The Science Behind Weed and the Munchies
Even if you’ve never touched marijuana (or didn’t inhale) you likely know about the munchies, the diet-killing hunger for snacks that comes after a few tokes. And scientists have finally cracked the mystery of why exactly you reach for the Funyuns after you put down the bong.
A research project at Yale, which is clearly vying to be the coolest Ivy League school, has interpreted how weed tricks our brains, especially the “central feeding system,” which contains neurons that usually tell us to stop eating or that we’re not hungry in the first place. But hitting the pipe actually reverses these neurons and makes them think it’s time to go on a feeding frenzy.
There have been early studies that point to things like the suppressing of leptin, which keeps us feeling satiated, or the way marijuana makes our tongues or noses more sensitive. But with a group of stoned mice, this neuron reversal may be the most satisfactory finding so far.
As this article mentions, marijuana increasing appetite can be very helpful for cancer patients or anyone else suffering from suppressed appetite. And finding this relationship between the brain, hunger and an outside source could possibly allow scientists to keep that feeding frenzy switch flipped to off in the future.
But for those of us who are trying to keep our calorie count low, marijuana is not helpful – as it will spur many to pop open a bag of Oreos and later to wonder why there’s an empty bag of Oreos lying on the couch.