Cannabis can be incredibly helpful in stimulating hunger in those suffering from malnutrition and appetite loss because of chemotherapy or debilitating disease.
Here are 5 things to know about how cannabis boosts appetite:
1. Our endocannabinoid system helps control appetite
When we ingest cannabis, THC attaches to different receptors throughout our endocannabinoid system. This allows cannabis to stimulate appetite and affect related senses like taste and smell.
2. Cannabis tricks our brains into thinking we’re hungry
Ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, tells our brain when we’re hungry. According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, large amounts of ghrelin are released when THC interacts with endocannabinoid receptors in the hypothalamus.
3. Cannabis makes food taste better
Chemotherapy can sometimes give food a metallic taste, so patients are less interested in eating. According to a study published in the Annals of Oncology, 73% of advanced cancer patients who took THC pills every day reported an increased appreciation of food.
4. Cannabis makes food smell better
A study published in Nature Neuroscience found that THC latches on the receptors in the brain’s olfactory bulb, which increases sense of smell. In this study, the mice that were given THC sniffed scented oils longer and ate more than those who were not given THC.
5. Good food makes us happy
An NIH study found our brains release dopamine, a “happy chemical” that’s thought to give us pleasure, when we eat palatable food. So if cannabis makes all food taste good, anything you eat will spur the production of dopamine and keep you in a great mood.
cannabis improves appetite