munchies

So, what exactly causes the munchies?

According to a recent study from researchers at the Yale School of Medicine, this bottomless hunger seems to be the result of brain cells that normally make the body feel full. But, when under the influence of marijuana, these same neurons make people hungry instead. 

Marijuana seems to spark the release of an opioid called the beta-endorphins. This chemical then acts on the same receptors that promote eating behavior that typically makes you feel full, to changing the function of the cells from making you feel full, to making you want to eat more.

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Shortly after toking up, a lot of marijuana users find that there’s one burning question on their minds: “why am I so hungry?” Researchers have been probing different parts of the brain looking for the root cause of the marijuana munchies for years. Now, a team of neuroscientists report that they have stumbled onto a major clue buried in a cluster of neurons they thought was responsible for making you feel full.

Turns out, injecting cannabinoids into mice made the neurons that are supposed to tell you to stop eating become the drivers of hunger. It’s a bit like slamming down on the brakes and finding weed has turned it into another gas pedal.

How Marijuana Hijacks Your Brain To Create The Munchies

Photo Credit: The Kobal Collection