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One of the most consistent effects of cannabis, second only to the high, is the munchies. It is a craving unlike any other. Science has actually figured out why we get the munchies by studying THC’s effect on mice. It turns out THC triggers the hunger response by using the same neural pathway that’s tied to taste and smell. This phenomenon may be more apparent when you’re eating your favorite food sober versus eating your favorite food stoned: certain flavors may seem stronger or weaker depending on how your brain functions with THC.

When looking for that perfect food to satisfy your munchies, it’s a good idea to avoid any dish that requires you to use an oven or a grill. Microwaves are a little more foolproof for the significantly stoned. It also helps to plan ahead if you know you’re going to smoke a bowl and then immediately crave a specific food or dish. While cannabis users have been known to create some elaborate concoctions in the pursuit of satisfying the munchies, having a plan will keep you out of trouble should you find yourself without the right snack.

While this may be an unpopular suggestion, try munching on something that’s healthy that you may normally find boring. Your senses of taste and smell are already heightened, so a caesar salad wrap may actually blow your mind. A little experimentation can lead to new discoveries about what kind of foods you like, even after the high is gone.

With that, here are some of the best foods and snacks to satisfy your munchies.

Tater Tots

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We’ve all had frozen french fries and they are inferior. Tater tots are a great base for many munchie creations, and they are a frozen potato product that holds up in the microwave. Do you have cheese and bacon bits in your fridge? Do you have a favorite salad dressing? The tater tot is a great potato substrate on which munchie magic can happen.

Instant Ramen

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Health-conscious stoners may object to the MSG in most instant ramens, but science has not yet proved that it’s actually harmful (although you may be allergic). Add in your favorite hot sauce or some leftover meat or veggies and you have a whole new dish.

Cookie Dough

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This may go against the no-oven rule, but this is a perfect snack to make right before your smoke session. By the time your munchies hit, you’ll have freshly baked cookies waiting for you (if you were able to withstand that wonderful aroma, that is). If you’re experiencing a dry mouth, add a scoop of ice cream or a glass of milk for some relief. And if you like to indulge in the pleasure of cookie dough, there are eggless versions out there if you’re concerned about food borne illness.

Cereal

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Like the tater tot, a classic breakfast cereal can transcend the confines of a bowl and milk. Favorites like Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch can be added to rice crispy treats, used as an ice cream topping, or eaten straight from the box.

Nachos

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They can satisfy a lot of the munchie needs: they’re gooey, salty, and can be made with a few simple ingredients and a microwave. Once you have chips, you have a decision to make: cheese sauce or cheese. Nacho cheese dip and/or queso provides a nice texture that other ingredients can stick to, and grated cheese will provide the classic baked nacho experience. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheeses if you don’t have any cheddar or jack cheese on hand.

Oreos

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An oreo dipped in milk or eaten alone can satisfy a munchie craving by itself, but take a look around at some of the sweet or savory spreads you may have in your kitchen. Nutella, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, cookie butter, jams and jellies, whipped toppings, and cream cheeses can all transform your oreos. Now all you need to decide is whether or not you’re going to have a full sleeve like Oprah.

Burritos

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In every culture, there is a food that consists of a starchy substrate that encloses a delicious filling: ravioli, pierogi, wontons, crepes, samosas, sushi, tamales and many more all fit this description. But the burrito will answer the munchie’s call with it’s sheer size. That giant flour tortilla can hold all of your favorite ingredients in a portable package (even if it’s the size of a newborn baby).

Mac and cheese

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Adding ingredients to mac and cheese can be an adventure. But like ramen and tater tots, it is perfectly suited to the stoner palate. You can plus it up with some parmesan and garlic powder, or get fancy with some buffalo wing sauce and bleu cheese.

Lunchables

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This is the munchie survival kit. Let’s be clear: the lunchables we’re talking about include the Capri Sun and a package of candy, along with the meat, cheese and crackers. It has a practically infinite shelf life in your fridge, and requires zero preparation. Who remembers the deluxe versions with dijon mustard and an after dinner mint?

Pizza

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If you don’t want to use an oven, or don’t have a pizza crust, you can still make pizza. Flatbreads like pita, naan, or even tortillas for burritos make great makeshift pizza crusts. If all of that sounds too daunting, pizza is one of the most easily accessible foods via delivery. Just remember to tip your driver. S(he) sees a lot of folks with the munchies.

Fast Food

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This ever-present cuisine gets its own category because the possibilities are endless, but only if you have a ride. Stay safe and take a taxi or a ride-sharing service, or have a dedicated friend on standby. Fast food restaurants are realizing there’s money to be made selling multi-item combination meals to customers with the munchies, and McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Jack In The Box, White Castle, and others are responding.

Ice cream

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While vanilla ice cream is always great when added to most everything, look out for the pint-sized specialty versions like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream or Talenti gelato. There’s a chance you might eat the whole thing, so make sure it’s packed with toppings and flavors that keep it interesting. Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food holds a special place in many stoner’s hearts.

Popcorn

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Those looking for slightly healthier munchies can look to popcorn. Bags of cheddar popcorn are effortless, and different versions of microwave popcorn can be nice and salty or sweet.

Cheetos/Funyuns/Combos

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This type of puffed snack go beyond chips and crackers, and brave souls willing to use them in place of tortilla chips for nachos or on top of chili will be rewarded with something truly unique.

Candy

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The kinds of candy that will appeal to those with the munchies is infinite. Sour Patch Kids offer a flavor experience only a processed candy can provide. Twizzlers and Skittles are also favorites, but these represent only one end of the candy spectrum. Chocolate-based candies like Snickers, Reese’s, and M&M’s are a little more substantial in terms of ingredients, all of which are shelf-stable and ready when the craving hits.

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