The Munchies: What Are They and How to Avoid Them

If you’re a seasoned cannabis lover, you know that “the munchies” are real. And let’s face it: The heightened sensory pleasure of sweet and salty snack foods—combined with the suspicion that we’re not nearly as full as we should be—can be a delightful occasional overindulgence. But for those of us who’d prefer to stick to a healthier diet (and avoid any potentially shameful feelings), we’d love to share some tips on how to avoid the munchies when stoned. 

Munchies Meaning: Why Does Weed Make You Hungry?

Why does weed make you hungry? It turns out the answer is more complex than you might think. One of the best things about cannabis is its ability to heighten our senses. As detailed in a 2013 study, THC interacts with a hormone called ghrelin (aka “the hunger hormone”) that sharpens our senses of taste and smell. Foods seem to taste waaay better than they normally would, and in response we tend to want to eat more of them.

But on top of that, cannabis interacts with neurons in the brain that are more commonly associated with suppressing hunger, not triggering it. As a 2015 study from Yale University shows, this “flipping of the switch” makes us think we’re less full than we really are. The result, of course, is the dreaded munchies.

So, now we know: The munchies are real. But that’s not to say there’s nothing to be done about them. If you’d like some support avoiding this effect, here are some suggestions we’ve found helpful!

How to Avoid The Munchies When Stoned: Three Tips

  1. Plan Ahead: If you can, time your session so that it doesn’t coincide with mealtime. On a related note, studies suggest keeping a regular meal schedule is generally healthier for us anyway. And if you’re worried about overindulging in unhealthy snacks, be sure you have healthy alternatives on hand: Fresh fruits and veggies, or natural and unprocessed snacks.
  2. Stay Active: If you find that snacking while high isn’t helping your health or your mood, think about alternative activities. We’ve written previously about things to do while high in Des Moines, and 2+ years of COVID gave us plenty of online and virtual options as well.
  3. Choose a Different Strain: Seeing as THC is the principal cannabinoid implicated in the munchies, it follows that strains lower in THC are less likely to cause the munchies. That’s one reason we always stock a wide variety of high-CBD strains for you to sample. What’s more, the cannabinoid THCv has been shown to counterbalance some of THC’s appetite-stimulating effects. We’ve written about it before (as well as sharing specific strains that feature it)

Munchies Meaning: Wrapping Up

Again, for some of us, the munchies aren’t a big deal (and, one hopes, certainly not a trigger for shame or other negative feelings). After all—as the studies we referenced suggest—the munchies are simply a result of our bodies reacting as they should!

We hope today’s post explains that age-old question “what are the munchies” and offers some helpful advice on how to avoid them if you’re so inclined. If you have any other questions about the munchies (or any other topics in the world of weed), don’t hesitate to ask. We’re here to help! 

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