Marijuana is notorious for its ability to increase hunger, also known as the “munchies”. What exactly is this phenomenon and why does it occur? Is it a physiological effect, or is it simply based on the fact that everyone else experiences the munchies when they get high? This article will address these various conundrums and more.
The Munchies and THC
The active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. THC is very similar to natural occurring chemicals in the body known as endocannabinoids. These chemicals control pain tolerance, body temperature and appetite. THC spreads throughout the brain, acting like endocannabinoids and causing a rush of pleasure, increasing the pain threshold, raising temperature and stimulating the appetite.
Someone high on marijuana typically feels hungry, but he often craves junk food like chips and candy. In fact, users say the feeling is not necessarily hunger–it is more that eating brings a tremendous amount of pleasure. Strange concoctions usually come out of such a state, such as a mustard-lemon-juice-honey drink or an ice-cream covered bagel.
Fast food restaurants have been pushing their products to addicts in ways subtle and not-so-subtle, monopolizing on a stoner’s case of the munchies to raise their profits.
For example, Loud Mouth burritos recently leaked their plan to market “directly to stoners”. If you read the back of the burrito, you find it subtly marked: 420 calories.
For those of you not in on pot-smoking lingo, “420” refers to the acceptance of smoking pot or someone who does, as in “This is a 420-friendly party”.
This kind of marketing led to controversial speculation on various fast-food marketing campaigns. Actors began to have more of a spaced-out, pot-head demeanor; taglines like Taco Bell’s “late night munchies” brought a six percent sales increase; Carl’s Jr. is promoting its “wake and bake” habit; and Denny’s uses a reggae-loving unicorn. Marijuana supporters analyze commercials for other such hidden meanings, such as a bell sounding out the word “bong” or the sound of someone taking a hit at the beginning of an ad.
Many marketing professionals say the ads are clever, designed to allow stoner audiences to read between the lines. Mainstream public will see nothing but late nights and drinking, but marijuana-lovers will get the gist. The ads are certainly generating more hype.
But addiction experts worry about what this says to the next generation. It seems to promote the acceptance of a modern “stoner culture”. What’s next–a clothing line for meth users?
The Munchies and Addiction
The trouble with the munchies is that it continues a vicious cycle of addiction. The food consumed when a person is high often stays associated with that high, and later when the person sees that food again, it reminds him of getting high. This brings about the cravings that lead to addiction, leaving a person in a never-ending rat race from food to pot to food again.
Not to mention that drugs deplete the body of vitamins and toxins and this, again increases the appetite. And no matter how much a person eats they can usually not replenish the body as they need to.
The munchies are a part of marijuana addiction that are often made fun of or laughed at. But there is nothing funny about someone having a hard time surviving because of a substance abuse problem, contracting illnesses and depletions and losing those they love because of it.
If you know someone with a marijuana addiction get them help. Contact Narconon.org for more information.