How Cannabis Causes the Munchies

“Why do we get the munchies?” This is one of the questions Riley gets asked the most on her Cannabichem channel. After so many requests, she decided to let us all know what is going on in our brains when we feel hungry after using cannabis. Fun fact, Riley’s favorite munchie is Gushers! 

The Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that is responsible for many primal human functions. Some of the functions that the hypothalamus controls are hunger, sexual drive, and many others. In our brains, we have specific neurons. Each neuron is different and signals to the brain when we’re either hungry or full. A misconception is that we get the munchies because we’re stimulating the neuron that signals to the brain that we’re hungry, but that’s not actually what is happening. It’s actually the complete opposite!

Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)

Getting the munchies has everything to do with the neuron that signals to the brain that we should stop eating. When THC activates the CB1 receptor on this neuron, called the pro-opiomelanocortin neuron or POMC for short, it’s actually tricking your body and brain into thinking you need food. Other neurons involved in this process are the GABA neuron and the glutamate neuron. 

Endogenous Morphine

Your endogenous morphine molecules, better known as endorphin molecules, are the signaling molecules that the POMC neuron uses. The POMC gene in your body encodes the B endorphin as a signaling molecule. Riley notes that it’s important to keep in mind that all of this research was conducted on mice, not on humans!

Keeping Up With Riley

You can keep up with Riley Dee on her Tik Tok account named Cannabichem, as well as right here on the Arbor Vita8 website! 

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