why do you get munchies when high

Aside from squinty eyes and a thought-provoked mind, one of the most well-known effects of marijuana is that powerful surge in appetite known as Бthe munchies. Б A team of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine recently set out to track down the neurons in the pot smokerБs brain that are responsible for that uncontrollable urge to eat after a hit. Their findings appear in the journal
Nature. "By observing how the appetite center of the brain responds to marijuana, we were able to see what drives the hunger brought about by cannabis and how that same mechanism that normally turns off feeding becomes a driver of eating," the studyБs lead author Tamas Horvath, professor and director of the Yale Program in Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism, said in a. "It's like pressing a car's brakes and accelerating instead. We were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating, were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full. It fools the brain's central feeding system. " Researchers monitored the circuits wired throughout a mouseБs brain in order to see how appetite is influenced by marijuana.


They already knew that cannabis is associated with increased appetite, regardless of how full you may be, because of its ability to activate the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) inside the brain. Horvath and his team are also trying to figure out if the CB1R receptor has anything to do with the high that comes along with cannabis use. "This event is key to cannabinoid-receptor-driven eating," said Horvath, who points out that the feeding behavior driven by these neurons is just one mode of action that involves CB1R signaling. "More research is needed to validate the findings. " The medicinal strand of marijuana has been widely used throughout hospitals to help cancer patients who oftentimes lose their appetite during chemotherapy treatments. б The effect that marijuanaБs active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has on a brain not only stimulates their appetite, but also fits into the brainБs olfactory bulb, according to. This receptor is responsible for the food we smell, and THC significantly increases the personБs ability to smell food, which in turn causes salivation and generates a hungrier response.


If the brain is able to interpret an enhanced version of smells or tastes, itБll engage and strengthen that portion of the brain, creating a fixation on food. However, some will say itБs not necessarily an uncontrollable urge to eat, but rather an overwhelming desire to engage that part of the brain. б Source: Horvath T, Koch M, Varela L, Kim JG, Kim JD, and Hernandez F. Nature. 2015. Finally, science has discovered why marijuana gives people the munchies. Potheads and doctors have known for a long time that smoking weed increases appetite, said, a neurobiologist at Yale University School of Medicine. But how does a drug make people ravenously hungry? What drives that, nobody has ever really known. We accidentally bumped into that, Horvath told. In a paper published in the journal this week, Horvath and his colleagues found that cannabis tricks your brain into thinking youБre starving, even if youБre full. It s like pressing a car s brakes and accelerating instead, Horvath said in a press release.


We were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating, were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full. It fools the brain s central feeding system. Our brains produce their own cannabinoids, lipids that help control our appetite, mood, memory and pain reception. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, produced in marijuana latches on to cannabinoid receptors in our brain, mimicking the same chemicals. Horvath found that THC flips a switch in the mouseБs hypothalamus. Instead of producing the chemical that signals youБre full, suddenly neurons start telling the hypothalamus youБre hungry. Even if you just had dinner and you smoke the pot, all of a sudden these neurons that told you to stop eating become the drivers of hunger, Horvath told. HorvathБs lab found in earlier studies that cannabis also plays with cannabinoid receptors in olfactory bulb, which not only makes food, it also affects how much we eat. Mice make a good model, but further research is needed to determine if this is what is happening in humans too, Horvath said.

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