Why Marijuana makes everything so Tasty and Delicious

According to a study published earlier this year, marijuana use makes food taste better and enhances a consumers sense of smell. The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience reported that marijuana has an effect on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This results in an increased food intake as a result of a more accurate and improved sense of smell.

In the study, mice were used, however this information has implications for populations of people who have problems with food consumption. Patients in recovery from serous eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa are a group of people who could potentially benefit from this information.

The study was led by Giovanni Marsicano, a researcher from the Université De Bordeaux who is particularly interested in the endocannabionoid system. Marsicano and a team of neuroscientists from Europe found that the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, can fit inside receptors in the olfactory bulb in the brain. This means that the senses of taste and smell are enhanced when marijuana is used. When food smells better, there is an effect on appetite which leads to a greater consumption due to an increase in smelling accuracy. Basically, food is more appealing when sense of smell is sharp.

Marsicano explains that feeding disorders such as anorexia nervosa are often accompanied by an altered perception of food. As smell is a sense which is linked to the intake of food, it is a sense which is altered in diseases such as this. The ability to regulate or change this may be a future therapy useful in this type of disorder.

Mice are often used in laboratory trials as they share some cognitive similarities to humans. In the study, mice were given tests to access their sense of smell. These tests consisted of almond and banana oils. Initially, the mice showed great interest in the oils and sniffed at them a lot. After a while however, the mice showed a decreasing level of interest. This is a well documented phenomenon referred to as olfactory habituation.

When the mice had been given a dose of THC, they did not show a decreased level of interest in the oils after time. These mice also demonstrated an increase in appetite and ate a lot more than the mice who had not been given THC. The scientists then tested the THC on a set of mice genetically engineered to not have any cannabinoid receptors in their olfactory bulbs. In these mice, there was no effect when they were given THC, they did not sniff at the oils for longer, nor did they eat more food. The researchers concluded that it was the effect that THC had on the olfactory receptors in the brain that was responsible for the increase in appetite, which in turn may have been due to enhanced sense of smell.

From this study, a conclusion has been drawn surrounding the way in which marijuana increases appetite by improving the way food smells and tastes. This in turn also promotes feelings of well being and increases happiness.

By Tabitha Farrar at: Liberty Voice

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