Cannabis is well-known as an appetite stimulant, but what about it makes you want to eat all the food in your fridge? It’s not just in your mind that you feel hungrier when you smoke, there’s actually a chemical reaction in your body that causes you to feel hungry when you consume cannabis.
So what in cannabis increases your appetite? Well, there are a few cannabinoids that help do the trick.
The most abundant cannabinoid present in marijuana, THC is responsible for cannabis’ most well-known psychoactive effects. THC acts as a partial agonist (a substance which initiates a physiological response when combined with a receptor) at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The compound is a mild analgesic, or painkiller, and cellular research and shown that it has antioxidant activity.
Other research has noted that THC also interacts with receptors in the hypothalamus of the brain – possibly releasing the hormone ghrelin, which is in charge of stimulating hunger.
Scientists have also found that cannabis use causes more frequent and small meals, which can be very healthy for some people.
By manipulating this pathway and the olfactory bulb simultaneously, THC can “trick” the brain into thinking it’s hungry. It does this by mimicking the sensations the brain and body feel when hungry, through manipulation of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC).
The POMC refers to the neurons in the hypothalamus that tell the body when it’s full. Scientists in a 2015 study led by Tamas Horvath of Yale discovered that not only did THC fail to turn off the POMC, it actually flipped its function.
Under the influence of THC, the POMC does not tell the body that it’s full, but rather that it’s hungry. Therefore, the body experiences all the same feelings of hunger, along with an enhanced sense of smell and taste. It’s no wonder marijuana creates the perfect storm for stimulating appetite.
You’ve heard of THC, and while they may sound similar, THCA has very different properties. Unlike THC, THCA is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis. THCA turns into THC when it is heated, which is why THCA is found on raw and live cannabis, and THC is not.
Here are some of the potential benefits studies have started to unveil:
- Anti-inflammatory properties for treatment of arthritis and lupus
- Neuroprotective properties for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases
- Anti-emetic properties for treatment of nausea and appetite loss
- Anti-proliferative properties noted in studies of prostate cancer
- Other possible medicinal avenues supported by patient stories include insomnia, muscle spasms, and pain
So while THCA itself may not give you an appetite, when heat is applied it will.
CBD has been known to have an opposite effect on appetite, with some people even using it as an appetite suppressant in order to lose weight. So if you’re looking to consume cannabis and not get hungry, we would recommend finding a cannabis cultivar that is higher in CBD than your regular products.
Like CBD, CBDV significantly reduces the frequency and severity of seizures. It also reduces or even eliminates the nausea associated with several conditions, and helps to reduce inflammation throughout the body. CBDV is also beneficial in the treatment of pain and mood disorders.
If you need help getting your appetite back, or if you just have more questions on how cannabis helps with your appetite, contact one of our cannasultants today. We’ll be more than happy to talk you through cannabis use and increased appetite, right here online or on the phone. We want to help people find and use cannabis as a solution to their needs.