The connection between hashish and the nibbles is extra sophisticated than you would possibly assume


Given the long common history cannabis has with humanity, several associations have endured. One such link is marijuana and "the nibbles" – the increased appetite attributed to weed consumption.

It's not a completely unfounded association. Many medical marijuana patients cite cannabis' uncanny ability to induce appetite as a reason for its therapeutic use, but many pot smokers will tell you that they feel no increased urge to plug their cake holes at all. As it turns out, the nibbles are real – at least sometimes, and for some people – and science has only just begun to understand why.

The limited research on appetite and marijuana seems to suggest that THC is the cannabinoid responsible for inducing hunger and activating the body's own CB1 receptors, which, according to a study published in the Journal of Journal, triggers the secretion of hormones that "Nibbles" cause biological chemistry.

However, the process is complicated. In another study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, CB1 activation also has the opposite effect: suppressing hunger. A drug that mimics this effect, marketed under the name rimonabant, has been shown to be effective in suppressing appetite. But it also caused depression and suicidal thoughts, forcing drug maker Safosi-Aventis to take rimonabant off the market, even after European regulators initially approved its sale.

RELATED: How to Control the Marijuana Munchies

A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that cannabis smokers generally did not experience weight gain from pot consumption. Among the respondents, the survey found that obesity rates were higher among non-cannabis users than among marijuana users. Anecdotally, regular and frequent pot smokers report that while smoking weed doesn't make them hungry, it does improve the feeling of eating, and the food tastes and smells better, which increases overall meal satisfaction.

Photo by Flickr user Kate Ter Haar

The complex mechanisms that surround the active ingredients of the cannabis plant and our body are far from understood enough to manipulate and isolate certain desired effects, as tinkering with the hunger effects of marijuana in the case of rimonabant has shown.

RELATED: Researchers Have Statistical Evidence That The Nibbles Really Exist

As public support for the decriminalization of marijuana increases, scientists and researchers will have more access to the plant and more opportunities to understand the multi-faceted, intricate biochemical effects of cannabis and its consumers.


Beth Edmonds