Cannabis, commonly known as weed, has long been associated with the notorious appetite increase, the “munchies” phenomenon, wherein users experience a heightened hunger after consumption. While this aspect of cannabis culture has often been portrayed in a recreational light, recent scientific research has shed light on its potential therapeutic benefits, particularly in addressing loss in medical contexts such as cancer treatment and HIV/AIDS-related wasting syndrome.

What we know about appetite stimulation with Cannabis

A review of existing literature reveals a wealth of studies exploring the hunger-stimulating effects of cannabis and its constituents, known as cannabinoids. One such study, published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, delved into the role of cannabinoids in managing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, highlighting their potential to also stimulate the desire to eat. Similarly, a review in Current Opinion in Lipidology discussed the endocannabinoid system‘s involvement in regulating metabolism, suggesting therapeutic applications for cannabinoids in certain conditions.

Further research, such as a study published in the International Review of Psychiatry, examined the effects of cannabinoids on food regulation, craving, and pleasure, contributing to our understanding of the mechanisms behind cannabis-induced hunger stimulation. Clinical trials, including one published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, investigated the effects of synthetic cannabinoids like dronabinol on hunger and weight in patients with HIV/AIDS-related weight loss, while another study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes compared the effects of dronabinol and smoked marijuana on metabolic stimulation in HIV-positive individuals.

As scientific inquiry continues to unravel the complex interactions between cannabinoids and dietary regulation, the potential therapeutic applications of THC and other compounds in addressing appetite loss in medical settings become increasingly apparent. While further research is necessary to fully elucidate the mechanisms and optimize treatment protocols, these findings underscore the importance of considering weed as a potential tool in the medical arsenal against related conditions.