It probably won’t be long before recreational marijuana will be legal in NY State. Once it is legalized in Buffalo, we will all look at the world a bit differently… in ways that we can’t even imagine. For example, with more stoned people walking around, will eating habits change? According to a recent study at University at Buffalo, the answer is most definitely yes.
A recent report released by UB states that researchers attending a cannabis decriminalization event gave attendees a survey about what sort of foods they ate when under the influence of marijuana, and whether they ate more or less when high.
After filling out the survey, people were offered the choice between an orange and a bag of chips. According to the study, “Nearly two-thirds of the 275 people who took the survey chose the chips, compared to 32 percent who picked fruit, and 7 percent who didn’t take either.” The survey reflected similar results, with the majority of people choosing unhealthy junk foods as their primary “go-tos” when smoking pot.
It helps to know that there was a range of “stonedness” among those filling out the questions, with variations of being high, stoned, baked, and blazed. There were even a few people who were not high at all at the time, but who do smoke weed. No matter, it turned out that the level of intoxication had little bearing on their response patterns – marijuana users, in general, gravitated towards the same answers when it comes to their food habits when under the influence.
- What do you typically eat when you are high on marijuana?
- Are you more or less likely to eat these foods when you are high on marijuana compared to other times?
- How much more or less do you eat when you are high on marijuana compared to other times?
The exercise was done in part to demonstrate that there will one day be a need for an increase in health education, so that people can make better decisions when it comes to choosing the types of food they eat when they are high.
One would think that immediacy would be another significant player – many pot smokers tend to eat whatever is close at hand (so a friend tells me). So maybe stocking up on healthy, but also yummy, foods might help to combat the pending onslaught of unhealthy munchie attacks. Chances are, when the urge strikes, pizza and burgers will be on speed dial, not a Whole Foods delivery of kale. So it’s best to keep more health conscious foods close at hand, instead of waiting for the buzz to kick in to decide what to munch on.
Another important question is, what are some healthier foods that would satiate a stoner’s appetite? Maybe there’s an untapped market – producing healthier foods for those who smoke weed?
Yes, this is a steep and unchartered hill to climb, to alter the way that we deal with the munchies, but if the health and wellness of the populace is at stake, maybe it’s something that should be addressed before US obesity levels elevate even further? With an increase in the obesity epidemic comes a host of other health related problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
The surveys were administered at the 2016 Hash Bash, an annual public forum held on the campus of the University of Michigan.
“Given the dramatic increase in the accessibility of cannabis, there will be many more people experiencing the munchies,” said Jessica Kruger, lead author on the study, published April 17 in the journal of the International Society for Human Ethology.
“Public health has the responsibility of protecting the public, maximizing benefits and minimizing harm in any area,” added Kruger, clinical assistant professor of community health and health behavior in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions who has also studied the drunk munchies, or drunchies.
We need more research and education on people who choose to use cannabis, moving public health from an abstinence-promotion model to a harm reduction model. This would include managing the dietary impact of cannabis use.”
According to researchers, this was the first study of this nature, taken in such a pro-weed environment, which was an important part of the exercise.
“There is research indicating that recall is enhanced when experiencing the same conditions as the events being recalled, so there may be enhanced accuracy,” added study co-author Daniel Kruger, a research associate professor of community health and health behavior at UB and research faculty at the University of Michigan.
“This is also an event where cannabis enthusiasts are surrounded by other cannabis enthusiasts, so they may feel more comfortable being open and honest with their responses,” he said.
“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,” Jessica Kruger said.
In the end, one might just look outwards, to other countries, to see how they are handling the issue of munchies? Maybe a city such as Amsterdam could show us how to address the pending issue? Then again, maybe not. A 2017 article in The Guardian stated that the city was in the process of addressing its own obesity issues. But that was more of a food related problem with its children than anything else. So maybe it’s our overall poor eating habits as a society that need to be addressed in general, which is a whole other can of worms. And that brings us to another subject entirely.
Hat tip to David Hill who wrote the UB release, as well as researchers from the University of Toledo and SUNY Cortland who contributed to the paper. Quotes are also attributed to the release.