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The Science of Munchies

By David Dickerman (photo istock.com/Fudio)

I have a confession to make. I have been smoking marijuana for over 20 years and I still get the munchies. My sister told me that I had to power through them and I would ultimately get to a point where they do not impact me as much. Still, in the evening when I am relaxing before bed, post-joint snacking is unavoidable. I know myself well enough to anticipate this and keep healthy snacks around, but the occasional milk shake or bag of chips sneak in from time to time. After all this time it has made me wonder, are munchies real? Many people claim that they are not, but what if their body just reacts differently?
Several studies have been done to look at this phenomenon. The most prevalent theory comes from a test that was done with mice. Researchers found that is that THC heightens an individual’s sense of smell and taste because it fits into the CB1 receptor of the brain located in the olfactory area. This increases appetite and makes food seem that much tastier. Studies also show that marijuana actually tend to have a lower body mass index because pot improves the body’s insulin control, thus making it beneficial to diabetics even when considering the munchies. The most important thing to remember is that while it may be a vice for some of us, this side effect can provide a lot of relief for ailing individuals or those going through treatments. Regardless, this shows how even the side effects of marijuana can be useful.