Why Does Cannabis Make You Hungry?
Cannabis has been shown to muddle the signals in your brain so you think you’re hungry instead of full. And while many people, such as cancer patients, specifically search out hunger-inducing strains for their medicinal value, those of us who have made resolutions to eat healthier or get in shape may not be so enthusiastic about chowing down on six servings of nachos.
Although they’re something we laugh about, the munchies can lose a bit of their entertainment value when they become a constant post-toke habit that messes with your lifestyle goals. Extra calories can mean weight gain, and, if you’re raiding the pantry at night, they can also lead to heartburn, indigestion, and interrupted sleep.
So, how to stop them? The following eight tricks can help you avoid the munchies or minimize their effects so you can continue enjoying your cannabis consumption to the fullest and combat this common problem.
1. Be Regimented with Meals Prior to Lighting Up
This goes for anyone struck with the late-night munchies, whether or not they’re cannabis-induced. If you’re not on a solid mealtime schedule, you’ll likely find yourself feeling peckish prior to bedtime. Add a bit of cannabis on top of that, and, well…you know the rest.
Set up a schedule to include breakfast, lunch and dinner times, as well as snacks to keep you satisfied between meals, and stick to it. If you’re sated after these meals and snacks, you’ll be way less likely to give in to the munchie madness.
If you’re consuming infused edibles as part of your meal, make sure you aren’t going overboard. Perhaps skip the brownie or sweet treat and try using cannabis coconut oil or other cooking oil in a healthier dish instead. There are many options out there that won’t pack on the extra calories.
2. Keep Yourself Busy
It’s totally normal to let your mind wander while you’re high, but if you start thinking about food, turn your brain onto something else. Train yourself to pivot to another activity when the thought of a snack comes to mind. Seriously, it can be anything: play video games, kick it with Bob Ross, or dream up your ultimate cannabis clubhouse. These or any other favorite go-to activity will work, so long as it’s safe to do while under the influence.
3. Get the Taste Out of Your Mouth
When you’re high, you may find yourself appreciating toothpaste and mouthwash for more reasons than one. Not only will you enjoy the minty freshness, it can help you forget the thought of having another mouth-watering peanut butter cookie, and if you do reach for the jar, you’ll find that non-minty flavors taste bad when mixed in with your fresh breath.
Happily, brushing your teeth falls into the aforementioned category of safe activities to do while high — two birds, one stone.
4. Try a Different Strain
Whether or not you get the munchies depends in large part on the type of cannabis you’re consuming. If you find yourself unable to control your taste buds after toking, sample a new strain or two in order to find one that better suits your non-snacking goal. Specifically, strains high in CBD and THCV are great for this — check out our list of 10 munchie-banishing strain suggestions, or ask your budtender to help you find something similar.
5. Rid Yourself of Temptation…
Some of us feel that no matter how we try, we just can’t seem to stop snacking while high. If you know you’re going to binge, get rid of everything that you’ll regret eating. Don’t bring any junk food into the house, delete the pizza man’s number…do whatever it takes to keep those regrettable post-cannabis meals away from yourself.
6. …And Prepare for Inevitable Snacking
You can make this an even more successful switch-up by having healthy snacks and foods on hand for when you’re raiding the kitchen cupboards. You’ll be surprised how many easy, tasty options there are for healthy snacks — seriously. In fact, you probably won’t even miss yesterday’s Chinese food or the microwaveable corn dogs once you try a tropical yogurt parfait, for example.
7. Exercise Beforehand to Make Up for Vegging
Here’s another way to prep in advance for your inevitable munchies: get a workout in before you smoke or vape. Find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s running, cycling, lifting weights, or doing yoga. Then, do it and burn enough calories to justify a few snacky morsels later.
8. Use the Munchies to Your Advantage
Finally, if you can’t beat your munchies, make them work for you. Perhaps you’re not a big fan of leafy greens like spinach or kale that are known to be excellent for your health. Wait ’til you’ve taken a few bong hits, them whip up, say, a sautéed spinach frittata. You’ll find it to be way more delicious while elevated, and your body will be thankful for the addition of leafy greens to your diet.
In the end, it’s all about knowing yourself and your preferences, so give each of the above methods a shot to determine which proves most helpful. Do what you can and, most importantly, don’t stress out about it too much: that kind of defeats the purpose of cannabis, after all.
Corinne “Cori” Keating is a freelance writer and health and wellness blogger passionate about providing actionable, everyday wellness tips and tricks.