You can vow to be the healthiest person alive and even stick to it when you’re sober, but once you smoke a bowl that all goes out the window very quickly. You suddenly find yourself elbow deep in a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos with a halo of cheese dust surrounding your mouth wondering, “…why?”
Stoners, rejoice. Because we finally have an answer.
It’s all about the endocannabinoid system. It regulates pain sensation, mood, memory and… you guessed it—appetite. This system produces endocannabinoids after not having eaten for a while as a survival technique to prevent starvation. When these endocannabinoids are received by your cannabinoid (CB1) receptors, it lets your brain know that you’re hungry.
Now you may be thinking, “Cannabinoids? Like cannabis??” Exactly. Marijuana is produced from the cannabis plant, so it comes as no surprise that cannabinoids are the active ingredient in weed.
The cannabinoids that come from ingesting THC react with our CB1 receptors the same way that our naturally occurring endocannabinoids do, mimicking the sensation of food deprivation and convincing the brain that we’re hungry even when we’re not.
Our CB1 receptors are located in the olfactory bulb, which is the part of the brain that regulates sense of smell. When cannabinoids—either natural or THC-induced—react with these receptors, it heightens our sense of smell. This in turn heightens our sense of taste and our desire to eat, since smell and taste are so closely related.
So why can’t we just reach for some celery sticks instead of junk food?
Because our brains know what tastes good.
When we eat tasty and sugary foods, our brain releases dopamine “to inform us that our brain likes this food and wants us to consume it more often.” When we consume the same foods after smoking, a much higher amount of dopamine is released, rewarding us with a sense of euphoria.
There you have it. Now that you finally know the answer you can go back to thinking about more important things like… what ever happened to the chihuahua from the Taco Bell commercial?