Have you noticed that food tastes different since you started smoking weed? There is evidence that smoking cigarettes can ruin your taste buds. Since cigarette smoke and weed smoke has similar components, it’s natural to wonder; does weed ruin your taste buds? Don’t put down your bong just yet, here’s what we know.
Does Smoking Weed Ruin Your Taste Buds?
The concept of smoking changing the way things taste isn’t new. Cigarette smoking is often associated with taste impairment.
According to a 2014 study among cigarette smokers, smoking was associated with taste impairment. Interestingly, salty, sweet, and sour tastes were not influenced by smoking status. However, bitter taste recognition was impaired more for current smokers and past smokers in comparison to non-smokers.
The study concluded, “As taste impairment persists in former smokers, the bioaccumulation of some tobacco/combustion products might be responsible for the disequilibrium in taste buds regeneration.”
However, that doesn’t seem to ring true for weed.
Weed may actually make food taste better. A 2014 study on mice shows that weed caused the mice to eat more food because it enhances their odor detection or sense of smell. This could be part of the reason why stoners experience munchies and say that food tastes better when high.
Your sense of taste and smell are linked. If you’ve ever had a stuffy nose, you’d notice that food doesn’t taste as good anymore. While your taste buds are fine, you won’t enjoy the food as much because of your inability to smell the food.
On the topic of cannabis and taste, Men’s Health says, “When you smoke, cannabis activates several regions in the control center, including an area tied to the reward system, which makes munchies extra pleasurable.”
Nicholas DiPatrizio of the University of California, Riverside also told Men’s Health, “ if you would ingest cannabis, the chemical is going to activate cells in that area of the brain and very likely increase this liking of foods.”
However, a 1994 study says, “No effects of the drug were observed on taste responses.” The researchers thought that the self-reported taste responsiveness may be due to alterations in cognition and memory.
Losing Taste After Smoking Weed
Many stoners would say that weed doesn’t ruin their taste buds. As a matter of fact, they’d say the opposite. But, while stoners say that weed makes food taste better, not everyone has the same experience. If you can’t imagine not enjoying munchies, check out what these other stoners had to say.
One Reddit user says, “I actually find that weed impacts my ability to analyze and enjoy the wine way way more than the tobacco does. The big problem with Weed is that it can really affect how much saliva is in your mouth, and you need to have quite a bit in order to fully appreciate the wine.”
Another Reddit user complained that gummy bears are only slightly sweet when they’re high.
In addition to that, one Reddit user complains that food tastes awful after smoking weed. They said, “It just makes it taste like ashes, burnt paper, or bong water. Then after that, it feels like the resin is stuck on my tongue and teeth, meaning I don’t even receive the flavour onto my taste buds. It does make you want to eat more and munch out on snacks which is extra fun.” They are opposed to smoking a blunt before a meal because it ruins the experience.
We’re not sure why some stoners have this experience while others do not. One guess is that they have dry mouth or cotton mouth which is common after using weed. If your mouth is dry, food may be less enjoyable. The solution to that is just to stay hydrated.
You can try alternatives to smoking to see if it makes a difference.
Things That Can Actually Ruin Your Taste Buds
Nourish by WebMD says we have about 10,000 taste buds that get replaced every two weeks. Older adults, on the other hand only have about 5000 taste buds and so that may affect how they taste food.
Besides cigarette smoking, there are actually other things that can ruin your tastebuds. While your taste buds are resilient and can often be healed with time, here are some things that can damage them, according to Nourish:
- Very spicy or sour foods
- Drinking alcohol
- Extremely hot or cold foods
- Bacterial build-up or infections
So, if you want to protect your tastebuds, you can reduce your exposure to the things we named above. If you find that your taste buds may be damaged because you’re having taste issues, there are a number of things you can do to heal them. The treatment would depend on the underlying cause.
For example, if you recently started a new medication that you think is affecting your sense of taste, Nourish suggests telling your doctor.
Other suggestions from Nourish to fix damaged taste buds are:
- Use spices and sauces that are stronger in flavor
- Take care of your dental hygiene
- Increasing the amount of protein in your diet
- Trying sour foods to revitalize your taste buds
Does ruin your taste buds? There isn’t much evidence to suggest that it does. All we found were some stoners who felt that weed negatively affected your taste buds. At the same time, there are many other stoners with completely opposite experiences. If you feel as if your sense of taste isn’t what it used to be, you can see your doctor and try some home remedies.