The Basics: A Guide to a Hungry High

Whether you’re a cannabis connoisseur or more of a bud novice, you’ve probably found yourself asking on multiple occasions, “why does weed make you hungry?” Today we’re breaking down the science behind why it is exactly marijuana makes us so ravenous.

If you happen to be an individual who potentially suffers from a medical condition that decreases appetite and you’re open to experimenting with cannabis, Black Rabbit’s online dispensary is the hub for same day weed delivery in Toronto (plus 15 other areas in the GTA) and weed delivery Canada-wide. Have any questions? Our team’s here to help, so hit us up any time on the chat bar.

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Why does weed make you hungry?

According to a study by Tamas Horvath, a neurobiologist at Yale University School of Medicine, cannabis can trick your brain into thinking you’re starving – even if you’ve just eaten and are in actuality, full. According to Horvath, “we were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating, were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full. It fools the brain’s central feeding system.”

We know that our brains produce their own cannabinoids (read about our post on Cannabinoids 101 here), lipids that control things like appetite, sleep, pain sensation, mood and that THC produced by marijuana interacts with our own cannabinoid receptors, mimicking the same chemicals. Turns out, THC also actively flips the switch on our hypothalamus – a small region at the base of the brain near the pituitary gland – that controls releasing hormones, regulating emotional responses and controlling appetite. When the “flip” occurs, instead of producing the chemical that signals to the brain that you’re full, neurons actual signal to the hypothalamus that you’re hungry.

According to, we also know that hunger is a two part process – it’s dependent on whether the body senses an excess or a decrease in energy stores. If the body is experiencing a deficit in energy stores, the gastrointestinal tract will release the ghrelin hormone, which stimulates the brain’s hypothalamus and increases the sensation of hunger. At this point, dopamine – the reward/feel-good neurotransmitter – is also released which is why when you give in to the munchies, it feels so satisfying. It’s also important to note here that our brains (and our bellies) love high-calorie fats, salts and sugars and we release dopamine the most when it comes to these types of food – which explains why we’re always reaching for the junk i.e. that hot, plump pizza pop instead of a carrot.

The Olfactory Bulb

Do you also ever wonder why, when you’re eating under the influence, what you’re eating just tastes that much better than when you’re not high? That’s because researchers discovered that THC targets the olfactory bulb – a structure found near the front of the brain and an essential structure in the olfactory system that is devoted to the sense of smell. Cannabis plays with the cannabinoid receptors in the olfactory bulb, not only impacting the intensity of the smell and taste of food but also impacting how much we eat.

Smoking vs. Edibles

The spectrum of hunger will vary depending on the amount of marijuana you’ve consumed and how you’ve consumed it. When you smoke cannabis, levels of THC in the blood are much higher, so you’ll feel the high and hunger quicker. Because edibles have to be digested, the marijuana also has to compete with the other foods you may have consumed, slowing down absorption until THC finally reaches the brain.

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A Guide to a Hungry High

Now that you know a little more about how and why cannabis effects hunger, you’ll have a different outlook on all your future munchies experiences. If you particularly need help in increasing your appetite, we recommend Black Rabbit’s Biscotti #15, Orange Soda and White Cookies #2.  If any of these sound appealing, Black Rabbit has got you covered with same day weed delivery in Toronto and weed delivery Canada-wide with our new mail order program! See you down the rabbit hole!

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