Several cases have been documented that people have an increase in their appetite after smoking marijuana. The term for the increase in appetite associated with smoking marijuana is “munchies”. Studies that have been conducted recently scientifically showed how such effects occur amongst marijuana users. But is marijuana appetite proven to be a fact?
The human studies that were conducted in the early 1970s were the ones that proved how users were able to experience the cravings for foods particularly on sweets. Recent studies have indeed confirmed that marijuana has something to do with the munchies.
Is it possible for marijuana to be used as weight control?
After the therapeutic use of marijuana has been investigated, an observation as to how it increases the appetite and body weight has also been conducted in several human studies. Marijuana has also been used to control wasting syndromes for patients who have cancer and AIDS. The role of how marijuana is capable in regulating the appetite has been through several studies but its association when it comes to weight in the general population is not yet known.
In 2009, a study was conducted to see if cannabis has anything to do with obesity. However, the rate of obesity among marijuana users is extremely low than the general population. A recent study conducted by the American Journal of Medicine found that using marijuana was associated with 16% lower insulin levels and smaller waist circumferences. It was then found out that it can be useful in treating obesity and diabetes. Even there is a connection with marijuana use and weight loss or maintenance, little information is still known about the mechanisms that are currently in play.
How does marijuana affect appetite?
Researchers now have a better understanding of marijuana appetite by studying on animals as well as the chemical pathways that are at work within our body.
The results of the research found out that there are 480 natural components are in the sativa plant wherein 66 of those has been classified as “cannabinoids” or the chemicals that are uniquely found in the plant. Of all the research, the one that was well-known is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) or the substance that causes the psychoactive effects of the plant.
Just like opiates, cannabinoids does its work by interacting with particular receptors that are located within our central nervous system. It is known that these receptors respond effectively with cannabis as well as substances that are made of cannabinoid. The receptor that is well-known to have effects with marijuana and appetite regulation is the CB1.
The CB1 receptor was found out that it’s active in several parts of the body that are known to stimulate our way of eating as well as the following:
- The area of the hind brain and hypothalamus that regulates food intake
- The reward center of the brain which makes us feel better when eating food
- From the intestinal tissue and stomach wherein it lets us know if we are hungry
- The limbic forebrain or the one responsible for making food palatable