New Study Explains Cannabis And The Munchies

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

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A team of scientists led by Jon Davis, Ph. D. at Washington State University has released results of a study looking into how cannabis ingestion affects appetite. Davis, a researcher in the institution’s Department of Integrative Physiology and Neurosciences, hopes that the group’s work might lead to treatments for appetite changes stemming from chronic illnesses.

“We all know cannabis use affects appetite, but until recently, we’ve actually understood very little about how or why,” said Davis. “By studying exposure to cannabis plant matter, the most widely-consumed form, we’re finding genetic and physiological events in the body that allow cannabis to turn eating behavior on or off.”

Researchers designed a special chamber for the study that allows them to deliver precise doses of cannabis vapor to rats and observe their meals habits throughout the day. They discovered that exposure to the vapor stimulated hunger in the rats, even if they had just eaten.

“We found that cannabis exposure caused more frequent, small meals,” said Davis. “But there’s a delay before it takes effect.”

When a stomach is empty, it manufactures a hormone called ghrelin to let the brain know that it is time to eat. Scientists found that doses of cannabis vapor caused a ghrelin surge in the rats, but when they administered a second drug to prevent the ghrelin surge, the rats didn’t get the munchies.

Davis and his group of researchers are confident that discovering the many ways in which cannabis works in the body will lead to new treatments and therapies for people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and metabolic disorders who experience severe illness-related appetite loss.