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The Impact of Cannabis on Your Appetite: What You Need to Know


You most likely put your head in the fridge at the end of each cannabis session. THC makes certain cannabis cultivars more stimulating to the appetite. However, marijuana is not just about THC. Different cannabinoids affect appetite in different ways, some of which are attributed to their interactions with the endocannabinoid system, which is a powerful metabolic regulator.

To harness the therapeutic potential of cannabis for various medical conditions, one must obtain the approval of a medical marijuana doctor in Chesapeake, ensuring legal access to medical cannabis in the region. Obtaining your medical card is a straightforward process. Just complete a form on our website, have a chat with our doctor, and receive your recommendation.

It seems rational to assume that cannabis stimulates hunger, since some people get the cravings after just a few hits from a joint. Numerous studies also suggest that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) can be activated to change hunger hormones and regulate food intake. However, there is still complexity and nuance in the link between cannabis and appetite.

The effects of different cannabinoids on appetite vary, and cannabis use—both short- and long-term—has distinct impacts on hunger, energy balance, and metabolism. The physiology of appetite, how various cannabis constituents impact this reaction, and whether or not the herb can aid in the management of conditions involving an increased or decreased urge to consume calories are all covered below.

Appetite vs hunger

Although the terms appetite and hunger are frequently used synonymously, they have different meanings. The term “hunger” refers to the hormonal, protein, and neurological system signaling cascades that control homeostatic feeding. Homeostatic feeding is essential to our life and basic metabolic functions.

Appetite, on the other hand, is the urge to consume. Although hunger is a common cause of appetite, other factors including stress, emotions, and surroundings can also influence appetite. Hedonic eating, as opposed to homeostatic eating, refers to eating for pleasure and sensory experience rather than meeting metabolic needs. Individuals undergoing chemotherapy or those with eating disorders may also report feeling less hungry. Even though hunger is a physiological need, having less of an appetite results in eating less, losing weight, and other problems.

How the Endocannabinoid System Affects Metabolism?

The skeletal, neurological, and immunological systems are only a few of the physiological systems in the body whose homeostasis is regulated by the ECS. You guessed it: energy balance and metabolism are other important aspects of the ECS’s function. Let’s dissect the ECS a little before discussing how much control it has over these chemical processes.

Three main parts make up the traditional ECS: signaling chemicals, enzymes, and receptors. These include the cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2), two important endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG), which are significant signaling molecules, and a number of enzymes that produce and degrade these endocannabinoids. That doesn’t seem very difficult, does it? However, it doesn’t stop there.

The ECS has recently been developed by researchers into a bigger model called the endocannabinoidome, which has over 20 receptors, 20 enzymes, and many additional signaling molecules. When combined, these elements support numerous continuous physiological reactions that fall under the purview of human metabolism. Adipose tissue (fat), muscle, liver, and pancreas all contain ECS receptors, which endocannabinoids bind to in order to control energy homeostasis throughout the body.

Cannabis and Appetite

A unique, hedonistic, and enjoyable experience, the munchies are for most people. But for many people, cannabis’s ability to control appetite goes far beyond recreational use. Components of the plant may be able to help people with illnesses like obesity, eating disorders, and drug side effects as study in this area progresses.


Researchers were careful while adjusting the ECS with synthetic cannabinoids due to the cautionary tale of Rimonabant. Still, other organic parts of the cannabis plant show potential in this regard as well. Because of its interaction with CB1, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) does not have the same intoxicating effects as THC. Depending on the dose, this THC analogue can act as either an agonist or an antagonist on the receptor. As an antagonist of the site, the chemical is being investigated in ongoing animal studies to determine its effects on satiety, appetite, weight reduction, obesity, and the upregulation of energy metabolism.

Eating Disorder

THC and other CB1 agonists hold great promise as future treatments for eating disorders including anorexia because of their capacity to increase appetite. Cannabis hasn’t been explored in many human trials for the variety of eating disorders that are now known. On the other hand, a 2017 study examined the effects of THC on anorexia’s psychological symptoms, including depression and self-reported body care. Furthermore, a randomized human research examined the effects of several cannabis products on twenty participants’ levels of important hunger hormones, including ghrelin and leptin.

Reducing drug side effects

A decrease in appetite is also a common side effect of several drugs. For instance, prolonged hospital admissions can result in muscle wasting in individuals, particularly the elderly, and chemotherapy frequently induces extreme nausea and vomiting. In these situations, researchers are now looking into how cannabis may enhance caloric intake, body weight, body fat, and hunger.
What About CBD and Appetite?
While THC is known to increase appetite, what about CBD? Although this cannabinoid doesn’t bind to CB1 very well, it may still have other effects on appetite. According to preliminary research on animals, CBD may reduce body weight through the CB2 receptor. Subjective human findings, however, suggest that CBD might have the reverse effect and cause appetite and weight gain.

Recall that we previously discussed the fatty acid PEA? Indeed, PEA is thought of as the endogenous counterpart of CBD, much as THC is sometimes thought of as the external form of anandamide. Both of these compounds cause elevated levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid known to activate CB1 and may enhance appetite, by interfering with ECS enzymes.

Securing legal access to cannabis is crucial when residing in Chesapeake to avoid potential legal consequences. Acquiring a medical marijuana card is a simple procedure, and all it takes is filling out a form on our website. Our MMJ Doctor Chesapeake will review your eligibility for medical marijuana based on your medical conditions, and if you qualify, you’ll receive an MMJ recommendation.