Getting the munchies after smoking dope is real, scientists have found.
As every stoner knows they can’t stop themselves gorging on sugary or salty snacks after a smoking session.
The phenomenon has been portrayed in counter culture from the underground comic Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers to 70s comedy duo Cheech and Chong.
Now scientists have found the munchies is not an urban myth as sales of ice cream, biscuits and crisps rocketed in the months after the weed was legalised in several US states.
Assistant professor of economics Michele Baggio at the University of Connecticut explained: “A widespread urban myth is that marijuana consumption is associated with the so called ‘munchies’ namely an irresistible urge to consume large amounts of snack or junk food, such as ice cream, cookies, candies, and the like.
“While there is some neuroscience-based hypothesis that may help support this idea there is no formal causal evidence that may help support any actual behavioural change.
“The existing evidence is mostly correlational and indirect.”
“With Canada and Uruguay already having legalised recreational marijuana
consumption and with several states in the Union having done so, it is rather important to understand not only the direct impact of cannabis use, but also any unintended behavioural spillover effects.”
The study compared the sales of three snacks with the legalisation of marijuana in several US states and found the items flew off the shelves afterwards.
Following the change in law monthly sales of ice cream jumped by 3.1 per cent, biscuits by 4.1 per cent and crisps by 5.3 per cent.
While increases in ice cream and chip purchases reduced slightly in the months following, the increase for biscuits purchases remains high.
Prof Baggio said: “These might seem like small numbers.
“But they’re statistically significant and economically significant as well.”
The study used retail scanner data on monthly purchases of products in grocery, convenience, drug, or mass distribution stores in over two thousand US counties between 2006 and 2016.
It compared food sales both before and after legalisation in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and neighbouring states that maintain strict drug laws.
The trend was consistent across the three legalising states.
Prof Baggio said: “We find that marijuana and junk food are substitutes as
in counties located in Recreational Marijuana Laws states monthly sales of high calorie food increase.”
While the study initially set out to see whether ties existed between marijuana legalisation and increased obesity rates, it did not delve into an analysis of obesity rates, instead focusing strictly on trends in sales data.
Future research should look at health trends of legalisation .
He concluded: “I’m not an advocate for legalisation or not.
“I’m just interested in whether there are unintended consequences to the policy.”
The study was published in the journal Social Science Research Network.