By Max Sargent

Waking up feeling groggy the day after smoking weed has a lot to do with THC. But if you spent the night endlessly eating unhealthy foods, then this can certainly add to the lethargy and the general feeling that your soul is heavy and dry. But it needn’t be this way!

In this article, we explore the munchies, and give you 10 examples of healthy and delicious foods you can eat when you’re stoned. Believe us when we say that if you make the transition over to healthy foods when high, you’ll soon learn to love them and feel much better in yourself.

What Causes the Munchies?

If you’ve smoked weed, then you’ve likely experienced the munchies to some degree. Sometimes, it’s a faint hunger and an amplified sweet tooth, and other times it can lead you to empty out the cupboards, or head to the shop and spend more than you’d probably like. But what causes the munchies? What goes on inside of us to make us so impulsive, and so incredibly ravenous?

The exact mechanisms behind the munchies remain somewhat murky. Though it is fairly certain that the main cause of the increased appetite we experience when high lies in THC binding to CB1 receptors[1].

CB1 receptors are thought to play a role in appetite and food intake, and when they are stimulated by THC, they appear to go into overdrive, making us unusually and insatiably hungry. What’s more, activating the CB1 receptors in this way is thought to increase sensory perception, and this includes heightening the olfactory senses (taste and smell), making food seem more appealing.

Healthy Munchies - Cake

Why Are Unhealthy Foods So Appealing?

It’s no secret that when hungry, it’s easy to reach for sugary, salty, and fatty foods. When high, this is even more the case. And as you tend to be less inhibited when high—and more impulsive—it is very common to gorge yourself on sweets, crisps, and fast food.

These foods are so appealing when high because certain compounds (sugar, fat, salt) are the most immediately rewarding, in a physiological sense. In a prehistoric, natural setting, foods rich in these compounds deliver immediate effects and require the least processing by the body to make use of them. This is why sugar tastes so good, because it’s an immediate and efficient source of energy.

So, as far as our deep, animal brains are concerned, these foods are far from unhealthy, but are actually marvellous and effective sources of energy and key nutrients. In the modern world, though, where compounds such as these are found in unusual abundance, gluttony can lead to health issues, and so we think of these foods as unhealthy. Unfortunately, when we’re high, our bodies become even more drawn to such foods.

That being said, if we can resist our immediate desires and defer gratification a little, then eating healthy food when high can taste much better, and leave us feeling considerably healthier afterwards.

Why You Should Eat Healthy When You Have the Munchies

Healthy foods—the list is long and varied—have long-term health benefits and, in many ways, actually taste better than unhealthy foods. Sure, you won’t get the immediate hit of sugar, but you can find much more subtle and nuanced flavours, which your extra-sensitive, THC-enhanced palate is sure to find delicious.

So, first and foremost, eating healthy food when high can actually taste far better than unhealthy food. And there’s nothing to stop you from finishing off with a sugary dessert afterwards.

In the long run, though, especially if you’re a regular cannabis user, it's imperative that you pivot towards a healthy diet even when high. If you don’t, and you use cannabis several times a week, or even every day, then you can quickly find that your diet has degenerated into sugary snacks and takeaways. Not only is this very bad for your health, but it will also blow a hole in your bank account.

Eating well, on a regular basis, also helps to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which has a bidirectional relation with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS runs throughout the body, consisting of receptors, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. It is thought to be a signalling system that regulates and controls many functions, from mood through to immune function (and, of course, appetite).

The ECS appears to be able to affect the gut microbiome[2], but the gut microbiome also appears to affect the ECS. Given the importance of each of these systems individually, and given that they seem to influence one another, supporting the gut microbiome is crucial to your overall health and well-being.

10 Best Munchie Snacks

So, for the health-conscious cannabis user, what are the best stoner foods? If you want to go to bed and wake up feeling as though you’ve given your body what it needs, rather than a load of things to work out of your system, then choosing to eat healthy foods when you consume cannabis (and the rest of the time), can be really beneficial.

1. Fresh Fruit

Healthy Munchies - Fruit

First up—fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is hard to beat. With myriad options for any palate, and boasting rich flavours and a satisfying amount of sugar, fruit can really satisfy a whole range of needs.

If you think oranges smell good most of the time, break one’s skin open when you’re high and you’ll be blown away by the wonder of that scent. And if you don’t fancy oranges, there are countless other fruits to choose from.

Another option could be mango, which, aside from being delicious in its own right, also contains the terpene myrcene. This terpene is thought to increase the speed at which THC crosses the blood–brain barrier, thereby increasing the potency of its effects. So not only is mango a healthy option when smoking weed, but it might even increase the strength of your high.

Other good fruit options include:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Lychee
  • Grapes

2. Nuts and Seeds

Maybe you’re already into nuts and seeds, or maybe you’ve just noticed that other people seem to be.

Well, the people who eat nuts and seeds every day are onto something. These little morsels are some of the most nutrient-dense food sources in nature, and are extremely healthy. They contain a range of nutrients, but also a range of very healthy fats, which is why they are so filling.

Healthy fats are thought to improve the function[3] of the ECS, which in turn makes the ECS more able to regulate many different functions, including inflammation.

Therefore, having a regular intake of healthy fats in your diet will help your body to function properly on a deep level. And while you’re high, there are many different nuts and seeds to choose from, each with its own delicious flavour. Plus, opening pistachios can give you something to do!

Nuts and seeds include:

  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Bonus: peanuts (despite the name, they’re not actually a nut, but a legume)

3. Greek Yoghurt

If you’re feeling really indulgent, then you can treat yourself to Greek yoghurt when high. Delicious and refreshing, this is proof that eating healthily while high does not mean that your food has to be dull.

While Greek yoghurt straight from the pack is good in its own right, it’s very easy to complement it with a few more ingredients and treat yourself to a truly delicious stoner snack. Why not try adding berries, hulled hemp seeds, and honey to make a snack that is nutrient-dense and pleasantly sweet?

4. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a world away from common milk chocolate. Not only does it have a subtler, more intense flavour, but it’s actually pretty healthy. For it to be healthy, though, you’ll need to find a dark chocolate with a high concentration of cocoa and little added sugar.

True dark chocolate also has similar effects as CBD, and can make the effects of THC more comfortable and enjoyable. It exerts these effects by inhibiting FAAH[4], an enzyme responsible for breaking down anandamide. Anandamide is a naturally occurring endocannabinoid (produced in the body) that binds primarily to CB1 receptors and induces feelings of joy and well-being.

5. Popcorn

You might not believe it, but popcorn is (by itself) pretty healthy. Or rather, it’s not very unhealthy, as it contains little in the way of anything. So don’t think that you’ve giving your body much when you eat popcorn, but just know that you’re not filling it with unhealthy compounds either.

However, you have to take this with a pinch of salt (pardon the pun), as plain popcorn can be quite dull, and is usually improved by the addition of salt and sugar, which make it less healthy. Indeed, you can play around with flavourings to find a balance between healthy and unhealthy popcorn. And even sugary popcorn is still going to be significantly healthier than many candies and the like.

6. Protein Salad Bowl

Healthy Munchies - Salad

A salad bowl that also contains some sort of protein (meat, fish, tofu, etc.) is a perfect snack or even meal when high. The addition of protein will make your salad much more gratifying for the stoned palate and stomach, and should help you actually feel full. The salad should also contain a host of micronutrients and fibre, which are essential to health.

If you’re new to the salad game, note that not all green leaves are created equal. Lettuce, one of the most popular salad leaves, is almost entirely devoid of anything beneficial. So if you buy or make a salad, ensure that it features a range of different leaves to get a good balance of micronutrients.

7. Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are a very convenient snack for when you want to eat something ready-made. And while you can enjoy them plain, you can improve them a lot by adding some kind of topping.

Toppings are plentiful, and some are less healthy than others. But for a healthy yet delicious and filling rice cake snack, we’d recommend the following:

  • Peanut butter
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Marmite
  • Cheese

Note: It’s worth having a glass of water handy if you’re eating rice cakes while stoned, as, when combined with cotton mouth, they can be pretty difficult to swallow!

8. Vegetable Sticks With Hummus

If you’re feeling lazy but desire a refreshing snack, why not try vegetable sticks with hummus?

As long as you have enough ingredients, you can basically munch down on these endlessly all night and not worry about a thing. For this reason, they are a great choice for cannabis users who need a more or less constant supply of food, but want that food to be healthy.

9. Curry

If you love cooking, then make yourself a curry. Curries come from all over Asia, and each region has its own takes on what a curry is and how it tastes, so there’s really something for everyone. From super sweet to super spicy, you’ll surely find something to satisfy your palate.

Not only are they delicious, but the process of making a curry can be even more enjoyable than eating it. The colours and smells of all the different spices, and the fact that everything cooks in one pot on the stove, means that cooking curry is an engaging and vibrant process, which can more than satisfy the stoned mind and senses.

10. Sweet Potato Fries

Healthy Munchies - Sweet Potato

Last but by no means least, we have sweet potato fries. These are sweet, high in fat and carbs, and yet are packed with healthy nutrients and low in unhealthy compounds. Ideally, you’d bake them rather than fry them, as the latter option introduces some pretty unhealthy fats into the mix.

Sweet potato fries are perfect for when you need something that tastes a little more like junk food and is really filling, but still want to eat something that’s ultimately healthy.

Tame the Munchies With Healthy Food Choices

Making the transition from sugary, fatty, and salty junk food can be really difficult at first. It’s not appreciated enough that these foods are addictive, and they’re available everywhere. What’s more, there’s no denying that they taste good!

However, if you push yourself to eat healthier food (when high or sober), you will soon discover that your body will learn to love them much more than unhealthy alternatives, and will very quickly crave them instead. The initial change can be a challenge, but keeping it going will soon become effortless, and you’ll feel much better for it.

External Resources:
  1. The endocannabinoid system controls food intake via olfactory processes - PubMed
  2. Dietary food patterns as determinants of the gut microbiome | Scientific Reports
  3. Endocannabinoid System and Its Regulation by Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids - PMC
  4. Beyond Cannabis: Plants and the Endocannabinoid System
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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