cheese Spread & Bell Pepper with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
Trail Mix with Nuts & Dried Fruit or Dark Chocolate
Salted Dry-Roasted Nuts
There are so many healthy munchie alternatives than what is listed above, these are just suggestions. Working within your resources it is possible to come up with creative and delicious snacks that are both satisfying and easy. It is so important to understand that moderation is key to avoid consuming enormous amounts of calories when trying to be health conscious. Although these are good healthy alternatives, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If you have dietary restrictions and are unsure of specific food alternatives always consult your healthcare provider. Be mindful of how much and how fast you consume and munch responsibly!