How Cannabis Affects Your Appetite

20 Jan, 2022Food

Have you ever smoked and felt an irresistible urge to finish that big bag of chips? 

While most of us have experienced "the munchies' in some form or another, many cannabis users are unaware of the science behind it and why we often get hungry after we smoke or take an edible. Surprisingly, many societies outside of the Western world have been aware of the strange connection between hemp and hunger, with observations of the plant's appetite-stimulating effects first recorded by European explorers to India way back in 1563!

In this article, we cover the many different ways cannabis can affect your appetite, so you can better understand the munchies the next time you use your favorite City Trees products! 

The relationship between appetite and cannabis is often seen as a confusing paradox.

How Cannabis Can Stimulate Hunger

Many studies have been done surrounding the effect of cannabis, specifically THC, on appetite. Still, one particular trial conducted by neuroscientists at Washington State University in 2018 provides ample proof surrounding this relationship. 

After administering precise doses of cannabis vapor to lab mice that had just been fed, researchers saw that the mice continued to be hungry and eat frequent, small meals, even though they were full. Further examination on the mice led the team to theorize that consuming cannabis will trigger a surge of ghrelin, a hormone released when our stomachs are empty that signals the brain to look for food. When the mice were given a drug that prevented the activity of ghrelin, they were no longer as hungry even when exposed to the same amount of cannabis vapor as before. 

This study provides a tremendous framework for how cannabis can be used medicinally to stimulate appetite and hunger in those struggling with appetite issues or illness-induced anorexia. Cancer patients suffering from nausea due to chemotherapy, or even those with Alzheimer's who may forget to eat, have plenty to benefit from indica dominant, THC-heavy cannabis products like tinctures or edibles that can be ingested without any smoke inhalation involved. Using cannabis as a supplement to stimulate appetite will allow these people to get the proper amount of nutrients needed to battle their illness and maintain overall better quality of life. 

Does Cannabis Cause Excessive Weight Gain?

Although the evidence surrounding cannabis' influence on ghrelin lead researchers to believe that the plant stimulates appetite, many are still trying to determine a link between marijuana consumption and obesity. Certain stereotypes surround "stoners" and weight gain, but scientists have found that cannabis may have the reverse effect!

A 2011 study used survey data from U.S. adults aged 18 and up to examine a relationship between cannabis use and obesity, finding that the prevalence of obesity was about 8% higher among those who claimed to not smoke cannabis, compared to those who smoke at least three times a week. After adjustment for sex and age, the study's authors concluded that the chance of obesity is lower among cannabis users than non-users. 

Cannabinoids that Suppress Hunger

The relationship between appetite and cannabis is often seen as a confusing paradox. Some elements of the plant are responsible for making us hungry, and others are suspected of having appetite-suppressant effects. 

Trials conducted by the National Institute of Health revealed that cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychoactive component of cannabis, reduced total food consumption in lab mice, suggesting that some elements of cannabis may potentially lower appetite in humans. Research is also being done on humulene, a terpene found in sativa strains and plants like hops, ginger, and sage that has been known to suppress food cravings. 

While the research is inconclusive, CBD and sativa-heavy strains may show some potential for supporting weight loss.

Bottom Line

Whether you're looking for a THC-heavy high to help you feel hungry, or a CBD dominant product that will help you forget those munchies, City Trees has a wide selection of vapes and tinctures that can deliver results; without putting too much impact on your lungs!

To see our full range of products available near you, be sure to check out our store locator, and for more info on how you can incorporate cannabis into a healthy diet, take a look at our blog on Cooking with Tinctures.

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