Why Marijuana Triggers the Munchies
Marijuana often causes an increased appetite for snacking that is popularly known as the munchies. Cannabinoids, the active ingredients in marijuana, stimulate the appetite control center located in the hypothalamus of the brain. They bind with a cannabinoid receptor in the brain to increase appetite, which stimulates the release of beta-endorphins and inhibits the release of an appetite-suppressing chemical called alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone. Cannabinoids might be effective for increasing appetite in aging adults, and possibly prevent muscle loss from inadequate caloric and protein intake.
(Nature, 519:45-50, 2015)