Research found exactly the opposite of what was expected.
We’ve all had the feeling, at least if we’ve ever smoked pot. You had a good dinner and you sit back with a late-night pipe of ganja and the next thing you know, you’re craving Pillsbury biscuits.
What makes that strange is that you’ve hated those very same biscuits all your life. No matter, there aren’t any. But there are plenty of little packages of pretzels, chips, peanut M&Ms, and a pint of ice cream in the freezer.
The “Munchies” Explained!
The “munchies,” or that uncontrollable urge to eat after using marijuana, appear to be driven by neurons in the brain that are normally involved in suppressing appetite, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.
As we said, using marijuana – even on a full stomach – might bring about a raving case of the munchies, flipping a switch in the brain that usually tells the body it’s not hungry, a study found.
Bloomberg News reported the findings were exactly the opposite of what researchers said they expected—those very same neurons should have been turned off since the mice in their study had just eaten, said senior study author Thomas Horvath. The paper appeared a few weeks ago in the journal Nature.
Your Brain Flips The Hunger Switch.
“It’s like pressing a car’s brakes and accelerating instead,” he said. “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. All of a sudden it does the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do normally,” said Horvath, a professor of biomedical research and comparative medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. “It fools the brain’s central feeding system.”
The findings are the first to show how marijuana may work in the brain to cause the munchies, Horvath said.
Can Marijuana Help Restore A Cancer Patient’s Appetite?
Maybe, said Horvath. One of the most debilitating aspects of chemotherapy – the loss of appetite during treatment – may be alleviated with a healthy dose of cannabinoids. One of Florida’s crack county sheriffs recently reported that his brother is a doctor and he knows, for a fact, that medicine cannot be smoked. Oh yeah, put this in your pipe!
Neurons switch from suppressing appetite to boosting it when cannabinoids present.
The researchers used mice to monitor the action of cannabinoid, a key component of nature’s miracle weed, on the brain circuitry that promotes eating. The mice were injected with a synthetic form of cannabinoids after being fed. The researchers then looked at brain samples to determine what and how neurons were affected by the drug, according to Horvath.
More research is needed to replicate these findings and to see if the neurons play a role in the “high” from marijuana as well. Still, Horvath expects the results to hold true in humans.
“Anyone who ever smoked and had the munchies will understand,” he said. And, I’m guessing, he knows from whence he speaks!
So the next time you find yourself wanting to eat the Pillsbury dough boy, at least you’ll know why. That is, if you’re not too stoned. Pass that pizza, will you?
Rick Lawrence / Pazoo
If you are using legal cannabis products for medical treatment, do so under the supervision of a professional caregiver.