The munchies. Aka, the insatiable urge to consume large amounts of snacks when you’re high. It’s a staple of stoner folklore, despite the more complex and variegated relationship between cannabis consumption and appetite. Typically, scientists study that relationship by looking at how cannabinoids trigger “hunger hormones” that make your brain make you eat. But a pair of researchers at Georgia State University and the University of Connecticut are experimenting with a new way to measure the munchies. They’re counting how much high-calorie “junk food” people bought before their state legalized cannabis, and comparing it to how much they bought after. And the first round of results are in: the munchies are real.
The Munchies Are Real, Study Says
Studies on the relationship between cannabis and appetite have struggled to provide conclusive evidence for why getting high makes you want to snack. Endocrinologists have suggested that one of the effects of THC is the stimulation of hormones that send hunger signals to the brain. The principal hunger hormone is ghrelin. And researchers have found that cannabis consumption both increases ghrelin production and makes the brain more sensitive to it. That double dose, scientists think, is a major factor behind the munchies.