If you struggle with intuitive eating while using cannabis, you are not alone! Many people report experiencing “the munchies” causing them to binge or eat past comfortable fullness when engaging with cannabis.
You may feel that you just need more “willpower” or that the only answer is to stop smoking weed.. However, for many people, cannabis is an important tool for pain, mental health, chronic illness, and/or recreation. You really don’t have to stop smoking to “fix” the issue of binging when you have the munchies, you just need the right tools to help you navigate eating while high.
Here are 8 ways to prevent binging while high:
#1 Eat Before Smoking
When you eat before using cannabis, you’ll enter into the experience nourished, therefore, your body will not have the biological need for fuel while high. Eating before cannabis use might consist of eating a meal, a snack with protein, carbs, and fat, or anything else that will make you feel full. Eating while under the influence of cannabis can make it more difficult to listen to your body’s cues and therefore more likely to eat to uncomfortable fullness. It can be discouraging to experience episodes of eating past comfortable fullness, especially if you’re still new to intuitive eating. Taking eating our of the equation is one option, however if eating is an important part of your cannabis experience, I am not here to take that from you! Keep reading for tips on navigating eating while high if simply eating before you use cannabis doesn’t feel accessible to you.
#2 Incorporate “high” foods when sober
Incorporating “high” foods when sober is very important to prevent binging on them while high. If you only allow yourself to eat certain foods while high, you’re creating a sense of scarcity, which leads to a phenomenon called the last supper mentality. The last supper mentality is when you rarely allow yourself to eat a certain food, causing you to feel the need to gorge yourself on that food when you occasionally do allow it. Start by noticing what foods you binge on when high and then begin adding those foods into your daily life with unconditional permission to truly enjoy them. Giving yourself permission to eat the foods you binge on while high anytime, anywhere, will prevent the last supper mentality while high.
#3 Check in with your internal dialogue
The way you talk to yourself about eating while high may contribute to binging. If you tell yourself that calories don’t count when using cannabis, it’s likely you’ll end up eating past comfortable fullness, with the excuse that you have to “get it all in” to capitalize on the experience of being high. If you’re viewing being high as a “permission slip” to “be bad” and eat whatever you want, you’ll very likely end up feeling uncomfortably stuffed. If you do eat while high, notice the way you speak to yourself when fullness starts to happen. Does your internal dialogue sound like, “you’re gross, you’re such a pig, what’s wrong with you….” If so, work on shifting into a more compassionate inner dialogue by gently bringing neutral awareness to the sensation of fullness. This way, you’ll feel more connected to your body as you communicate with it instead of engaging in negative self talk. Finally, notice if you’re eating something while high because you actually want to eat it, or if you’re eating because it’s “the munchies” and you “have to.”
#4 Ask if Food Still Tastes Good
While we eat for many different reasons, pleasurable taste is certainly one of them. When you’re eating while engaging with cannabis, it’s important to ask yourself if the food you’re eating still tastes good. As you continue to eat and become full, the food will not taste as good. This is part of your body’s way of communicating to you that you’re becoming full. If you notice the food not tasting as good as that initial bite, ask yourself if you still want to eat it. And if you do, that is perfectly fine as you have body autonomy and there are no rules. When using cannabis, it can be especially difficult to determine if the food is still tasting good because of the heightened sensations resulting from the cannabinoids. As a result, it can be helpful to gently remind yourself that you’re under the influence and therefore experiencing heightened mouth feel. This reminder can help you determine if the food actually still tastes good or if the pleasurable sensation is coming from the affects of the drug.
#5 Ask Motivation for Cannabis Use
When you choose to use cannabis, ask yourself why you are doing so. Are you looking to relax and unwind? Maybe cannabis use helps with your creativity? Or, perhaps your motivation is simply tapping into a different brain frequency. These are all valid reasons to use cannabis. Checking in with your intention can help you to stay grounded during the experience. For example, if your intention for using cannabis is to unwind and relax, when you feel the desire to binge, you can ask yourself, “would this action support my intention of relaxing?” What you’ll find is that binge eating while high likely causes more stress, therefore contradicting your original motivation of unwinding.
#6 Experiment with other ways of experiencing Heightened Senses
For many people, binge eating while high happens in part because the experience of heightened taste and mouthfeel is remarkably pleasurable. Importantly, taste isn’t the only sense that is heightened when high. One unconventional tip to stop binging while high is to fulfill the desire to experience heightened senses in other ways. For example, you can drink hot tea and notice how it feels going down your throat, or hold the cup of hot tea and connect to the temperature and how it feels in your hands as well as the aroma of the tea. To access the sense of touch, you could engage in self-massage, utilize a massage gun, or exchange massages with a loved-one. Taking a hot shower or bath is another great way to connect to your senses by noticing how the hot water feels on your skin. You can also light candles, burn incense, or diffuse essential oils to connect to your sense of smell. Along with massages, self and intimate pleasure is another way to connect to your body and your sense of touch. You can also connect to rhythm or sound by listening to music or engaging in dance while noticing how the sounds and vibrations move through you. Make a list of the experiences that sound pleasurable to you before you use cannabis so you have alternative ideas for how to connect to your senses ready to go.
While on your IE journey, noticing fullness cues while high may make you sad because you enjoy the food you’re eating and want to keep eating even if you know that you’re full. This feeling of sadness is normal and it’s important to allow yourself to feel that sadness so that the emotion can move through you. However, you may also find it helpful to distract yourself from this sadness. Watching an entertaining show, talking to a friend, or starting a new activity such a reading or coloring can help you shift your attention away from the sadness that comes from stopping eating. During this time, it is important to remember that the sadness will pass in a few minutes, while the feeling from eating past comfortable fullness will likely last the rest of the night and potentially even into the morning.
#8 Reflect on Past Experiences
As you move through cannabis use in your Intuitive Eating journey, remember to reflect on past experiences. Ask yourself if you even like eating when high or if you’ve just been doing it because that’s what our culture says you “should” do when high. If eating while high is authentically enjoyable for you, then that’s okay, and if it’s not–that’s okay too! Some people find that eating big meals while high is not an enjoyable experience as the hyper awareness of sensations can ruin the experience of eating. On the other hand, some folks find that they feel more connected to foods and particularly enjoy eating while high. Everyone is different– it is up to you to reflect on your own lived experience and determine what feels best for your body.
If you struggle with binging while high, you are not alone. Unfortunately, this is not a topic being widely discussed but there truly are many tools you can use to avoid binging while high. Whether or not you choose to use cannabis and eat while high is your own choice, and whatever choice you make is a beautiful one. Want more on this topic? I did an entire podcast episode diving into much more depth on my podcast, Shoulder Down. Click here to check out the episode, Cannabis and Intuitive Eating- Navigating High Munchies Without Binging.
Last modified: March 10, 2023