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‘The Munchies’ Is A Real Statistical Phenomenon

I remember first hearing the phrase ‘The Munchies’ to describe a Cannabis user’s craving for junk food way back in the early 1970s. Now science has proven the connection between Weed and food via a major data mining operation. Dr. Obvious wants to know what took them so long?

Chips Aisle - © Charlie and Melody Wambeke via FlikrMost supermarkets now have entire aisles dedicated to Chips,
Pretzels, Cheese Puffs, Popcorn and other Salty treats…

Cannabis has been legal nationally for recreational use here in Canada for almost a year now, and folks of all ages and walks of life are getting used to the idea. A fact that many so-called experts have found startling is that there has been no major increase in the number of people using Weed and Weed-based products. Dr. Obvious was not among those ‘experts’. He says it just makes sense. The government-mandated pricing scheme for Cannabis makes legal Weed just as expensive as the illegal kind was before. There’s no encouragement to former non-users to try it. What the experts don’t say is whether there’s been an up-swing in The Munchies…

But a new U.S. study shows that sales of Salty, Fatty and Sugary treats are up markedly in states where the stuff has been legalized there.

What they did…

The study’s methodology is summed up thusly in a digest of its findings:

“[T]he study looked at data on monthly purchases of cookies, chips, and ice cream from grocery, convenience, drug, and mass distribution stores in more than 2,000 counties in the United States over a 10-year period. The data, largely taken from the Nielsen Retail Scanner database, covers 52 designated market areas in the 48 contiguous states.”

What they found…

Comparing the sales of junk foods before recreational Cannabis was legalized to sales after, Asst. Prof. Michele Baggio of the University of Connecticut found that, “legalizing recreational Marijuana [correlated directly with] a 3.1 percent increase in ice cream purchases, a 4.1 percent increase in cookie purchases, and a 5.3 percent increase in chip purchases immediately after recreational marijuana sales began. While increases in ice cream and chip purchases reduced slightly in the months following legalization, the increase for cookie purchases remains high.”

“These might seem like small numbers,” Baggio notes. “But they’re statistically significant and economically significant as well.”

The takeaway…

Baggio’s findings seem to indicate that, yes, Virginia, The Munchies are a real phenomenon. He says he’d like to follow up with another study to see if Cannabis legalization has led to increases in overweight or obesity in the states he studies, as well.

My take…

If, following the Canadian experience, roughly the same number of folks in the states studied – Washington, Colorado and Oregon – are using Cannabis after legalization as used it before, then Dr. Obvious postulates they might be using it more often or more intensively, triggering more frequent or more intense attacks of The Munchies.

What I’d like to know is, did Pizza sales jump? And what about other take-out, order-in or mic-and-run foods like Wings, Burgers, Fries, Corn Dogs and Hot Pockets? And where, in his list of target foods, are the Sweet confections – Candy Bars, Jubes, Skittles and Gum? Corresponding increases in sales of those foods would go a long way to consolidating the alleged link between Cannabis and cravings in my view.

Alas… There are no clinical studies showing conclusively a link between Cannabis use and The Munchies; no scientific, medical proof. But Dr. Obvious says he’s more than satisfied with the observational and anecdotal evidence that’s been mounting in favour of the Cannabis-Munchies link for more than 50 years, now…

~ Maggie J.

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