The Munchies: Why do we get them and what do we eat..?

By Tyler Lewis

Header illustration by Amber J Davies for Chew The Fat

The munchies. For many this will refer to a strong desire to suddenly devour a bag of Doritos or a bar of chocolate in its entirety. But for others the munchies are a direct side effect brought on by smoking cannabis. A strange side effect, many lose all their inhibitions whilst simultaneously have a surge in creativity. The result? Some of the most interesting edible concoctions we’ve ever laid our eyes upon. We spoke to Dr Tamas Horvath from the school of medicine at Yale University to find out what triggers this reaction and we also took to the streets to find out the strangest things you’ve eaten whilst under the influence.

Dr Tamas
Professor Tamas Horvath. Photograph: Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Yale.

Dr Tamas Horvath took part in a study which researched the effects of cannabis on the brains of mice. The results were extremely interesting and were able to deduce why smoking the drug can trigger the munchies.

“Smoking cannabis acts on a variety of brain regions. Whilst doing this it activates a specific pathway in the hypothalamus that controls feeding.”

For those like myself to whom this doesn’t mean anything, I have done the research! The hypothalamus is an almond sized portion of the brain which controls a variety of bodily functions. One part of this minuscule part of the brain controls how much we eat and once stimulated by a need for food causes us to get hungry. The use of cannabis also stimulates this part of the brain causing an increase in the desire to eat and as a result causes the munchies.

“The munchies are an extremely common side affect of smoking cannabis but it is also dependent on the dose and the frequency of the use. Some people’s brains react more or less than others to it”

Dr Hovarth has plans to do more research around the effects of smoking cannabis.

“We currently don’t know if there’s a way to stop your body working like this but we’re looking into it. We’re also investigating what other role cannabis can have on the hypothalamic network and what other complex behaviours can be evoked.”

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Photography: Tyler Lewis

So now we know why, time to find out what! We’ve compiled a list of the strangest and most impressive things you’ve admitted to eating whilst having the munchies. Beware, some of these are bizarre…*

8. Coming in at number 8 is probably the most acceptable.

“I ate 2 cans of uncooked baked beans out of the tin with a tea spoon.”

Maybe not entirely classy but also not the must outrageous thing we’ve ever heard.

7. At number 7, slightly more strange but maybe with a bit of method behind the madness…?

“My guilty munchies snack is white pasta cooked for literally two minutes so it’s el dente to the max, then covered in tomato ketchup.”

Here we have the foundations of a normal meal, interrupted by impatience.

6. Impatience seems to be a reoccurring theme. Number 6, it’s beginning to get dark.

“Frozen waffles with cold cheese was definitely a low.”

Definitely not a Michelin star meal, but this hungry man’s admittance to his own gross feast keeps him out of the top 5.

5. A disgusting version of 6.

“The most disgusting thing I ate was a frozen fish finger sandwich.”

We’re not even sure that’s safe or tasty…

4. Now we’re meeting the big guns. At number 4 is our first illustration of the quantity of food that people can devour with the munchies. Make us proud.

“Okay here we go, once I ate 3 bags of kettle chips, 2 pots of hummus, a loaf of bread, a bottle of champagne and I dipped my McDonald’s chips into a hot chocolate.”

Impressive to say the least and bonus points for the bottle of bubbly.

3. Number 3 is easily the vilest of all…

“We were in Vietnam and ended up ordering Balut which is a developing chicken embryo hard boiled in an egg. There were chicken claws involved. It tasted like a hard boiled egg filled with pate and a cashew nut.”

Chew The Fat decided to investigate Balut and it is one of the worst things we’ve ever seen. Don’t believe us? Click HERE to see for yourself but be warned, it’s not for the faint hearted.

2. At number 2 is the Queen of the munchies. This young lady really didn’t mess around when she first got the hunger bug.

“I remember the first time I really got the munchies and good god did I eat. We were near a Krispy Kreme so we got an assorted dozen of donuts. I ate 7 followed by a share bag of Doritos, a whole carton of innocent strawberry and banana smoothie and a piece of chocolate cake my friend had in the fridge.”

We’re not judging. In fact, we’re extremely impressed!

1. And here he is, the King of the munchies. This gent truly knows how to eat when he gets an unstoppable craving.

“Probably the most I’ve eaten is when I ordered a Chinese, Indian and a pizza in one night, don’t ever do that. I sometimes like to mix three or four cereals into a mega cereal, that’s pretty fun. Golden nuggets with cookie crisp and crunchy nut is mega. The weirdest thing I’ve eaten whilst having the munchies was a whole banana with the skin still on.”

Wow. If this man doesn’t deserve the number one title, who does?

And there you have it. Now you now what causes the munchies as well as having a little sneak peek into how people munch.

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Photography: Tyler Lewis

*All quotes are real however names have been removed to protect the participants involved. Chew The Fat does not promote the use of any illegal substance.

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