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Science Proves Why Pot Gives You The Munchies

Turns out, there's a reason why stoners can eat a lot

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Munchies: A sudden strong desire for food

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Half Baked

Potheads, rejoice! You can blame that late-night food binge on your favorite recreational activity. A new study on mice suggests consuming marijuana actually causes a chemical reaction in your brain that makes you hungry.

Grandma's Boy

Yale researchers monitored the appetite center of the brain to see how it responded to cannabinoids, the chemical compounds in pot. They found after the subject was given cannabinoids, the neurons in the brain that normally suppress hunger actually increased appetite.

Dazed and Confused

Basically, marijuana tricked the body to feel hungry when it should feel full.

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That's what the non-scientific community calls "munchies."

Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke

According to lead author Dr. Tamas Horvath, when POMC neurons are activated, like after a meal, they release a chemical known to inhibit hunger, telling you to stop eating. But when POMC neurons are exposed to cannabis, they start releasing beta-endorphin, which stimulates appetite.

Pineapple Express

It's like putting on the brakes, but hitting the gas instead.

Reefer Madness

While this finding may seem obvious — pot gives you munchies — the details of the study are actually pretty surprising. Previously, researchers thought marijuana shut off these brain circuits. Instead, pot actually stimulates the neurons, causing them to act the opposite of their usual nature.

How High

Scientists believe this information could apply to people, too. Sick people who have difficulty getting hungry can benefit from this boost in appetite. (Thus, one of the reasons for medical marijuana.)

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This study doesn't justify smoking reefer, then eating three bags of Doritos. But now you know a little more about the munchies.

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