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How to Avoid the Munchies

Who says stoners can't be healthy? The science behind the munchies means you need to be prepared to curb pot-induced eating.

Marijuana is now legal in eight states and counting. And as cannabis slowly gains mainstream acceptance, the conversation can finally move on from the “reefer madness” that was supposed to take hold with legalization. Weed is legal people. Get over it.

Instead, let’s start talking about something useful, like the health implications of being able to light up whenever you feel like it. For those of us trying to maintain a healthy weight, a single joint can derail a week’s worth of healthy eating.

They’re called the munchies, and if you’ve smoked up, chances are you’ve experienced them. According to research, this “surge” of hunger is caused by the flipping of the same switch that usually shuts down eating. One study found that cannabis “fools the brain’s central feeding system,” while others have linked the activation of cannabinoid receptors to increased sensitivity to smell and taste.

Though unrestrained eating might feel like the right thing to do at the time, chances are you’ll end up regretting it when you slip into a carb-induced coma afterward. Of course, it goes without saying that eating an entire bag of chips in one shot or gorging on ice cream will sabotage your attempts to lose weight or eat healthy.

If you’re not prepared to give up weed, it’s time to come up with a strategy to avoid cannabis-induced binge-eating. That's where the following stoner-proof strategies come in.

1. Don’t Bring Junk into the House.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, if you don’t buy it, you won’t be able to eat it. It’s as simple as that. This strategy takes willpower out of the equation, meaning that if you do end up eating to your heart’s content, you’ll be munching away on something healthy — like carrots and hummus or apple slices — which is really not the worst thing in the world.

2. Workout Before You Get High.

For a lot of stoners, smoking can quickly derail plans to hit the gym. If you know from past experience that you aren’t going to work out after you get high, don’t stay in denial about it. Get some physical activity in before you indulge and you’ll feel less guilty about vegetating and bingeing.

3. Keep Busy.

When you're high, it doesn't take much to trigger thoughts of food, which can quickly derail into a case of the munchies. The best way to avoid falling into a black hole of munchie madness is to do something. Watch a movie, listen to music, or go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be intense, but when your mind or body is occupied, you’ll be less likely to munch.

4. Stock Your Fridge With Healthy, Munch-Able Foods.

Instead of berating yourself for getting the munchies when you smoke, why not give yourself permission to enjoy a little munch? Sometimes, the munchies simply can’t be avoided. Keeping junk food out of your home is one way to curb a junk food munch, but preparing something healthy ahead of time and saving it for the “right” time can be a truly satisfying experience.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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