Munchies Does Cannabis Really Increase Desire for Junk Food

Munchies: Does Cannabis Really Increase Desire for Junk Food?

Many users love using marijuana thanks to the happiness and euphoria it produces, although it isn’t without its side effects. Fortunately, most of the common side effects you’re likely to experience are harmless, such as dry eyes and dry mouth. But the most common side effect you’ll hear stoners talking about is the munchies. Does cannabis really increase your desire for junk food?

The munchies aren’t just a myth- cannabis truly can increase your appetite. Not only that, but research has shown that the influence of THC on the brain even makes food taste better. While some people might have concerns about wanting to eat so much while high, it turns out it’s mostly positive and weight gain isn’t as common as you’d think. So why does marijuana make you want to gorge on junk food? Here’s everything you need to know about the munchies.

What Is “The Munchies”?

Whenever you smoke or vape weed or consume cannabis-infused products, the psychoactive chemical THC affects your body and brain in many ways. Many of these effects are instantly noticeable- for instance, THC activates reward circuits in the brain and makes you feel happy and euphoric. It also provides relief for issues like pain and stress. But one of the most common side effects is the munchies.

“The munchies” is the colloquial way to refer to the increased appetite that consumption of cannabis brings about. It can hit users at different times and different strains may even impact you in different ways, but it’s very common to experience excessive hunger within a few hours of smoking weed.

This increase in appetite is commonly experienced by all kinds of marijuana users and can hit you no matter how you consume marijuana. However, while it’s considered a side effect, it isn’t necessarily a bad one. Many medical users benefit from the munchies, especially if they’re suffering from appetite loss or eating disorders. Recreational users also enjoy chowing down on food after smoking weed. There have even been some interesting studies on the munchies.

Are The Munchies Real?

Are The Munchies Real?

While marijuana users can give you plenty of anecdotal reports on the munchies, some users wonder whether it’s real or just a phenomenon experienced by weed smokers too lazy to fill their appetite. However, many studies have been carried out on the increase in appetite associated with weed and it turns out there’s a scientific reason for the munchies.

When you consume THC, it interacts with receptors in your body in many ways. A 2012 study found that one of the effects marijuana has on the body is increasing ghrelin and leptin levels. These two hormones are known as hunger hormones since their production increases your appetite. Marijuana can also speed up your metabolism, making you feel hungry more quickly.

Much like marijuana can activate reward circuits in the brain, research from Yale found that marijuana can flip the hunger switch in the brain. In other words, the consumption of THC causes your brain to instantly see food as being more appealing. Even if you aren’t physically hungry, your brain will believe you are.

What’s more, a 2014 study discovered that on top of increasing your hunger, marijuana can also make food look, smell, and taste better. Marijuana can heighten your senses, and as a result, the experience of eating food will be much more enjoyable. This is especially helpful for patients suffering from eating problems.

Medical Benefits Of The Munchies

While some users might see the munchies as an inconvenient side effect, it can also be helpful for many users. The boosted appetite and increased enjoyment of food can be a plus even for recreational users, but it’s also particularly helpful for users suffering from appetite loss and eating disorders.

Marijuana is often used to boost appetite in cancer patients- especially those suffering from chemotherapy. One of the side effects of cancer and chemotherapy is cachexia, also known as wasting syndrome. Patients often don’t have any appetite and end up losing severe amounts of weight.

A 2011 study on treating cancer patients with marijuana found that they reported that marijuana increased their appetite and made them want to eat more. Not only that, but it also increased their enjoyment of food. Marijuana can also help with other conditions associated with cachexia or loss of appetite, including HIV/AIDs and depression.

Users suffering from eating disorders can also benefit from the munchies. If they’re having a hard time enjoying the experience of eating food, the effects of THC can counteract this. While some users may worry about gaining weight due to the munchies, there have also been some interesting findings that suggest it can help you lose weight.

Do The Munchies Make You Gain Weight

Do The Munchies Make You Gain Weight?

Naturally, users will have concerns about how the munchies will affect their weight. If you feel like eating junk food every time you’re high, then it stands to reason you might gain weight. However, research has shown that marijuana isn’t associated with weight gain and may even help you lose weight.

Research on over 50,000 adults in America found that cannabis use was linked to lower rates of obesity. Similarly, a study on Inuit adults found that marijuana use was linked to lower BMI, lower fasting insulin, and lower fat mass. These findings suggest that the munchies won’t make you gain weight.

Since marijuana can boost your metabolism, users might even find it easier to lose weight despite the increased appetite it can cause. With that said, this will largely depend on the individual and their diet. While you should enjoy the munchies, don’t overdo it with how much you eat.


The munchies aren’t just a myth. Research and surveys show that cannabis really does increase your desire for food. Not only can marijuana boost the production of hunger hormones and speed up your metabolism, but it can also enhance the smell, taste, and appearance of food, making eating all the more enjoyable when you’re high.

Fortunately, the munchies aren’t necessarily a negative side effect. Studies show that by increasing appetite, marijuana can help all kinds of patients with appetite problems. What’s more, research suggests marijuana use is linked to lower BMI and lower rates of obesity. If you want to find a quality marijuana strain to give you the munchies, check out


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