By Miguel Ordoñez

Once those cannabinoids surpass the blood–brain barrier, the munchies attack. A common reactionary exercise would be to stuff one's face with nachos, pizza, and ice cream.

Many individuals with appetite problems can benefit from the munchies. Among them are patients undergoing chemotherapy and individuals with eating disorders. However, the munchies can also result in significant and undesired weight gain if left unchecked.

There’ll come a point when you think, “Enough is enough” and make the decision to cut down. And if you want to continue your psychotropic endeavours, here are some tips to get those munchies off your mind.

Why Does Cannabis Give You the Munchies?

THC is the primary culprit behind a munchie attack. And as science explains[1], it all lies in the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Among other functions, these receptors promote food intake.

THC activates CB1 receptors upon entering the body, which ultimately causes a heightened hunger reaction. Even odour processing is much stronger at the point of THC intoxication.

How To Stop the Munchies Before Smoking

Prevention, they say, is always better than a cure. And if you’re adamant about laying off the munchies, this age-old adage applies here.

  • Make Munchies Inconvenient

Convenience is usually the shortest route to temptation. And before you know it, you’re chowing down on a large bag of potato chips like there’s no tomorrow.

In this case, make the munchies more inaccessible. One way to do this is to keep any form of junk food away from your home. Give yourself a stern reminder during your next grocery shop visit.

Now, if you have kids at home, you don’t want to deprive them of these indulgences. But do yourself a favour and put the pantry under lock and key. And make sure that that door only opens when everyone else is around to enjoy the goodies inside.

Make Munchies Inconvenient
  • Try Different Strains

As all cannabis connoisseurs know, not all strains are created equal. One variant will elicit a different reaction compared to another.

Certain strains can leave you incapacitated and incapable of doing anything at all. But others will spike up your cravings for a mac and cheese quesadilla.

This is actually a fun part of your efforts to stave off the munchies: experimenting with different strains. Take note of the ones that bring about the cravings, and ones that don’t, and then go from there. Also, be sure to pick out a variety of anti-munchie strains to give you different flavours and experiences each time you toke up.

  • Eat Healthy Beforehand

The issue with munchies isn’t the act of eating itself, but more of the junk you consume. And with those uncontrollable THC-driven urges, you’re bound to gain five sinful pounds in one night.

That said, another helpful recourse would be to snack on something healthy beforehand. Pick foods that will fill you up for the next few hours, such as those with a high water content.

For snacks, some good examples are avocado and toast, banana and peanut butter, and yogurt and granola. For actual meals, you can go with spaghetti squash, a quinoa bowl, or lean chicken with vegetables on the side.

How To Stop the Munchies During Smoking

The munchies may be an offshoot of smoking, but it’s not a prerequisite. There are ways to kill off those cravings during your smoking session.

  • Keep Yourself Busy

Here’s another useful saying that applies: “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. You smoke, you sit back, and you see an ad for chicken wings on TV. Moments later, you find yourself ordering a ten-piece meal, all for yourself. To make it more decadent, you add a six-pack of beer and a pint of rocky road ice cream.

Avoid that night of debauchery by keeping yourself productive. Watch a documentary. Learn a new skill. Write in your journal. Do some cardio. Meditate. Listen to some music. Do anything that isn’t remotely related to junk food. You’ll thank yourself later.

How To Stop the Munchies During Smoking
  • Brush Your Teeth

Certain foods leave a lasting taste in our mouths. A bowl of garlicky mushroom bolognese will do that to you. So will a slice of some moist, creamy dark chocolate cake. Smoking with these flavours lingering on your taste buds will definitely have you craving for more in a snap.

But you know what can kill these flavours in an instant? Some refreshing, mint-flavoured toothpaste. Take a glug of water to rinse your palate and brush your teeth before sparking up a joint. No one ever had food cravings with a strong peppermint taste in their mouth. This should tide you over for the next few hours.

How To Stop the Munchies During Smoking
  • Stay Hydrated

Our minds can play good tricks on us sometimes, especially when we’re on a psychotropic trip. Dehydration and thirst can fool us into thinking that we need food. We then take action by reaching for the most chocolate-chip-filled cookie in the jar. Hours go by, and that jar that was filled to the brim is now empty.

Save yourself from that predicament by staying hydrated. If you feel like chowing down on something, grab a glass of water instead. That should keep you filled up for a good while. Drinking water is also a good way to combat the vexing cotton mouth.

How To Stop the Munchies During Smoking

How To Stop the Munchies After Smoking

So, you’ve spent your Friday night smoking a few bowls and vegging in front of the TV. You’re now feeling your mouth water. Those cravings are getting stronger and stronger.

Don’t worry, you’re still good. Now's not the time to give in, because you can still stop a full-blown munchie attack from manifesting.

  • Get Some Exercise

We mentioned this briefly in an earlier section, but it bears repeating. Exercise could be one of the most productive activities you can do while high. And some strains will help to facilitate this.

In fact, some athletes prefer to do their workouts under the influence of their favourite bud. And based on anecdotal evidence, at least, that THC hit can make workouts feel more enjoyable.

Do your research and pick out strains that go well with working out. Just be sure you’re not doing anything too extreme while impaired. Hitting a punching bag? Yes. Doing some rock climbing? Probably not a good idea.

How To Stop the Munchies After Smoking
  • Try CBD Oil

Do you know what else can prevent the munchies after smoking? Good old CBD oil. If you’re about to be hit by those cravings, you can always count on THC’s non-impairing cousin to curb it.

Studies have highlighted CBD’s potential to modulate THC’s psychotropic effects[2]. That, of course, includes the munchies.

So the next time you feel like hitting a fast-food drive-through after a night of smoking, reach for a bottle of CBD oil instead. You’ll feel much better about yourself in the morning.

How To Stop the Munchies After Smoking
  • Head to Bed

Here’s the situation: you’re just about to wind down from your THC-fuelled flight to the ether. You’re plopped on your couch, in the living room. The kitchen is a few steps away to your right. You see a box of glazed donuts sitting on the counter. Do you give in?

Of course you don’t! But the best recourse is to separate yourself from the room. Get up and head straight to the bedroom. Don’t even look at that little box of refined sugars and regrets. Pretend it’s not there or that you didn’t see it.

Once you get to your room, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It takes a lot of willpower to say no to your munchie cravings, but you did it.

How To Stop the Munchies After Smoking

Does CBD Give You the Munchies?

No. CBD has a different molecular structure than THC, and therefore works in the body in a different way. When we smoke cannabis high in THC, the molecule sparks the munchies by latching onto CB1 receptors in the brain. In contrast, CBD has a low affinity for this site and lacks the ability to activate it to the same degree. However, just because CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 doesn’t mean it fails to influence the endocannabinoid system. On the contrary; the cannabinoid binds to several sites within this large network, and ongoing studies are looking to see if CBD could influence appetite by other, potentially more subtle means. Although these mechanisms won’t cause the ravenous hunger that defines the munchies, they could come in handy in certain scenarios.

How CBD Affects Appetite

CBD affects people in different ways. Some find that CBD blunts their appetite for several hours after taking the cannabinoid, whereas others experience the desire to eat. Researchers are currently testing CBD to determine its potential in promoting appetite, a quality that would make the cannabinoid a useful agent in people with certain health conditions, especially those looking to avoid THC's psychotropic influence. Such studies are assessing if CBD can induce the desire to eat by counteracting symptoms that reduce appetite, such as nausea, anxiety, and stress.

So far, scientists suggest that CBD might influence appetite, at least in part, by elevating levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide. Much like THC, anandamide binds to the CB1 receptor, albeit with less potency. Under normal conditions, the body creates anandamide on demand. Shortly after it fulfils its function, fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) whisk the molecule off to the catabolic enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) for deconstruction. Early research suggests that CBD blocks FABPs[3] from grabbing onto anandamide, temporarily blocking its breakdown and elevating levels in the body.

How To Stop the Munchies After Smoking

What Causes the Munchies: CBD or THC?

Far from your average food cravings, the munchies unleash a ravenous desire for calories that usually results in a sharp decline in the contents of the fridge. While CBD might influence appetite to a degree, potentially by altering endocannabinoid tone, THC holds the title of the munchie harbinger. The psychotropic cannabinoid pulls this off by directly binding to the CB1 receptor and influencing chemical pathways that underpin the human desire to seek out food and feast. Ultimately, THC causes the munchies, and CBD doesn't.

What To Do if You Can’t Beat the Munchies

No matter how strong-willed you are, the cravings will sometimes get to you. Even Superman has his kryptonite. But as we mentioned earlier, the potential problem is in what you eat, and not the act of eating.

There are many healthier options out there for you to go for. If you feel like filling yourself with french fries and onion rings, try these instead. You will feel zero guilt about your actions, and that’s always a good thing.

External Resources:
  1. The endocannabinoid system controls food intake via olfactory processes - PubMed
  2. Cannabidiol Inhibits Endocannabinoid Signaling in Autaptic Hippocampal Neurons - PubMed
  3. Fatty Acid-binding Proteins (FABPs) Are Intracellular Carriers for Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) - PMC
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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