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Medical Cannabis and Food

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Let's dive into the sensory explosion that occurs when cannabis meets cuisine and explore why certain foods are particularly irresistible.

Medical cannabis food

Enhancing the Senses

When you smoke medical cannabis, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) activates your brain's endocannabinoid system, particularly impacting the CB1 receptors. This interaction enhances your sense of smell, which is directly linked to your sense of taste. A study conducted in 2014 found that stimulating the brain's CB1 receptors enhances your sense of smell, making you more attuned to food's flavours, aromas, and textures​​. This heightened sense makes you hungrier and causes you to pay more attention to what you're eating, potentially leading to a more pleasurable dining experience.

Amplifying Pleasure from Certain Foods

Another study from Italy revealed that THC could increase the pleasure derived from eating high-calorie and sugary foods. However, it does not enhance the taste or your desire for foods you dislike​​. This could explain why you might reach for a bag of chips or a slice of cake rather than a salad when medicated. THC activates the brain's reward centres, making sugary and fatty foods taste more appealing and satisfying.

The Munchies Phenomenon

The 'munchies' are a well-known side effect of medical cannabis use. When consuming cannabis, THC stimulates the release of hormones that induce hunger. The types of foods craved during munchies are often sweet and high in fat, as the brain's reward centre responds strongly to these types of foods, leading to a sense of pleasure and satisfaction​​.

Foods That Boost the Cannabis High

Some foods can actually enhance your medical cannabis high. Mangoes, for example, are rich in myrcene, a terpene also found in many cannabis strains. Consuming mangoes before or during your cannabis experience can make the high feel stronger and last longer.

Nuts, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, can speed up the onset of your high and make it last longer due to THC binding to fat. Sweet potatoes, rich in complex carbs and vitamins, can increase serotonin release in the brain, boosting mood. Surprisingly, even broccoli can enhance the effects of cannabis due to its caryophyllene content, a terpene that binds to CB2 receptors like cannabinoids. Green tea, with its high catechin content, can also enhance the cannabis high by binding to CB1 receptors, creating a sense of euphoria​​.

The experience of enjoying food while high is not just about quelling hunger; it's a complex interplay of chemistry, biology, and sensory enhancement. Medical cannabis use amplifies the taste and pleasure of eating, especially certain types of foods, making the whole experience more delightful. So next time you indulge in your favourite treat while high, know that there's an intricate science behind why it tastes so incredibly good.

In summary, the science of medical cannabis and food reveals a fascinating interaction between cannabis and our sensory perception, enhancing the pleasure of eating and making certain foods irresistible during these elevated experiences. For more information visit

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