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article imageWhy marijuana causes the munchies

By Robert Weller     Feb 12, 2014 in Health
Bordeaux - Is it only anecdotal or does marijuana entice users into feasts of “munchies?” Who better to answer this question than scientists from the gourmet-land, France.
Based on tests with lab mice they found that marijuana is “an incredibly effective appetite stimulant,” reports
“Receptors in the brains of mice light up when the animals are high,” said researchers quoted by the website in Nature Neuroscience.
A team led by Giovanni Marsicano at the University of Bordeaux according to NPRfound that THC triggers a sense of smell.
THC is the marijuana ingredient that is “psychoactive,” to use the scientific term. CBD, the main ingredient in many marijuana treatments, does not get people high.
In fact, while the control group of mice lost interest in a diet of almond and banana oils, the stoned mice continued to sniff the delicacies without ceasing.
The scientists said: “CB1 receptors were abundantly expressed on axon terminals of centrifugal cortical glutamatergic neurons that project to inhibitory granule cells of the main olfactory bulb (MOB). Local pharmacological and genetic manipulations revealed that endocannabinoids and exogenous cannabinoids increased odor detection and food intake in fasting mice by decreasing excitatory drive from olfactory cortex areas to the MOB.”
All this is common sense but to test the theory the team “genetically modified mice to make it possible to turn on and off the CB1 receptor in particular nerve cells within or smell, or olfactory, system,” New Scientist said.
This adds another possible use for what seems to becoming a wonder drug, based on all the claims for illnesses it can help with. Now add people who are sick because they lack appetite.
The hope is that food aromas, enhanced by THC, will lead people who have lost their appetites to eat.
Of course users already know the risk of refrigerator raids after they toke up, writes Newscientist.
The study is a “a technical tour de force,” says Jaideep Bains, a neuroscientist at the University of Calgary. He said this knowledge could be used to create a nasal spray that people suffering from appetite loss could use.
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