Dear Stoner: Why Does Smoking Weed Make You Hungry?

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Dear Stoner: Why does smoking weed make you hungry? Like, does science know why?

Dear Stewie: The munchies are real, man. Although no one could definitively point to a brain reaction and say “There it is” for a long time, by 2015 marijuana’s ability to increase appetite was already widely accepted enough for it to be used as medicine for eating disorders in over 20 states. Science finally gave the munchies its stamp of approval last year, when a study from Yale University discovered that marijuana tricks the brain by increasing the production of cannabinoids and lipids that stimulate our appetite, whether we’re full of food or not.

The process telling you to buy that big bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos from 7-Eleven goes down like this: The brain has certain receptors that are responsible for mood, appetite, memory and more, according to Tamas Horvath and his team at Yale, with the receptor known as CB1 being responsible for appetite. Smoking weed activates those receptors. They then tell neurons called pro-opiomelanocortin, or POMC, which usually produce hunger-suppressing hormones, to do just the opposite. “It’s like pressing a car’s brakes and accelerating instead,” Horvath explained when the study was released.

Dear Stoner: I found an old bottle of pot in my trunk that has to be at least a year old, if not older. Is it still good to smoke?

Dear Rica: It’s like finding a Starburst in a couch cushion: If it’s still in the wrapper, you’re good to go. Just kidding. While I’d recommend that you look over those nugs with a microscope to make sure there’s no mold, bugs or rot on your vintage herb (your trunk shouldn’t have that much moisture, but you never know), it should be relatively safe to smoke as long as dirt never got inside the bottle. The THC and taste will have degraded thanks to time, oxygen and heat, and it might be a little crumbly, but at the end of the day, it’s still pot that was grown to be smoked.

Does that mean that it has to be smoked by you? Absolutely not. Regift it: You’ll be a hero at the next party you attend, and it will have cost you nothing. No one needs to know.

Have questions for our Sultan of Stoniness? Send them to marijuana@westword.com or call our potline at 303-­293­-2222.

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