Scientists Discover Worms Get the Munchies


| LAST UPDATE 04/30/2023

By Amie Alfaro
Worms Dirt Hands Dirty
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A fascinating new study has revealed quite the phenomenon. Humans aren’t the only ones who get food cravings after having marijuana. Worms also have munchies after they have had cannabis.

Once marijuana was legalized for recreational use in the state of Oregon, researchers from the University of Oregon decided to do an experiment. They exposed roundworms to cannabinoids, which are chemicals found in marijuana. After the worms were exposed, by soaking them in anandamide, which is a molecule that recreates the ‘high’ feeling associated with cannabis, the researchers put them in a T-shaped maze. On one side, there was a high-quality bacterium that they would typically eat. On the other side, a lower-quality bacterium was waiting for them. Once they were in the maze, the preference for high-quality food became even stronger than it usually would. They had a craving for food that was high in calories and fat, which the technical term is hedonic feeding, but the slang term as we know it is called the munchies.

Pizza Junk Food Eating
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In the Daily Mail, lead author of the study, Neuroscientist Shawn Lockery, said, “We thought, well heck, let’s just try this. We thought it would be amusing if it worked.” It turns out it worked exceptionally well. The worms would go to the better-quality food and stay there for a longer than average duration. The worms had less of a preference for foods that weren’t their typical favorite. Lockery likened it to, “It’s like choosing pizza versus oatmeal.” While this is surely a fun experiment, it also has gratifying results that have a much larger impact than just an interesting topic of discussion. These findings better help us understand the universe. If worms and humans both react toward cannabis in similar ways, what else can scientists discover about the connections between us?

This study shows that animals, even ones on the lower end of the food chain, have many similarities to us. Now scientists can continue to unlock even more discoveries. To read the study in full, click here.

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