The Truth Behind Munchies: Why Weed Makes Us Hungry

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The Truth Behind Munchies: Why Weed Makes Us Hungry
You’ve seen the movies. You’ve heard the stories. Everybody knows the stereotype. When you smoke or vape marijuana, you get the munchies.

But why is that? How exactly does consuming cannabis lead to us getting so hungry and craving any salty or sweet snack within reach?

Here’s the science behind why weed gives us the munchies.

How Marijuana Causes the Munchies

According to a study undertaken by Nature Neuroscience, it’s all in the smell.

(Caveat: this study was done on mice, not humans. But the findings are interesting nonetheless.)

The study found that in hungry mice, THC acted on the brain’s cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptors. Specifically, THC dramatically boosted the mice’s ability to smell food. Which led them to, you guessed it, eat more.

We also know that the sense of smell is linked to taste (ever had a plugged nose because of a cold? Were you able to taste food as intensely?), so it makes sense that by heightening our sense of smell, cannabis would make us more prone to being hungry—and make food taste better.

So, what causes the munchies? The researchers also found that after consuming cannabis, the mice’s bodies simulated feelings of hunger. The mice that hadn’t eaten in 24 hours had higher levels of natural cannabinoids (meaning they didn’t consume any weed—these were natural cannabinoids that exist in their brains). More cannabinoids, more hunger.

Case in point: mice that were dosed with THC ate way more food than the mice that weren’t dosed with THC.

Why do pot smokers get the munchies? Apparently, it’s all in our heads.

Cannabis’ Role in Curbing Appetite (Can It?)

The science behind the munchies might point to bigger appetites and increased weight gain, but one interesting piece of research in the American Journal of Epidemiology discovered something that flies in the face of everything we thought we knew about cannabis and the munchies.

The researchers found that obesity rates are actually a third lower in pot-smokers who smoked more than three times a week. This was in comparison to people who didn’t consume cannabis.

This study was made up of two national American surveys. In total, there were about 52,000 survey respondents. In one survey, 22% of people who didn’t smoke marijuana were obese. In people who smoked weed regularly? The obesity rate was 14%. The other survey had similar findings: 25% to 17% comparison.

Why is that?

As scientists often say, “correlation isn’t the same as causation.” Just because these statistics have a correlation doesn’t mean that we can definitely say that one caused the other. There are still numerous other potential reasons for why so many respondents who smoked pot just so happened to also be less obese than the average American. For example, people with cancer, AIDS, and other diseases often don’t have appetites for food. And yes, medical marijuana is often used to help stimulate appetite. If the survey’s respondents included any cancer or AIDS patients, that would mean that they’re already less likely to be obese. But in these cases, it would have nothing to do with the effects of weed—it didn’t make anyone lose weight since they were already underweight, to begin with.

Cannabis Lounges and Cafes in Canada

If you’re looking for the best cannabis-infused restaurants in Canada, unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a little longer. Even though cannabis is legal, edibles still aren’t legal yet, which means that restaurants can’t serve cannabis-infused foods.


If you want to find the best legal cannabis lounges, you have a few options. These places may not sell cannabis foods, but they can sell cannabis paraphernalia like bongs, rolling papers, vapes, and other accessories.

There are also a few weed-friendly places to get stoned in Canada, where no one will mind if you’re a little buzzed—for example, the infamous Cannabis Cafe in Vancouver, also known as the best cannabis cafe in Vancouver, BC.

But although there technically aren’t pot lounges in Canada, there are some brands you should know about because they’ve got all the plans and shops in place. Once the law passes and cannabis lounges are legal, they’ll be open for business and ready for you.

Here are a few.


Based in beautiful Kelowna, DOJA’s lounge space is open to the public and though you can’t smoke there, you can come to chill, hang out, and even work.

Not only does DOJA grow its own weed (and by the way, it’s high-quality premium stuff—some might even call it artisanal), it also has a “Culture Cafe.” think it sounds similar to Vancouver’s Cannabis Culture Cafe, get that thought out of your head because the similarities end there. It’s a boutique space that’s high on design and once legalization fully comes into force, they’ll probably be welcoming lots of brand-conscious visitors.


Tweed is another cannabis brand that is blowing up in Canada—especially with ads on the big screens in downtown Toronto. Its Tweed Visitor Centre is a dynamic space that’s not only cool but also engages people who are interested in learning about cannabis. (Rumors of a Willy Wonka-style chocolate factory are swirling around too…)


Burb is big on design. And in the quickly growing cannabis retail world, a beautiful brand can work wonders. They’ve got the look, they’ve got the swag and clothing, and they’ve got a retail location coming soon. It’s going to be almost 4,000 square feet of beautiful cannabis goodness in Port Coquitlam, BC.

Not only that, they’re already planning more locations in British Columbia—who can forget about Vancouver?

Tokyo Smoke

If you haven’t heard of Tokyo Smoke, you probably will very soon. It already has a bustling location in downtown Toronto that sells weed accessories. It’s a classy cafe that sells classy clothing, vapes, and yup, coffee too. (No weed yet though.)

It looks like your average modern coffee shop, but with products on display that are distinctly cannabis-focused. There’s fashion, coffee makers, and presses too—but Tokyo Smoke is 100% explicitly weed-friendly. There are already two coffee shops with more concept spaces opening soon in Manitoba and the rest of Canada.


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