Rob’s Guide To The Holiday Munchies
Food Glorious Food
The holidays represent a trying time for people. The stress of travel, shopping, and even being around family can take its toll on the body in a number of ways. One of the most obvious is in the increase in appetite.
Within the health and fitness community it is widely understood that most individuals will fall off from their nutrition and health regimens during the Holidays. During this time we experience less control over what we eat both in quantity and quality. Between family gatherings where food is prepared en mass, to the perils of airport available options for snacking, even the most diligent nutrition and fitness junkies have been known to experience some additional padding around the mid section. But, believe it or not, the transverse is true as well.
People may not think it is possible but the added anxiety around the holidays can often lead to a lack of appetite as well. Even for those that seem to take the holiday season in stride there may be less interesting food options upon arrival at various holiday parties which can in turn lead to a decrease in hunger. So how can cannabis help with the holiday munchies, or lack thereof? We asked Rob to shed some light on the topic for us and as always he was more than happy to oblige.
Endocannabinoid And The Digestive Tract
The endocannabinoid system is widely distributed throughout the entire body. It is located in the brain, immune system, spleen, GI tract, liver, pancreas, stomach, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue. Receptors from the endocannabinoid system act on every major organ of the digestive system. This system is deeply involved with your bodies metabolism and plays a major role in appetite. First let’s look at the how it impacts the brain, since this is the drivers seat of the whole thing
The hypothalamus is a region of the brain responsible for controlling appetite. It does so by regulating the secretion of two different hormones: ghrelin and leptin. The hormone ghrelin stimulates appetite and increases the feeling of hunger. Leptin on the other hand, creates the sensation of satiety, of being full.
The neural circuit in the hypothalamus that regulates ghrelin is stimulated by CB1 receptors. This is how the chemical THC is able to create such powerful hunger cravings. It is so effective, in fact, that a pharmaceutical company designed a CB1 blocker as a diet pill to control appetite. Despite it’s effectiveness as an appetite suppressant the cannabis related drug never reached approval due to the psychological effects the drug produced.
The Dual Life Of CBD
It turns out though that CBD happens to be an incredibly effective CB1 blocker. In animal studies rats given CBD ate much less food than the control rats. Additionally, CBD has been shown to increase leptin levels, which as we mentioned earlier are responsible for the feeling of satiety, or being full. So then CBD is a good appetite suppressant right? Well not so fast.
The flipside is that CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and for people with appetite issues stemming from inflammation such as Chron’s disease, reducing inflammation usually means increased appetite and ability to digest. So it isn’t exactly accurate to say that CBD will work as a suppressant in everyone, as it could very easily end up doing the opposite for some people.
Sugar For The Win…
There is some research that shows THC-V to be an effective appetite suppressant, but it’s such a rare cannabinoid that finding a strain with a high enough content to be effective is like winning the lottery. Since we all know that winning the lottery has less chance of happening than being struck by lightning we will stay away from any discussion involving THC-V.
Research shows one of the effects ingesting cannabis has on the human system is a marked decrease in blood sugar. Researchers have also found that marijuana users have lower fasting insulin levels compared to non-users. What does that mean? Well the first reaction your body will have to it’s sugar levels dropping is a quick jolt of hunger in an effort to regulate those levels back to normal. An easy way to combat this and put the brakes on the onset of the munchies involves fruit juice. Drink fruit juice before you consume and you will lower the chance of those maniacal munchies. You know the ones that have you eating a whole bag of hot Cheetos while watching TV with the family. Or going for fifths and sixths at that holiday family buffet table. But why juice you ask?
Fruit juice specifically, coming from fruit, has a naturally high sugar concentration due to the fructose levels found in fruit. When fruit is juiced down those fructose levels don’t disappear, instead they are paired down with the juice itself giving fruit juice it’s high sugar concentration. Ever looked at the sugar content of Naked Juice? Pretty up there.
Most people may shy away from juices like this due to the amounts of sugar they contain. However if you are truly trying to avoid an onset of the munchies this is a fast, easily digestible way to get your insulin levels up. Thus you will avoid the insulin drop that comes with the ingestion of cannabis. It is also much healthier than eating a large snickers bar or a dozen donuts. After all its that kind of behavior we are looking to avoid.
But I Like Food
Now if you are looking to increase your appetite then the solution is much much simpler. Don’t take down any sugary drinks right before you consume your cannabis for the day. The drop in your insulin levels that occurring after you partake will spike that desire to eat. It won’t be long before you find yourself ready to dig in at the dinner table. Furthermore the right strain will aid in feeling more relaxed. A welcome release from all the holiday travel and anxiety that can get piled on during this time of year.
Want to know the best strains for anxiety relief, digestion, and inflammation? Stop in at Mankind Dispensary and speak to one of our insanely awesome Bud Tender crew. Mankind offers a number of different strains and products to get you just right for the holiday. So enjoy a relaxed, calm, peaceful time this holiday season.