Whether your guilty pleasure is savory, sweet, there’s a special joy that comes from indulging in your favorite treats while you’re medicated. But why do we have special cravings, and how can we ensure that we don’t go overboard? Here’s our quick guide to healthy food options for your stoned munchies cravings.
Why does cannabis give you the munchies?
Smoking cannabis gives you the ability to smell and taste better. The THC you ingest attaches itself to different receptors in our endocannabinoid system–which already exists in our brains–tricking us into thinking that we’re starving. Because of the close relationship between smell and taste, increased levels of THC make us more sensitive to scent, causing food to taste better. According to Smithsonian Magazine:
Previous research has found that the drug also acts on receptors in a region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, increasing the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine—and the sensation of pleasure—that comes as a result of eating while high. Other work has found that THC additionally interacts with the same sorts of receptors in the hypothalamus, leading to release of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger.
In a word, the munchies are very real.
Healthy Foods the Enhance Your Smoking Experience
Even as our bodies crave certain foods when we’re stoned, particular foods can help enhance the experience. Here are a few healthy snack choices that will help uplift your body while cannabis stimulates your mind.
Healthy Food Options for Your Munchies Cravings
It’s important to make smart food choices in your life, even more so when you have the munchies. Even as cannabis enhances the pleasure of food, healthy and energizing foods can enhance your cannabis experience just as much. The opposite is also true. Indulging in too much of something delicious can make you feel rotten. To make better food choices when you’re high, it’s important to first understand why cannabis makes you hungry in the first place.
Mangoes are the world’s most popular fruit, and a healthy snack for when you have the munchies. Mangoes are sweet, energizing and an excellent go-to when you’re cravings kick in. One cup of mango contains 100 percent of your recommended intake of Vitamin C, satisfies 35 percent of your daily Vitamin A needs, and contains just 100 calories, according to mango.org. Urban legend has is it that eating a mango one hour before you smoke enhances your high, by allowing THC to pass through the blood brain barrier faster.
The skin of citrus fruits contains essential oils similar to the terpenes in cannabis that give your favorite strains their distinct aroma and flavor profile. Juicy citrus fruits are full of Vitamin C and natural sugars, giving your body a much-needed boost, as well as helping you rehydrate. The citrus aroma may also have additional benefits when you’re high, by helping to relieve anxiety and induce calm.
Bright, colorful berries are a treat for the eyes, and are an excellent source of nutrition. Berries contain cancer-fighting chemicals, and promote long-term health of your brain, and bones. Berries are also an excellent source of fiber, which keeps you regular.
Pickles and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha should be high on your list of healthy munchies. Pickled foods, also known as probiotics, contain elevated levels of beneficial bacteria, which help to maintain digestive health. New research about the relationship between the brain and the stomach suggests that probiotics may improve your mood, which means that pickles can help you enjoy your high even as they chase away the munchies.
Nuts are high in protein, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, so-called “healthy fats,” which bind with the cannabinoids in your brain, and may help you get high faster, and stay high longer. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts are good for heart health, because of high levels of vitamin E, which slows down the development of plaque in your arteries.
Cannabis Strains for Increasing Appetite
For Chemo patients, and other cannabis users struggling to eat, these are strains that are prized for their ability to stimulate the appetite, because of nausea or gastrointestinal distress. According to Leafly there are more than 450 strains that will make you hungry, according to their user review database. Here are a few of mouth-watering cannabis strains to help boost your appetite, according to Leafly.
Chikodi Chima is the founder of Moonshot, a San Francisco communications consultancy that works with cannabis brands and cannabis technologies. He is responsible for the launch of Flow Kana, the world’s first farm-to-table cannabis brand. He’s a former VentureBeat staff reporter, and he earned his M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.