Coming down with a case of the munchies is a common side-effect of getting stoned, making weed an obvious medication choice for those struggling with food.
In particular, the high THC content of indica-dominant cultivars makes these the best cannabis strains for appetite stimulation, although many sativa cultivars are also renowned for their hunger-inducing properties.
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How Cannabis Stimulates Appetite
The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating hunger, which makes cannabinoids the ideal tools to get the juices flowing. The activation of the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor regulates the release of the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin, both of which tell the brain that it’s time to eat and generate a craving for food.
Research has even shown that activating these receptors makes mice more responsive to the smell of food[i]. Humans also tend to increase their food intake when this key pathway is triggered, which is why cancer and HIV patients suffering from appetite loss are routinely prescribed CB1 agonists to help them eat more and gain weight.
Cannabis contains several compounds that bind with CB1 receptors, with THC being the most significant. Potent weed with sky-high THC levels, therefore, tends to provide the greatest appetite boost, although terpenes like myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, and pinene also help to enhance the munchies.
OG Kush Auto
With a claim to being the most popular strain on the planet, OG Kush is an Indica-dominant strain that is known for its heavy, munchies-inducing high. Bred in California, the cultivar combines Chemdawg, Pakistani Kush and Lemon Thai genetics and is packed with terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene, myrcene and limonene.
With a THC content floating around 20 per cent and very low concentrations of CBD, OG Kush is a knockout strain that will have you raiding the kitchen stash– as long as you can get yourself up off the couch.
Unlike most other entries on this list, Durban Poison is a Sativa cultivar that gives you an energised, uplifting high. Hugely popular since it first appeared in South Africa in the 1970s, this potent cannabis cultivar is an excellent option for those who want to boost their appetite while remaining alert, busy, and creative.
Aside from its dizzy high and spicy taste, Durban Poison also benefits from hardy genetics that allows it to grow well in various environments. Highly resistant to mould and able to deal with cooler temperatures, this strain has become a favourite among growers from all corners of the globe, including those in the icy north of Europe.
Purple Ghost Candy
Pretty much everything about Purple Ghost Candy is extreme. The plant’s appearance, for example, is as colourful as it gets, with the full palette of greens, reds, blues and purples on display. And if you’re wondering where the ghostly element comes from, look no further than the blanket of juicy trichomes covering every inch of the plant, giving it an impossibly sparkly look.
Forged from Ghost OG and Candyland Purple, this hard-hitting cannabis strain is considered one of the very best for making extracts, largely thanks to its wealth of trichomes. Purple Ghost Candy is also very well endowed in the cannabinoid department, reaching up to 27 percent THC. Yep, you read that right.
Now that’s a spicy meatball! Click here to find out why.
Pineapple Chunk is an indica-dominant hybrid that mixes the Pineapple, Cheese and Skunk lineages. All of which are known for their exceptional taste. This combination gives Pineapple Chunk a uniquely rich flavour, which is just as well because the super high THC level will have you craving something delicious.
Keep your favourite snacks within arm’s reach when using this one. You’re likely to be bowled over by the munchies yet far too lazy to walk to the kitchen.
Girl Scout Cookies Auto
Girls Scout Cookies – or GSC for short – is a cross of OG Kush and Durban Poison. Undoubtedly one of the best cannabis strains for stimulating the appetite. Famous for its euphoric high and unique aroma – which combines chocolate and mint – GSC is one of the biggest hitters out there.
THC levels can reach upwards of 26%. With virtually no CBD to counteract the high, it tends to leave users well and truly couch-locked. Giggling probably.
GSC is also a hugely popular cultivar among medical cannabis users and is known to alleviate chronic pain, nausea and neuropathy, while its full-body high provides instant relaxation and stress relief.
Knock knock, wanna buy some cookies?
Skunk #1 is the type of cultivar preceded by its reputation. Known worldwide for its super potent effects and pungent smell. Though mostly sativa, Skunk was actually the very first hybrid to be stabilised and sold commercially. It derives much of its strength from its Afghani Indica heritage.
Skunk #1 is the perfect cannabis strain to build up an appetite. With a perfect storm of high THC and low CBD levels. It’s also an easy cultivar for beginners to grow, providing generous yields of extra stinky weed. Once you’ve developed a taste for this strain, the smell of Skunk can be enough to trigger the munchies!
This autoflowering Sativa-dominant carries a hefty dose of Haze genetics, so you know it’s a serious bit of weed. Typically yielding between 20 and 25% THC, Amnesia boasts an array of terpenes. She has a beautiful earthy aroma with citrus tones.
Users can expect an initial burst of energy, creativity and positivity, which later melts into a body stone, complete with major food cravings. If you’re looking to boost your appetite without ending up on your backside, this could be the cultivar for you.
Don’t forget to buy Amnesia seeds, see what I did there.
Staying with the Haze family, Sugar Haze hails from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Homeland to several popular cannabis strains, this iconic region is something of a Mecca for weed lovers visiting South America.
As the name suggests, Sugar Haze is a sweet-tasting cultivar that packs a punch. High THC levels make this mostly sativa hybrid a potent appetite stimulator. Although, maybe don’t take a puff on your lunch break. You’re likely to end up very stoned.
Zkittlez is one of the sweetest, fruitiest-tasting cultivars in existence. This autoflowering version is an easy grow for beginners, providing a high yield of deliciously aromatic bud in as little as three months. A sativa-dominant hybrid, Zkittlez Auto maintains a hefty dose of Indica genetics thanks to its Kush parentage.
Known for its balanced, euphoric high, this relaxing strain weighs in with well over 20% THC. Making it the perfect cannabis cultivar for the appetite. Named after a popular confectionary brand, Zkittlez takes care of your sweet tooth. All you need is something savoury to balance things out.
What About Reducing The Appetite?
While weed is synonymous with the munchies, some cannabinoids actually disrupt hunger and reduce the need to eat. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), for example, inhibits rather than activates CB1 receptors, which means its effects counteract those of THC.
In the past, doctors sometimes gave CB1 blockers to obese and overweight patients to help them eat less. Allthough, these medications often produce nasty side effects such as depression. Cannabis strains with THCV, however, curb hunger without reducing users’ moods.
Diet Durban THCV 1:1, for instance, has equal parts THCV and THC. The result is a strain that produces a clear-headed, focused high while lessening the appetite. Sometimes referred to as ‘diet weed’, this hunger-capping cannabinoid is the perfect ally for anyone looking to reduce their food intake.
[i] Soria-Gómez E, Bellocchio L, Reguero L, Lepousez G. Martin C, Bendahmane M, Ruehle S, Remmers F, Desprez T, Matias I, Wiesner T. The endocannabinoid system controls food intake via olfactory processes. Nature neuroscience. 2014 Mar;17(3):407-15. – https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.3647