Science Explained: Why Does Weed Make You Hungry?

Cannabis has been making people hungry since BC.

In popular culture, this term is known as “munchies”… and there are even entire YouTube series dedicated to this particular effect of weed.

You probably experienced it yourself:

About 15-30 minutes after smoking a joint you get an uncontrollable urge to eat.

And eat a lot…

For some, this is cool. Besides giving you a short-term increase in appetite, weed also amplifies your sense of taste, which means that everything you eat feels amazing.

For regular smokers, however, munchies can cause a weight gain that is not always desirable.

But why does weed make us so hungry?

The answer lies in the way weed stimulates our brain.

Humans have a cellular system of activators and reactors, called an endocannabinoid system. We namely have two main receptors: CB1 and CB2.

CB1 receptors are located in the brain while CB2 receptors are spread throughout the body.

When activated, these receptors regulate a whole bunch of processes, including appetite.

But what activates them?

A series of activators called endocannabinoids. Endo meaning produced by our body.

Weed contains similar substances, called cannabinoids. Except this time they are exogenous.

When THC, CBD, CBN and other cannabinoids from cannabis enter our bloodstream (through smoking or eating cannabis) they mimic our body’s endocannabinoid activators and then stimulate either CB1 or CB2 receptors, producing effects like hunger, happiness, anti-inflammation, pain relief and many more.

Increased appetite is a direct product of THC stimulating specific CB1 receptors which increase the levels of hormones that make you feel hungry, regardless of whether you ate 10 minutes or 10 hours ago. (source)

a guy eating

How to avoid getting munchies from weed?

For most healthy, recreational users, munchies are just a part of the regular weed smoking routine. However, some people try to resist the temptation if they’re on a diet or a particular fitness plan.

If you’re not into gorging on simple carbs like Pringles and Skittles (I love Pringles) here are some tips to stop, suppress or completely avoid munchies altogether:

  1. Fill up your stomach with water. This will keep you feeling full, just make sure to keep a bottle on you at all times as it will also help with cottonmouth.
  2. Eat a large meal right before smoking. It will be much easier to resist the temptation knowing that you just ate.
  3. Grab some chewing gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva which helps with both mouth dryness as well as munchies.
  4. Eat some salad. Make a salad with lettuce, broccoli, celery and other vegetables that you have on hand. These are low carb and full of fiber so you won’t pack on any weight.
  5. Brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth will supposedly suppress your appetite, although I’ve never tried it myself.

Be sure to try these tips for yourself and see what works and what doesn’t. When it comes to suppressing munchies, almost everything is subjective.

Best strains to gain weight?

As I’ve said: there are plenty of people who smoke weed for its appetite boosting effects. For people who are looking to pack on a few pounds, Leafly has prepared an awesome guide to appetite boosting strains.

Here are the top 5 strains for increasing appetite:


Goo is an Indica heavy hybrid that is high in THC. It has a blueberry flavor and a very relaxing suite of effects, perfect for people seeking relief from pain or a boost in appetite. Note that this strain will probably glue you to the couch.

Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies is also a potent Indica hybrid, with aristocratic heritage: its parents are the legendary Girl Scout Cookies and Grandaddy Purple. It carries a strong earthy smell and is perfect for increasing appetite, relieving pain and insomnia.

Maui Bubble Gift

Maui Bubble Gift is high in CBD (10-12%) and moderate in THC (6-9%) so it’s especially therapeutic. This strain will not make you stoned, but rather relaxed and hungry. All in all, a perfect choice for people who want to stay productive and still get all medicinal benefits.

Platinum Purple Kush

This particular strain is a very popular Indica which has a mellow high that is enjoyed by both beginner and experienced users. It is an excellent fit for patients looking to boost appetite.

Sonoma Coma

Even though Sonoma Coma is a potent hybrid, it still produces munchies. Its primary effect is euphoria, followed by a surge of relaxation, so you’ll get the both sides of the coin. Its strong point is the flavor, which carries a citrusy flavor.

If you can’t find these in your nearest dispensary, try to focus on Indica strains or Indica dominant hybrids.

As an added bonus, they will make you more relaxed.

Categories Basics

Editor in chief at Greencamp. Into all kinds of technical tutorials and topics related to cannabis culture. Professional at postponing workouts.

Leave a Comment