Why We Get the Munchies

Understanding the effects of cannabis on our eating patterns.
Published April 12, 2022

Even if you’ve never indulged in cannabis, you’ve probably heard about the common side effect of doing so: getting the munchies.

If this happens to you, we’ve got a roundup of healthy snack ideas listed below, but first we wanted to look at why this happens in the first place. What is it about cannabis that makes us so hungry?

The reasons are complex – we’re talking major brain science here.

Research has found that a big reason is the effect THC has on our ability to smell and taste. The active ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, makes us better able to smell and taste, and therefore makes us want to eat more food than we would without being under its influence.

Other researchers have wondered if cannabis can actually temporarily switch the function of certain neurons in the brain, specifically the ones that usually tell us we’re full, by making them instead tell us that we’re hungry.

And yet another scientific explanation for why we get the munchies is because THC increases the release of the pleasure chemical dopamine, which makes eating even more pleasurable than it normally is.

Whether your next snack craving is cannabis-induced or not, here’s a roundup of some healthy snack ideas to keep the munchies at bay: