A bad case of the munchies is one of the most common and loveable cannabis side effects. Yet, while many may joke about their trips to Taco Bell or have the pizza delivery guy on speed dial, a new study suggests that cannabis food cravings might work a little differently than commonly thought.
It has long been taken for granted that cannabis increases cravings for hyper-palatable foods, like fatty pizzas and sweet cupcakes. However, a study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research calls bluff on this assumption.
While the plant may still make you want to chow down, this new study suggests that cannabis doesn’t give you a sweet tooth. In fact, the researchers found that low doses of the herb don’t contribute much to food preference at all.
Weight watchers around the world can rest assured that their favorite green herb won’t have them sneaking a few extra tidbits from the cookie jar.
Does cannabis give you food cravings?
Dutch researchers have just discovered that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive in the cannabis plant, does not cause you to crave sugar.
The fact that cannabis can increase appetite is well-known to the research community and most cannabis consumers alike. THC is thought to be the primary culprit behind the munchies. Once inside your body, the cannabinoid stimulates the secretion of a hunger hormone called ghrelin.
Ghrelin kick starts the digestive process, encouraging you to seek out food. Research has also shown that cannabis stimulates the olfactory bulb, which is a fancy term for sense of smell.
In fact, a 2014 study published in Nature Neuroscience found that cannabis triggers food-seeking behavior by enhancing your ability to smell and search for food.
Study finds cannabis will not give you a sweet tooth
Yet, this recent experiment suggests that low doses of THC do not have an impact on sugar cravings, preference, or liking.
The experiment was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, and randomized human trial. The trial included 10 adult male participants. The participants were asked to inhale low doses of a THC strain, CBD strain, and a cannabis placebo.
After inhaling, participants sampled a chocolate milk-like drinks with various degrees of sweetness. Participants tried the materials and were then given two weeks off prior to testing out another one.
The end results suggested that neither low doses of THC nor CBD caused participants to crave sugar more than non-consumers. Rather, the study participants preferred tastes that were a little more savory. Even when given unlimited access to their favorite chocolate milk, cannabis did not seem to affect a consumer’s preference or level of consumption.
While this study is a bit of a departure from public perception, this new research did find that those who consumed THC were less likely to feel full after sampling chocolate milk. Participants were more likely to desire food in general with THC.
Cannabis consumers eat on average about 600 calories more per day than non-consumers. However, this research shows that these calories may not only come from sweet and palatable junk food. Rather, low doses of THC seem to increase hunger all around without drawing consumers to a specific type of food.
Of course, what you eat while under the influence of cannabis depends largely on personal taste.