It’s a classic cannabis scenario: you eat a full meal, have a smoke sesh with your favorite flower… and then the snack attack hits you. Suddenly, all you can think about is the crackle of your most cherished chips, or the sweet, creamy tastes of your favorite dessert. Your mind knows you shouldn’t be hungry... but your body is calling the shots, and it. says. EAT. What in the munchies is happening here?
According to this study cited by Smithsonian Magazine, "...A big part of the reason why you might eat more food after using (cannabis)... is simply that you can smell and taste it more acutely.” A team of neuroscientists found that the psychoactive cannabinoid THC fits perfectly into receptors in the brain's olfactory bulb, which significantly increased mice’s sensitivity to the smell of food. Not only that, but the THC-dosed mice also ate more food than the control group, demonstrating an increased appetite.
Previous research revealed that THC also increases the release of “the pleasure hormone” dopamine. When we eat foods we enjoy, dopamine is already released. But when THC is also present? Get ready for an extra hit of bliss! Which explains why that bite of cookie seems to come with some bonus deliciousness when you’re high. Another study published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry found that THC also increases the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. Ghrelin plays a role in metabolizing carbohydrates, which explains why we crave carbohydrate-rich foods after enjoying our favorite cannabis products (and not, say, spinach and celery). The flip side is that the research also found that cannabis can actually jumpstart your metabolism by increasing activity levels of AMPK (aka “the grandmaster of metabolic regulation”). This enzyme transforms both fatty acids and glucose into forms that can be easily used for energy by cells. So the next time you lament your insatiable, post-smoke appetite, know your body is revving up to (at least try to) meet the increased caloric strain.
There’s one last pretty important piece to understanding the full picture of why cannabis works such wonders on our bodies. All the mechanisms we discussed involve the Endocannabinoid System, which is present in all mammals (including dogs, cats, rodents, and humans of course). The ECS has been found in many studies to be involved in regulating processes as diverse as immune system activity, cognitive function, pain sensation, mood, memory- as well as appetite. The cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis (like THC, CBD, and CBN) fit perfectly into this system, almost like keys fitting into their unique locks. So the next time you find food irresistible after consuming cannabis, cut yourself some slack. Your body is no match for a 27 million+ -year-old plant that in many ways feels like it was made for us.
Now that we know the science of the munchies, it’s time to introduce you to the ultimate edibles indulgence, on the 50th anniversary of 4/20 no less! Crunchy, yummy, sweet, and savory, our 2021 Kiva Munchies Bar takes you on a full-flavor, technicolor tour of your favorite snacks. Creamy milk chocolate is infused with cold water hash and topped with crisp potato chips, pretzels, and cookies for one bomb, nom-worthy treat. Universally appealing, yet limited edition, do yourself a favor and belly up to this bar while you still can. The Munchies Bar is currently available in California while supplies last.