It’s no secret that weed affects appetite. Many stoners report that after smoking weed, they get munchies. If you’re unfamiliar, the munchies refer to an increase in appetite caused by using weed. This can be a welcoming effect for people with a low appetite due to a variety of factors. However, some people realize they can’t eat without weed. Here’s what we know about that. 

Photo: Unsplash

How Does Weed Affect Appetite?

Weed contains many cannabinoids, and these cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system. According to Harvard Health, our endocannabinoid system affects things like sleep, memory, mood, and appetite. That’s the main reason why weed affects appetite and why it causes munchies. However, not a lot is known about the exact mechanism. 

Scientists are getting closer to finding out more. In 2018, scientists did an animal study with mice to discover more about weed and hunger. In a press release Jon Davis, Ph.D., a researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neurosciences at Washington State, said, “We found that cannabis exposure caused more frequent, small meals. But there’s a delay before it takes effect.” The press release stated that the delay might explain how cannabis works.

According to the press release, the hormone ghrelin sends a message to the brain when we are hungry. In the study, weed caused a ghrelin surge. Interestingly, when another drug was given to mice to suppress ghrelin release, weed consumption didn’t cause eating. In addition to that, researchers found that weed “changed the genetic activity of brain cells that respond to the hormone.” Specifically, these brain cells were in a small hypothalamus region that could sense ghrelin. 

The press release closed by saying that since the loss of appetite is common in chronic conditions, more research could be helpful. 

Why You Can’t Eat Without Smoking Weed

There are several reasons why someone may not be able to eat without smoking weed or using weed in any other capacity. For example, if someone relies on weed to stimulate their appetite, they may find their appetite doesn’t return if they stop using weed.  

Jon Davis told Mel Magazine, “It has a very effective short-term impact on their food intake, and then they go back to the exact way that they were.”

In addition to that, Davis also states that high potency weed can lead to dependency. That was what happened to Andrea. 

Mel Magazine spoke with Andrea, who suffered from an eating disorder and had anxiety around food. Andrea told Mel Magazine, “My anxiety about food would keep me from eating,” She continues, “The only time that I stopped worrying about food — when my bad eating habits would go out the window — was when I smoked.”

trippy mushroom bong sons day sale

Therefore, Andrea applied for a  medical marijuana card and used marijuana to be able to eat. However, the flip side of this is that Andrea felt as if she depended on weed to have an appetite. In that way, she can’t eat without weed. 

Andrea told Mel Magazine, “I began to lean on smoking in the same ways that I was leaning on treatment to eat what was in front of me at any given point. It was almost like my chemistry had changed a little bit, like my stomach was unprepared to eat unless I had smoked prior to that.”

Besides anxiety, people may find that they cannot eat without weed because of other chronic conditions like cancer or HIV. 

Do You Lose Your Appetite When You Stop Smoking Weed?

Some people do! Another reason why people can’t eat without weed is that they’re experiencing withdrawal. One of the symptoms of withdrawal from weed is loss of appetite. A study shows it’s one of the most common withdrawal symptoms. 

You may be wondering why this is happening. According to Very Well Mind, “This may occur, at least in part, because marijuana typically increases appetite. Take it away, and the desire to eat would naturally go down.”

How to Get Appetite Back After Quitting Weed

The great news is that you’re expected to get your appetite soon after quitting weed. However, if you’re looking for even quicker relief, you can heed the advice of We Are with You. According to them, you can:

  • Drink smoothies
  • Eat a little at a time
  • Exercise 

Exercise is said to help to build up your appetite. 

If your appetite is taking too long to return, you may want to visit a doctor. Very Well Mind says the doctor may put you on a sleep schedule, tell you to exercise more, practice self-care, or put you on medication. However, these suggestions are not unique to loss of appetite due to withdrawal from weed. 

However, chances are your appetite will return very soon after you quit weed, so you have nothing to worry about. 


If you can’t eat without weed, there could be various reasons why. If you’ve been suffering from anxiety surrounding food or a chronic illness, weed is more of a bandaid. Therefore, your condition is the reason you can’t eat without weed. If it’s bothering you, a doctor may be able to suggest other treatment options. On the other hand, if you’re suffering from withdrawal symptoms, loss of appetite is normal. Your appetite should return promptly.

Do you have more burning questions around cannabis?

Email us at [email protected] with your questions/topic suggestions and we will get back to you! 

Newest cannabis articles and trending smoking accessories in your inbox


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].

Related Posts