The fact that marijuana and the munchies go together hand in hand (and belly and thighs), is well established: while it depends on strain to a point, weed has a well-earned reputation for leaving us starving. This isn’t a bad thing – people got to eat – but, for those of us watching our weight, the pounds add up; unfortunately, the calories consumed when high count the same as the ones consumed when sober, even if our counting isn’t quite as accurate. Adding to this problem are the kinds of things we crave when stoned. “I just smoked a bowl and could really go for some celery,” said no one ever. Rather, we’re all about the grease. We’re all about the cheese. We’re all about the pizza.

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Why Weed Makes Us Hungry

But, why? Why does weed make us crave pizza? And why does it make us hungry in the first place? Per PBS, (yep, it’s not just for Mr. Rogers anymore!), cannabis doesn’t really make us hungry; instead, it makes us think we are.

Weed has a way of tricking the brain, telling the hypothalamus (the area of the brain that controls appetite)

to flip the switch, turning it from “full” to “I could eat a horse” (this is, perhaps, why people shouldn’t smoke near stables).  It doesn’t matter if you have dinner beforehand: pot will still do this. However, the hunger should be tamed a little – actual hunger plus fake hunger equals more hunger than either one alone. Cannabis and pizza, cannabis and the munchiesThe nose plays a role as well. Cannabis acts on the cannabinoid receptors in the olfactory bulb, making our foods smell intense. It’s this that helps explain, in part, why pizza is so popular – every slice already offers a strong, inviting aroma. Throw weed into the mix and nobody can eat just one…...entire box. Of course, convenience is also a major factor and pizza offers that in spades. We don’t even need to order a pie by phone – we can order online, use things like Alexa, and, apparently, order with Pizza Hut shoes (that exist for some strange reason). And we don’t need to get in the car and drive anywhere to celebrate cilantro and dote on artichoke: pizza, made to order, is only thirty minutes away.

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Pizza’s Popularity

Another factor in pizza being among the munchie foods of choice has to do with its popularity: with or without weed, pizza is a favorite of nearly anyone who likes food (so anyone conscious). In fact, it’s one of the most often consumed foods in the United States. Per Science World Report, nearly 13 percent of Americans eat pizza on any given day. This is enough to declare it the country’s favorite food. The people most likely to consume it are children and teenagers, while the least likely are the elderly. It’s a staple of parties and get togethers, but it’s commonly turned to in times of stress as well.

According to CNBC, pizza is the most popular comfort food and by a large margin. It’s even more popular than chocolate

While pizza isn’t considered a health food, we could do much worse. It’s high in fat because of the cheese content (glorious, glorious cheese), but it also contains fiber, potassium, calcium, and lycopene.

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The Invention of Pot Pizza

With marijuana growing in popularity and pizza already the big man on campus, merging the two makes sense even before the high calls us to order up a pie. A Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensary, as reported in the Evening Standard, created a cannabis-infused pizza for their patients who don’t like to smoke and aren’t keen on edibles. These six-inch pizzas are designed by Ermont, Inc. a cannabis company located in Boston. They’re infused with 125 milligrams of THC and sell for 38 dollars a pop. Customers can only buy two at any one time (with a valid medical card) and they’re not served in stores – they’re vacuum sealed and frozen. The sauce technically contains the infusion, something the creators realized was advantageous.

The texture of tomato sauce allows for a consistent cannabis dose, a definite perk for those who use cannabis to medicate

The pizza is new – it’s only been selling for a few weeks -  but it’s proving popular. It’s also something other companies may try to emulate – after all, pizza infused with pot is an obvious combination.

Other Popular Munchie Foods

Pizza is always there for us – a phone call or online order away from showing up at our front door, warm and inviting. But it’s not the only food we rely on, especially when it comes to weed; there’s lots of dope dishes that we run to with open mouths and slightly reddened eyes. gummy bears, cannabis and pizza, cannabis and munchiesAccording to USA Today, goPuff tracked 4/20 orders as a means to find out what people were ordering most when high.  This company is located in 16 major markets and delivers convenience store items. Thus, their inventory is somewhat limited (limiting this study as well). Yet certain convenience stores do sell pizza. Among the items goPuff deemed most popular include Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Cheez-Its, Gummy Bears, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Nerds Rope, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Kit Kats. Topping the list was ice cream – the very appropriate Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked. Another ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s Tonight Dough, made the list at number 9. Ergo, the Mary Jane and Ben & Jerry threesome never fails to find willing participants.

Whether you’re reaching for a scoop or a slice, the munchies will always be part of certain strains

If you don’t like this or, more aptly, don’t like what it does to your waistline, try a strain that doesn’t elicit such hunger. If you already have a special place in your heart for pizza, there may be no escape. But you can always alter a pizza to make it healthier. Replacing meats with vegetables and reducing or nearly eliminating cheese may do it. Even if the latter is completely masochistic.