One moonlit summer evening last year, a group of friends and I sat around a campfire, passing a joint back and forth until the early hours of the morning. A few hours later, I woke up with a hunger so fierce it almost derailed me. Doritos, my brain commanded. Salsa flavor. Now. I was instantly fixated on one objective: get the Doritos as quickly as humanly possible, and consume the entire bag.
When I had satiated that craving, it was replaced by another, equally unhealthy, equally specific desire: cheesy NY-style mushroom pizza. My veganism lapsed that day, and the day will be forever etched in memory as my first proper encounter with the munchies. Suffice it to say, I was awed by their all-pervasive power, and literally incapacitated by my ravenous appetite.
The munchies are one of the tropes most commonly associated with cannabis consumption. Most of us who have gotten high are familiar with the insatiable desire to snack, minutes or hours later. What’s the science behind cannabis fueling a desire to eat everything within sight? The main culprit is THC.
THC: Hello, appetite!
“THC is an appetite stimulant,” explains Dr. Patricia Frye, cannabis expert and chief medical officer at HelloMD. THC works to partially activate the brain’s CB1 receptors. “When the CB1 receptors are activated, …