Munchies are often portrayed in movies and pop culture as an irresistible urge to eat junk food after using marijuana. While that portrayal may not always be accurate, munchies are indeed a renowned side effect of consuming marijuana.
Cannabis plants have greater than 100 cannabinoids present in them, out of which the most well-known ones are Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that produces a high in its users.
CBD is not psychoactive in nature. According to a report from the World Health Organization, CBD is not indicative of a potential to be abused for intoxication.
Both THC and CBD have an association with regulating your appetite, but they work differently from each other.
Cannabidiol Is Different from Tetrahydrocannabinol
Cannabis plants have several species, among which marijuana and hemp are well-recognized. Marijuana is bred to have increased levels of THC, the intoxicant responsible for the “high” experienced by its users.
CBD is extracted from the flowers of Cannabis Sativa L. plant, as well as from Hemp plant. Cultivators prefer to extract CBD from the hemp plant as the plant contains CBD in greater quantities and contains only trace amounts of THC.
THC found in industrial hemp is as low as 0.3%. This ensures that CBD cannot produce intoxication in its users. Conversely, marijuana has THC concentrations of up to 30%, which is why it is preferred by users looking for a “high”.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive in nature.
This distinction also significantly affects the relationship of these two cannabinoids with our appetite.
What are the Munchies?
Munchies are characterised by extreme pangs of hunger, often claimed to be experienced by marijuana users. This phenomenon is portrayed in movies as the urge to eat unhealthy food after getting “high”.
THC has the ability to stimulate the production of ghrelin, a naturally occurring hormone that increases your hunger and urge for fatty foods. This hormone usually gets activated when you have an empty stomach.
THC, however, causes it to release earlier that usual, despite you being full and having food in your stomach.
THC also interacts with the CB1 receptors present in your brain’s centres for appetite control. This centre is responsible for regulating your feelings of hunger throughout the day. THC causes these centres to go into overdrive, which creates a desire to eat.
Furthermore, THC increases the levels of dopamine in your brain. As dopamine controls pleasure, its increased levels make the food taste better and smell more appetizing. Thus, the act of eating can seem more pleasurable than usual.
All these effects of THC in the body combine together to cause the munchies.
CBD, unlike THC, does not produce these effects in your body. CBD thus, does not create extreme yearnings of hunger in your body and does not cause the munchies.
Can CBD Affect Appetite?
According to Cannabis Herald, “While CBD does not cause the munchies, it does not mean that it has no effect on how you eat your food. In certain circumstances, CBD can stimulate your appetite for the better, but without having any adverse effects on your hormones and the brain areas that regulate hunger”
CBD instead, creates situations where your intake of food improves in a healthy manner.
For instance, studies suggest that CBD can help in controlling nausea. As it eases nausea, your normal appetite can restore itself and your body can consume food without any unpleasant feelings of nausea.
Thus, an individual who was previously nauseated is more likely to consume food, find it pleasurable, and find it easier to digest.
CBD also exhibits calming effects on the nervous system and the digestive tract. This helps its users eat better.
There are multiple brands of CBD available in the local as well as online market claiming to help in weight loss and appetite regulation.
When looking for a CBD product, be sure to opt for a popular and safe brand like Medterra and Joy Organics, the products of which contain little to no THC in them and are made of organic hemp only.
Why is it Important to Stimulate Appetite in a Healthy Manner?
Our bodies need adequate nutrition to survive and function well. The nutrients required by the body can be divided into three food groups, along with essential minerals and vitamins.
These food groups are:
- Carbohydrates, which provide the fuel or energy to enable the body and brain to function optimally.
- Proteins, which are the primary building blocks used to create each cell and build muscle and tissue.
- Fats, that aid in gastrointestinal function as well as the function of many other organs and systems within the body.
Besides the three food groups, minerals and vitamins like sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium etc also play an important role in assisting the body and help in maintaining efficiency of all systems in the body.
It is important to have a healthy and balanced diet that ensures your body gets all of these essential nutrients which must be consumed for your overall general well-being. CBD has the ability to interact with the brain to improve digestion, stimulate appetite, and aid in absorption of essential nutrients.
While it is important to consume a healthy diet at all times, it becomes even more essential to do so when the body is recovering from an ailment, is healing, or is recuperating from an injury.
For instance, a lack of appetite is a symptom of cancer, and it is also a side effect of receiving cancer treatment. Good nutrition is vital to battle the disease.
Moreover, a reduction in the symptoms of vomiting and nausea in the patients are known to be beneficial in recovering from the disease.
CBD’s Effect on CB-2 Receptors
CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system are a part of the body’s immune system. These receptors are dispersed evenly throughout the gastrointestinal system and are associated with your general health and well-being.
These receptors play an important role in all the aspects of eating and digestion, some of which are:
- Production of Stomach Acids
- Peristalsis, a term that refers to the contraction and relaxation of the digestive tracts that makes the food move along.
- Saliva Production
- Increase in Absorption of essential food groups and nutrients.
CBD interacts with these receptors and facilitates the smooth functioning of these processes.
Other Ways That CBD Can Act as an Appetite Stimulant
Since CBD acts on both the brain as well as the gastrointestinal tract, there are several ways by which it can increase appetite in a healthy manner:
- CBD helps in reducing bloating and other symptoms of indigestion such as constipation and acid reflux which in turn increase appetite.
- CBD oil helps in regulating digestive health and allows food to be digested more swiftly that usual. This subsequently stimulates the appetite for your next meal.
- CBD gummies and candies can not only help in reducing your hunger surges but can also be consumed as a snack. They come in various flavours and have little to no THC present in them. The CBD concentration in gummies is also premeasured and thus won’t have any negative effects on your body.
- Mood is directly related to appetite and it affects our cravings and diet. Positive feelings and a good mood can aid in stimulation of appetite. On the contrary, a bad mood and negative emotions can hamper your appetite. CBD can potentially alter your mood for the better and thereby helps in a healthy appetite.
In conclusion, CBD does not cause the munchies in its users, unlike in the users of marijuana. However, CBD can positively affect your appetite, without jeopardising your hormonal balances.