Why Pot causes the Munchies?
Doctors have been using cannabis (also known as pot, marijuana, and a variety of other street names) as a treatment for the loss of appetite in cancer and AIDS patients for a decade without knowing exactly why marijuana causes hunger. In the past five years, scientists have come to find out that the body naturally produces a chemical that is similar to the psychoactive drug in marijuana (THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabino). These molecules, christened endocannibinoids, working in combination with the THC in cannabis, create a variety of reactions in the user’s body including intense hunger.
The endocannabinoid system (that’s scientist street speak for the endogenous cannabinoid system) consists of the bunch of neurons responsible for regulating the body processes for appetite, memory, temper, pain and sensation. These neurons are located in different areas of the brain ‘š the hippocampus, the cerebellum, hypothalamus, and basal ganglia. The ‘high, feeling marijuana gives the user stems from the THC’s effect on this system. Upon consumption, through either smoking or eating, the THC makes its way through the bloodstream, meandering to the brain. It binds with the receptors inside the various parts of the brain, giving the user the ‘high, sensation while inhibiting the memory and coordination. When a user eats marijuana, it takes longer for THC to make it to the bloodstream. It will still be absorbed and in actual terms, the results of the consumption last longer.
Commonly, a marijuana user gets a case of the ‘munchies”, another effect of THC. The neurons in the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that tells that the body is hungry) are naturally chock-full of endocannabinoids. Adding THC is like dousing a fire with gasoline. The urge to eat gets stronger and the body is less likely to be satisfied at any given time in the near future. In addition, the drug triggers the taste buds responsible for sweets. This leaves the user with a desire for something sweet to satisfy an insatiable hunger or, in smoker slang, a case of the ‘munchies.,
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