Why Does Weed Make You Hungry?
Doctors, research academics, medical patients and recreational cannabis users alike have long known that the ingestion or inhalation of THC has correlated directly with appetite stimulation. In patients suffering with cancer and subsequent chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, appetite suppression is exceedingly common and marijuana is frequently prescribed or recommended as a solution to this. According to an article published in Nature Neuroscience (February 2015), in which several Yale University School of Medicine neurobiologists set out to monitor the brain circuitry that promotes eating by selectively manipulating the cellular pathway that mediates marijuana’s effect on the brain, results concluded that the neurological proteins initially thought to be responsible for shutting down food consumption were in fact suddenly being activated and promoting hunger – thereby tricking the brain’s central feeding system. These appetite suppression cells, known as pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), when exposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in laboratory testing, reversed their function. The THC also binds to cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptors in the olfactory bulb (neural structure of the vertebrae forebrain responsible for the sense of smell) and stimulates them, increasing their ability to smell food. With as much as 80% of taste sensation derived from scent alone, this process encourages appetite stimulation.
Recent research has also shown that THC has a cumulative effect on the nucleus accumbens (NAc), promoting the release of dopamine, in response to specific stimuli. Within the human brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator – an organic chemical released by neurons to relay signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes multiple individualistic dopamine pathways, the most significant of which plays a key role in reward motivated behaviour.
In other more simplistic terms, the brain receives direct positive stimulus in response to smelling and consuming food, as each is perceived more acutely due to the organic chemical process occurring in the brain as brought on by cannabis usage and furthermore the absorption of THC.Back To FAQ