Picture this: Researchers attending a cannabis decriminalization event ask attendees, who are high on marijuana, to fill out surveys. Their reward for filling out the survey? They can choose an orange or a bag of chips. The results certainly aren’t surprising: 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.
But, they do highlight an important issue as more states in the U.S. begin legalizing recreational marijuana use among adults: the increased need for tailored nutrition education as the population of pot-smokers grows.
“Given the dramatic increase in the accessibility of cannabis, there will be many more people experiencing the munchies,” said Dr. 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 Dr. Kruger, clinical assistant professor of community health and health behavior in University of Buffalo 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.”
Ethology is the study of animal or human behavior under natural conditions — that’s what makes this study so unique. It’s the first systematic naturalistic study investigating food choices while subjects are high.
The surveys were administered at the 2016 Hash Bash, an annual public forum held on the campus of the University of Michigan.Friday Letter Submission