"Chocolate Brownies" by Kurtis Garbutt is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Does Marijuana Really Cause the Munchies?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Chocolate Brownies" by Kurtis Garbutt is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Jessica S. Kruger PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Community Health and Health Behavior
School of Public Health and Health Professions
University of Buffalo
Daniel J. Kruger PhD
Adjunct Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center.
Michigan’s Population Studies Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The legal environment for cannabis is changing rapidly and an increasing proportion of people are using cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. All policy and practice should be informed by science, yet there is a large gap between evidence and existing practices, and the current scope of research on cannabis users is limited.

Public Health has the responsibility of protecting the public, maximizing benefits and minimizing harm in any area. However, the Public Health approach to cannabis has largely been limited to a focus on abstinence, and Federal regulations have restricted the scope of cannabis-related research.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We observe actual behaviors in a naturalistic environment and compare them to self-reported survey answers. Participants were more than three times as likely to report eating unhealthy foods than healthy foods when using cannabis. Participants also reported eating more food when experiencing the effects of cannabis and being more likely to eat unhealthy food compared to what they ate at other times. Food incentive choices predicted self-reported habits for both consuming healthy and unhealthy foods. We do confirm a popular stereotype, and at the same time show that people who are experiencing the effects of cannabis can eat healthy foods.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Given the dramatic increase in the accessibility of cannabis, there will be many more people experiencing the munchies.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: We need more research and education on people who choose to use cannabis, moving Public Health from a focus on abstinence-promotion to harm reduction. This would include managing the dietary impact of cannabis use. There needs to be custom-tailored heath education for cannabis users, cannabis users can be considered a “special population” with particular characteristics.

Cannabis users may respond differently to standard health messaging, especially as they may perceive the information from traditional drug-use prevention programs as misleading and may be less likely to trust health information from “official” sources. People may also respond differently when they are actually high on cannabis, so we need to find methods that work to promote healthy and safe behaviors under these conditions.

No disclosures.



Manipulation Checking the Munchies: Validating Self-Reported Dietary Behaviors during Cannabis Intoxication

Brief Report

Jessica S. Kruger, Alexis Blavos, Thomas S. Castor, Amy J. Wotring, Victoria R. Wagner-Greene, Tavis Glassman, Daniel J. Kruger

Human Ethology, Volume 34, 10-16, published April 17, 2019

DOI:  https://doi.org/10.22330/he/34/010-016


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Last Updated on April 24, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD