THC induced hunger brings business to local eateries

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  • Crater Lake and OBF 2008

  • photo courtesy of Joe D. on Los Cabos Family Mexican Restaurant on a snowy day in Ellensburg

  • photo courtesy of the Ellensburg Downtown Association. Looking in from outside of a closed Young T & Tea at night

  • photo courtesy of The Red Pickle Food Truck on Facebook. The Red Pickle on a sunny day in Ellensburg

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Elliott Watkins, Staff Reporter

Munchies are “the compelling and intense feeling of hunger after smoking weed,” according to Cooldad101 on Urban Dictionary. Those that choose to partake in cannabis-related activities likely know the feeling of having the munchies all too well. 

What many might have wondered though, is what causes this phenomenon? According to Lisa Drayer at CNN, the reason for these cravings is because of tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC. THC is an active ingredient in cannabis and those that take part in consuming cannabis (whether by ingesting edibles or inhalation) are ingesting THC as well. 

How does THC cause munchies?

Registered Dietician and Spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Ginger Hultin and Registered Dietician Janice Newell Bissex from CNN expressed multiple reasons for THC induced munchies.

The first reason, according to Hultin, is the endocannabinoid system, which controls the body’s energy and hunger. THC reacts to this part of the brain and switches the hunger receptors on, regardless of whether your body is actually needing to eat.

The second reason, according to Bissex, is the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is responsible for letting the body recognize it is hungry. THC stimulates the release of this hormone into the body.  

Much like the statements given by Hultin and Bissex, Director of Neuroscience Undergraduate Programs at the Ohio State University and Author of “Your Brain on Food”, Gary Wenk,  expressed at CNN that cannabis “stimulates you to eat.” 

A third reason, according to Hultin, is that the dopamine released by cannabis and THC lower inhibitions, which surrenders one’s rationale, leading to consumption of food despite having eaten recently. 

According to a team of neuroscientists led by Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux at the “Smithsonian Magazine,” THC affects taste and smell, making food consumption more appealing. 

What foods are most appealing to CWU students? 

According to Environmental Studies Major Kelsey Damm, the best late night snacks are always something salty. 

Elementary Education Major Jessie Caffrey stated that if she is wanting a late night snack, her go-to is either ice cream or potato chips. 

As for Communications Major Ashtyn Hodder and Geology Major Cooper Knutsen, their favorite late night snack is popcorn. 

If you are looking to go out to eat, Ashtyn Hodder recommends The Palace on Main Street, as it is her favorite. 

According to Cooper Knutsen, the best pho in town is available at Young T and Tea on Fourth Street downtown. 

“The food on the menu at the Red Pickle is comfort food and they have a lot of different options,” said Caffery. 

The Red Pickle is a fusion restaurant offering a food truck-like dining experience on the corner of Third St. and Pine St.  

As for Damm, if students are looking to devour some Mexican food, Los Cabos Family Style Mexican Restaurant on Canyon Road is the spot. 

“I love the people and the food,” Damm said. “Los Cabos feels very family owned, they even remember my face.”