Last updated: May 12, 2021

What Does Munchies Mean?

The munchies is a widely used slang term that applies to a sudden onset of hunger, or the need for a snack. It is a common side effect of ingesting certain strains of marijuana.

While the term "munchies" is widely used in many different situations today, its origins lie in cannabis culture, where smoking certain strains of pot are said to give users the munchies.

Someone experiencing the munchies after smoking cannabis will often eat much more than they regularly would, often junk food, and they will often feel their actions are uncontrollable.

In the case of medical marijuana being used to stimulate appetites in patients, this is essentially the munchies coming into effect.


Maximum Yield Explains Munchies

Having a “case of the munchies” today just means that you’re hungry and looking for something to snack on. However, when the term “munchies” was first coined, it really only applied to the onset of serious hunger that occurred after smoking marijuana. This is apparently directly related to the way that cannabis affects the brain’s chemistry. What’s behind the seemingly inevitable connection between smoking pot and getting the munchies?

Really, it comes down to the way that cannabinoids interact with the brain’s regular chemistry. It seems as though marijuana scrambles the neurons in the hypothalamus responsible for controlling hunger. In fact, cannabinoids actually excite these neurons to a heightened state, and cause them to release beta-endorphins, which stimulates hunger.

So, you can blame your sudden urge to chow down on an entire bag of chips after toking on the cannabis itself, and its reaction in your brain. There’s also correlating evidence that cannabinoids affect the olfactory area of the brain, which would enhance the way food smelled to marijuana users, not just their level of hunger.

Currently, there is research being conducted on other ways that cannabinoids might be able to affect the brain’s chemistry. One of the most interesting is whether or not cannabinoids might be able to flip other neurons that control various behaviors.


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