The ‘munchies’ is one of the best-known side effects of marijuana, and one which is often associated with the stereotypical stoner lifestyle. And although the ability to devour an entire pizza may be helpful if you have an appetite disorder or are trying to gain weight, for most of us it is likely to end in feelings of guilt and regret.
Luckily, there are measures you can take toward controlling the munchies and stopping them from ruining your waistline and your wallet. Today we will explore how to not get the munchies when high, plus some damage limitation for when you can’t resist!
Why Does Cannabis Give You the Munchies?
Before we delve into our top tips to help you beat the munchies, let’s take a look at why they happen in the first place.
Cannabis contains THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid which is also responsible for causing the munchies. THC gets you high and makes you hungry because it is just the right shape to bind with receptors in your brain known as CB1 receptors. These receptors are part of your endocannabinoid system which plays a vital role in regulating your mood, perception of pain, and appetite, among other things.
Research published in Nature in 2015 showed that when THC binds with these receptors, it promotes activity in nerve cells known as pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons. These cells are found in the hypothalamus region of the brain, and influence feelings of hunger and satiety. By activating these neurons, THC can make you feel like you need to eat, even if you don’t.
Another study published in Nature Neuroscience in 2014 found that the endocannabinoid system influences the olfactory bulb, the area of your brain responsible for processing odors. When you consider the close link between the senses of smell and taste, it’s no wonder that food seems so much more delicious when you’re high!
So, now we know why weed makes you think you’re hungry even when you’re not, let’s take a look at how to stop the munchies after smoking weed.
How to Not Get the Munchies When High: Our Top 10 Tips and Tricks
If you are wondering how to enjoy marijuana without succumbing to the munchies, then wonder no more! We have compiled these helpful tips and tricks for controlling the munchies just for you. Simply sit back, relax, forget about the refrigerator for a moment, and read on to find out more.
1. Eat well throughout the day
This may seem altogether too obvious, but eating enough throughout the day will mean that you’re less likely to get hit by hunger following your evening smoke.
Stop late night munchies from ruining your diet by eating a substantial dinner including some lean protein, fresh veggies, and whole grain cereals such as brown rice, buckwheat, or quinoa. These foods release their energy more slowly than refined carbohydrates like white rice or pasta and therefore keep you satisfied for longer.
2. Stay hydrated
Sometimes you can think you are hungry when what your body really needs is some good, old-fashioned H2O. Research has even found that being insufficiently hydrated over time could contribute to an increased body mass index (BMI).
When the munchies are hitting hard, try drinking something first and waiting for a while. You may find that you still feel like snacking, but you may manage to forget about your stomach, for a while at least.
3. Make munchies inaccessible
If your cupboards are empty, there is significantly less chance of you filling your face with snacks like chips, cookies, and chocolate. However, when the munchies are in full force, you could find yourself tempted to reach for your phone and order in.
As well as shopping sensibly (do this while sober to avoid buying a load of random junk), it is a good idea to delete Just Eat or the number for your favorite Chinese from your phone. Even though this won’t completely remove the possibility of an all-out binge, it will at least make you think twice about your decision.
4. Distract yourself
One of the best ways to stop the munchies is simply by doing something else. Use being high to your advantage by picking up a creative project or going outside and being blown away by nature. Read a good book, take a bubble bath, meditate, or call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Whatever keeps you busy and out of the kitchen’s gravitational pull.
If you feel like it, you could even take the opportunity to do some gentle exercise. This will provide the added bonus of burning any extra calories you’ve accumulated through the day, relieving stress, and improving your overall fitness, making dodging the munchies twice as beneficial!
5. Freshen up
One of the hardest things about controlling munchies is that once you start, it can be all but impossible to stop. If you decide to give in and have just one of those delicious muffins, how do you stop yourself from demolishing the entire pack?
The answer could be as simple as brushing your teeth. Not only will making your mouth minty fresh get rid of any lingering flavors that could lure you back for more, but it will also make anything you eat afterward taste incredibly weird.
6. Retrain your brain
Human brains are wired to enjoy eating. The desire to find and consume food is necessary for the species to survive. When you eat, your brain releases dopamine, the primary neurotransmitter involved in the reward response. When you eat high energy foods such as sugar and fat, your brain releases even more dopamine, giving you an elevated sense of reward.
This dopamine release is what makes sweet, high-fat foods so moreish and is why you tend to reach for these unhealthy snacks when high. But if you can resist these foods for a sustained period, you may be able to retrain your brain to stop craving them so strongly.
That’s not to say that it will be easy to do this, because it won’t. It will take both time and willpower to conquer your cravings, but it is possible.
7. Get a good night’s sleep
Your appetite is controlled in part by two hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is responsible for making you hungry, whereas leptin lets you know when you have eaten enough.
Research has shown that not getting sufficient sleep can increase ghrelin while decreasing leptin, making you likely to eat more than average during the day. One study found that regularly sleeping for less than 7–8 hours a night could cause significant increases in BMI, further incentive to put a stop to late night munchies and go to bed early instead.
8. Change up your strains
Have you ever noticed that certain cannabis strains seem to cause more severe munchies than others? There is, in fact, a good reason for this.
It is widely believed that indica strains are more likely to cause munchies than their sativa counterparts. While there may well be some truth behind this, it is really a strain’s THC content which is responsible for how dramatically the munchies are likely to hit.
Strains with a high THC content are more likely to result in kitchen raids than those with a high CBD content. CBD is the primary non-intoxicating compound in cannabis, and it does not appear to trigger the munchies in the same way as THC. Some well-known high CBD strains include Cannatonic and Harlequin.
Another cannabinoid which may help is THCV. In low doses, this compound has the opposite effect to THC and may help to suppress the appetite. This means that high THCV strains may be perfect for combatting the munchies. Strains like Durban Poison and Jack the Ripper are an excellent place to start.
9. Make healthier choices
If you really can’t resist the munchies, do not despair! There are plenty of healthy snacks that can fill your belly without filling you with remorse. Some obvious choices are vegetable sticks dipped in hummus, fruit or a small handful of nuts.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are more involved recipes for healthy munchies to try. However, you might want to prepare these before getting high, or you might just feel too relaxed to bother.
10. Burn more calories during the day
Okay, this isn’t strictly a way to stop the munchies, but it is a way to alleviate your guilt slightly if you do give in.
By simply doing some physical activity during the day, you can increase your calorie allowance and indulge in a snack without ruining your good intentions. After all, a little bit of what you fancy is good for the soul, right?
How to Not Get the Munchies When High: The Bottom Line
If you use marijuana, the munchies may be unavoidable to some extent. However, there are ways to make them more manageable or choose healthy alternatives, at least.
If you have any more tips and tricks for controlling the munchies, we would love to hear from you. Just post any suggestions in the comments below.