By Rebecca Olmos  | Correspondent

“Munchies” is a well-known term amongst cannabis users to refer to the sudden development of hunger and the need for snacks. This effect usually happens after you have smoked a joint or taken a few hits off the bong. For some, this is a welcomed experience. For others, it’s a side effect they’d like to avoid. 

Whatever the reason for wanting to avoid the munchies, here are a few things to know about cannabis and hunger.

What causes the munchies?

The most prevalent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When consumed, THC attaches to the cannabinoid receptor sites in our endocannabinoid system, which stimulates the appetite through our nervous system. THC may also impact the hungry hormone ghrelin, according to a study done by the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior.

What weed products can I consume that won’t make me hungry?

As research develops, scientists have found a couple of compounds in the cannabis plant that might help keep your munchies at bay. They are THCV and CBD. 

THCV or tetrahydrocannabivarin is an intoxicating cannabinoid. It has been coined “diet weed” because of its high energy and appetite-suppressing effects. It’s found in small amounts in the plant’s natural state. Sativa leaning African land race strains tend to have higher concentrations of THCV according to a Leafly article. This is super specific but strains like Durban Poison or Red Congalese fall into this category. These particular strains might be hard to find so be open to exploring other strains with similar genetics or that test high in THC. You may also be able to find it in products like tinctures and edibles. 

CBD or cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that may help reduce appetite and boost metabolism. This is a more mainstream cannabinoid and can be found in a variety of different consumable forms like edibles, tinctures and prerolls. 

Try different ratios of THC, CBD, and THCV till you find the right weed product for your specific health needs. You may also need to ask your budtender for any insightful recommendations containing these cannabinoids. 

Is there anything else I can do to avoid the munchies?

If THC alternatives aren’t an option, edibles may be the better choice for keeping your belly grumbles controlled. Smoking causes the THC in the bloodstream to be much higher, leading to more hunger. When you eat edibles they are digested with whatever is in your stomach already which slows down the absorption of the THC, according to a MensHealth article

Part of the beauty of cannabis is being able to fully enjoy the effects and experience. Other than that, it boils down to essential health habits like having wholesome snacks, getting enough rest, and exercising. Also, try not to be so hard on yourself if you do slip up and indulge.