Article written by
Tina MagrabiSenior Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
The best strains for appetite are high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid that causes the munchies. Some people have medical reasons for needing appetite stimulation, ranging from eating disorders to appetite loss from chemotherapy. In fact, the prescription drug dronabinol is derived from synthetic THC and is sometimes prescribed to people with cancer to increase their appetite.
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How Cannabis Affects Appetite
The cannabinoids that naturally occur in the cannabis plant can stimulate or suppress appetite, and THC is the intoxicating cannabinoid that triggers “the munchies.” You may feel hungrier after consuming high-THC marijuana because the cannabinoid increases ghrelin levels in the body.
Ghrelin is also known as the “hunger hormone” and can make you crave sugary, salty, and fattening foods. THC works to increase ghrelin levels by stimulating your endocannabinoid system and the region of your brain that controls hunger. The result can be a sudden onset of hunger pangs, even if you’ve eaten a full meal. Terpenes like myrcene and beta-caryophyllene are also said to increase appetite.
As much as THC increases appetite, other cannabinoids may decrease your appetite. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a cannabinoid that has been nicknamed diet weed for its ability to suppress appetite. THCV tends to be present in higher concentrations in sativa-dominant strains, and humulene is a terpene associated with appetite suppression. Indica-dominant strains, on the other hand, do not have as high levels of THCV, making them a better choice for those who need or want to eat more. Indica varieties also tend to contain more myrcene, which may be another reason they help stimulate appetite.
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Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Appetite
The classic image of someone smoking a joint and making a beeline for the refrigerator is not just a cliche. Inhaling cannabis is one of the most effective ways to stimulate your appetite. First, you feel the effects of THC quickly when you inhale cannabis, and they last for a few hours, long enough for you to partake in a large meal.
Consuming cannabis edibles also seems an obvious choice if you seek to gain weight. Most cannabis edibles come from baked goods and contain high amounts of sugar and simple carbohydrates. But exercise caution with high-THC strains, as the effects can be unpredictable, especially if you are new to cannabis.
Ultimately, the best way to use cannabis for your appetite is to consume the plant in a way that feels comfortable to you and choose the best strains that make you hungry.
Best Strains for Appetite
The following high-THC, low-THCV (or indeed THCV-free) strains may help stimulate your appetite and help you consume more daily calories if you use cannabis regularly.
Don’t be fooled by this strain’s fruity name and taste; Pineapple Kush is one potent strain. Clocking in at 75% indica and upwards of 20% THC, Pineapple Kush is among the best marijuana strains for making you feel hungry. Myrcene and beta-caryophyllene are the dominant terpenes in Pineapple Kush.
OG Kush comes from a lineage combining Chemdawg, Lemon Thai, and Pakistani Kush. This 75% indica strain boasts up to 20% THC levels and a refreshing citrus taste. OG Kush’s terpenes include limonene, myrcene, and beta-caryophyllene.
With up to 22% THC content, Purple Queen might help you eat like royalty. Crossing Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani, this indica-leaning hybrid has reported euphoric effects and a swift impact on appetite. Terpenes found in Purple Queen include myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, bisabolol, and linalool.
Good for a nighttime snack, this deeply relaxing strain mixes Mendo Purps and San Fernando Valley OG Kush. Despite the name, Blackwater has a fresh lemony flavor and has been praised for its anxiety and pain-relieving properties in addition to appetite stimulation. Limonene, pinene, myrcene, and terpinolene are Blackwater’s dominant terpenes.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)
Girl Scout Cookies is one of the most popular strains of all time, with a whopping 28% THC concentration. At 60% indica, this chocolate and mint-scented strain might make you hungry before you even touch it. It’s no wonder that GSC is a top choice among users who want to eat more, as it crosses Durban Poison and OG Kush. Common terpenes in GSC include linalool, myrcene, limonene, pinene, beta-caryophyllene, and terpenes.
This indica-dominant hybrid contains nearly 25% THC concentrations and has a sweet flavor profile. Of course, high THC levels also mean that Royal Cookies can potentially make users very stoned, so clear your calendar for the day before you consume this potent strain. Myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, and limonene are Royal Cookies’ most dominant terpenes.
With an enticing name like Candyland, this 50/50 indica/sativa strain is sure to whet your appetite. Sky-high THC levels (nearly 25%) make this cross between Platinum Girl Scout Cookies and Granddaddy Purple a natural choice for activating your hunger hormone. The terpenes ocimene, terpinolene, beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, and limonene are all present in Candyland.
The only sativa-dominant strain on our list, Haze Berry may stimulate appetite thanks to 20% THC concentrations. Not surprisingly, this hybrid of Blueberry and Shining Silver Haze has a sweet berry flavor that many users enjoy with smokable or edible products. Beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, limonene, pinene, and linalool are all terpenes commonly found in Haze Berry.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is sativa or indica better for appetite?
Indica strains are considered better for appetite than sativa strains. The cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a known appetite suppressant and is sometimes dubbed “diet weed.” THCV is present in higher concentrations in sativa strains than indica strains, making indicas the better choice if you want to feel hungrier and possibly even gain weight. But you don’t need a pure indica to experience these effects; indica-dominant hybrids stimulate appetite.
What cannabinoid increases appetite?
THC is the cannabinoid that increases appetite in many people and can lead to “the munchies.” Ghrelin levels increase when you consume THC, sending signals to your brain that you are hungry.