Munchies Explained Scientifically in New Study

Munchies Explained Scientifically in New Study

A new study has discovered scientific evidence and further explanation as to why cannabis increases appetite and is commonly known as “munchies.”

The study was supported by researchers at Washington State University and published in a peer-reviewed journal. scientific report The study was done by administering vaporized cannabis to mice and then scanning their brains using technology similar to an MRI machine to see how the mice responded. Ta.

according to press releaseResearchers found that a specific set of neurons in the mice's hypothalamus, the region of the brain most involved in maintaining homeostasis in the body, was activated in mice exposed to cannabis. . The same neurons did not appear to be activated in mice that were not exposed to cannabis vapor.

“When you give mice cannabis, they activate neurons that are normally inactive,” said John Davis, assistant professor of neuroscience at WSU and corresponding author of the paper. “After you vape cannabis, something important happens in your hypothalamus.”

Now, this isn't the first study to link cannabis use to hypothalamic stimulation.A 2015 study published in Nature They found that activation of specific cannabinoid receptors in the brain controls a group of neurons that normally suppress appetite, which may be responsible for increasing hunger in cannabis users. A 2019 study by the University of California, Davis, built on this knowledge by introducing vaporized cannabis rather than the injections used in most previous cannabis-related studies. A recent study at Washington State University sought to build on that knowledge in a slightly different way.

The exact method used by Davis and the Washington State University researchers is described in Scientific Reports in the following terms:

“To examine how cannabis vapor affects temporal feeding patterns, we tested cannabis in the air or at behaviorally characterized doses known to induce feeding behavior. After exposure to steam, rats were housed in a metabolic chamber that allowed real-time automated feeding measurements of meal frequency and meal size,'' the study said. “Further analysis of dietary patterns revealed that exposure to cannabis vapor promoted increased meal frequency and decreased meal size throughout the assessment period, suggesting that inhaled cannabis induces motivational components of eating. It was suggested that there is a sex.”

Beyond the more or less direct link that inhaling cannabis vapor tends to increase appetite, the research team involved in this study took it a step further. They used what is known as “chemical genetics” technology. National Library of Medicine “A technique that enables reversible remote control of cell populations and neural circuits through systemic injection or microinjection of activating ligands.” This is a very scientific and fancy way of saying that certain groups of cells can be turned on and off like a “light switch,” as explained by Washington State University.

This light switch technology was used to essentially block the effects of cannabis from a group of lighted neurons in mice, scientifically known as agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons. Essentially, what they found was that cannabis increased appetite in mice that didn't have these neurons turned off, and had no effect on appetite when the neurons were blocked.

The researchers also found that cannabis was able to stimulate the mice's appetite without inhibiting their ability to move around, called “locomotor activity.”

“Our data show that inhalation of cannabis vapor enhances the appetitive phase of feeding behavior, which is associated with an increase in the number of meals ingested, a decrease in the amount of meals eaten, and an effort-based response to palatable food. evidenced by enhanced response,” the study states. “Remarkably, these behavioral observations occurred in the absence of a decrease in locomotor activity and in the presence of an increase in energy expenditure.”

If you don't quite understand all the scientific terminology, Davis best summarizes the results of this study in this very concise statement:

“We now know one way the brain responds to recreational types of cannabis to promote appetite,” Davis said.

David B.
David B. stands out as an exceptional cannabis writer, skillfully navigating the intricate world of cannabis culture and industry. His insightful and well-researched articles provide a nuanced perspective on various aspects, from the therapeutic benefits to the evolving legal landscape. David's writing reflects a deep understanding of the plant's history, its diverse strains, and the ever-changing dynamics within the cannabis community. What sets him apart is his ability to break down complex topics into digestible pieces, making the information accessible to both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers alike. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for the subject, David B. emerges as a reliable and engaging voice in the realm of cannabis literature.

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