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Munchies – Hungry and High – Top Fast-Food Destinations
Ask anyone who smokes marijuana, and most will say that they haven’t experienced any long-term side effects. Compared to alcohol and other drugs, not much is known about any long-term adverse effects smoking or ingesting marijuana can bring. However, some long-term users have reported a change in cognitive functioning, like trouble thinking clearly, organizing their thoughts, multitasking, and remembering things.
On the other hand, marijuana’s nonpsychoactive component, CBD (cannabidiol), has been found to relieve insomnia, anxiety, spasticity, and pain. These benefits, along with miracle stories about medical marijuana controlling severe cases of epilepsy, played a major role in the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. As of 2018, 10 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana.
Across states with and without legalization, an estimated 37 million Americans used marijuana in 2017. While possible adverse effects of the drug are still being studied, marijuana users typically all experience one thing – “the munchies.” Marijuana’s active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not only responsible for the euphoric feeling users get but is also responsible for the increase in appetite that often accompanies the high.
Marijuana users can crave different foods when they’re high, but which restaurants are the most popular for users to hit up when the munchies kick in? We surveyed 1,000 people who frequently use marijuana to determine the top fast-food locations when under the influence of marijuana. Keep reading to find out where most users choose to satisfy their hunger while high.
Of all the easy-access drive-thrus and late-night fast-food services, Taco Bell was by far the most popular place to dine when high. Over 20% of marijuana users chose Taco Bell as their munchies-satisfier, while McDonald’s followed with just 9.1%. According to self-proclaimed experts on everything marijuana, High Times named Taco Bell as the ultimate high stop. Factors such as their menu, convenience, environment, and food quality, could provide more speculations to why Taco Bell outranks every other restaurant across the United States when it comes to high dining.
For those that consume marijuana, gorging on cheap Tex-Mex, Taco Bell is actually one of the healthiest fast-food chains. Drop the taco shells and opt for a salad bowl, or simply ask to go “al fresco,” and satisfying marijuana munchies doesn’t have to come with as many artery-clogging calories. While McDonald’s, IHOP, and Chipotle were also popular among marijuana users, their hours, menu options, prices, and sit down style dining may be deterrents for some users who are in need of a cheap quick fix.
State of Hunger
There wasn’t much variability across the states when it came to favoring Taco Bell – the restaurant reigned supreme in over 25 states. McDonald’s, Jimmy John’s, Waffle House, and Arby’s, Domino’s and KFC were the only other restaurants to take over entire states, with Waffle House’s popularity secluded to the South.
The 24-hour diner was the most popular high stop in Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia. Its Southern popularity makes sense considering the chain originated in Georgia and keeps the majority of its stores in the Southeast. McDonald’s, on the other hand, was the most popular in states from the Midwest to the Northeast, coming in second overall behind Taco Bell.
Country of Calories
Taco Bell may be the most popular food stop after using marijuana, but given the healthier options and possible modifications to their menu, users are consuming the most calories at a different fast-food giant. Across the country, marijuana munchies were raking in the most calories from IHOP at an average of 949 calories per meal. Considering just one of their menu items can contain a day’s worth of calories, two days’ worth of saturated fat and sodium, and four days’ worth of cholesterol, walking into IHOP with a munchie-level appetite is sure to accumulate major calories.
Even though McDonald’s is the world’s largest food chain and often has an unhealthy reputation, it’s still possible to keep calories low at McDonald’s. In fact, some argue a diet made entirely of McDonald’s menu items can still make the top 5% of the healthiest diets. Continue reading to see how the Golden Arches compare to Taco Bell and IHOP.
If people are consuming fewer calories on average at Taco Bell, are they choosing the chain’s healthier menu items? When under the influence of marijuana, men were most likely to order the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito. The Beefy Fritos® Burrito tied for most popular, but this menu item is both cheaper and has fewer calories. Believe it or not, men can spend just $1 for a munchie-satisfying meal and only consume 440 calories.
Women, on the other hand, preferred to order the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, also increasing their calorie intake by 500 calories. Slightly less popular (but still in the top 5) was Taco Bell’s Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla and Chips & Nacho Cheese Sauce and the sweet Cinnabon Delights®.
Aside from the Crunchwrap Supreme, all menu items preferred by both genders while high came with just 500 calories or fewer – that’s less than the recommended caloric intake per meal for both men and women. While both men and women could be consuming upward of 870 calories by choosing the XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito®, or 760 calories with the Fiesta Taco Salad® or Nachos BellGrande®, they seemed to be sticking to the lighter side. This may just be based on personal preference, but it’s certainly benefiting their taste buds.
High Golden Arches
Ordering at McDonald’s while high has the potential to bring in over twice the number of calories than Taco Bell. Among the menu items with the highest calories is a 40-piece Chicken McNuggets®, costing consumers an average of 1,770 calories. High customers can also consume an average of 1,350 calories if they pick the Big Breakfast® With Hotcakes.
Luckily, both men and women tended to choose items that were not on the highest calorie list. Instead, men preferred the McChicken®, with 13.2% choosing the sandwich with just 410 calories. Almost 12% of men also chose to chow down on the cheeseburger – if the munchies call for just one burger, men are only consuming around 300 calories.
Cheeseburgers were also popular among women under the influence of marijuana, but 13% preferred the McDonald’s World Famous Fries®. Still, compared to the menu items men and women could be choosing, their munchies weren’t making them overload on extra calories.
For those choosing to gorge out at IHOP, staying close to the 500-calorie mark may present some challenges. An appetizer sampler without dressing or buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy without eggs come with a side of 1,410 calories each. Even a salad crosses the 1,000-calorie line – the crispy chicken and spinach salad could provide customers with an average of 1,250 calories.
Satisfying munchies at IHOP seems to be a sweet treat – desserts made up the majority of the food items ordered by both men and women. Almost 10% of men went straight for an ice cream sundae, while 8.3% preferred some variety of crepe. Over 7% of women also picked ice cream and crepes as their go-to meal, but Thick-cut Brioche French Toast were by far the meal of choice. Over 13% of women went the savory route, costing them around 660 calories.
Medical marijuana has used the munchies side effect to its advantage – marijuana is used to increase the appetite of cancer patients and even those suffering from eating disorders. But for the typical weed smoker, munchies often lead users straight to a fast-food restaurant to curb the craving. While that may make a person believe the munchies lead to unhealthy weight gain, users are typically straying from the highest calorie foods, especially when it comes to their beloved Taco Bell.
The long term side-effects of marijuana use may not be as apparent but, remember that marijuana is a drug and can still can be addictive and pose a negative impact on your life just like the use of any other drug. At Rehabs.com, we aim to provide you with the latest information on drug use, addiction, and recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, we’re here to help you find the treatment best matching your needs. From 30 days to long-term care, visit us online today to find a trusted rehab center in your state.
We surveyed 1,000 people who frequently consume marijuana to determine the top fast-food locations they visit when under the influence of marijuana. Then, we ran a secondary survey of 793 people who eat at Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and IHOP when under the influence of marijuana. 55% of respondents were men, and 45% were women. Their ages ranged from 18 to 78 with a median age of 33. Respondents were then excluded from our analysis if they did not consume marijuana.
Our collection means were a combination of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and Reddit. The limitations of a Reddit-based survey mean we are confined by the demographics and tendencies of the respective subreddits in which we posted. To obtain the foods ordered per establishment, we had a tool built where respondents could input their orders, which you can find here. These data and this content are purely exploratory.
The data we are presenting rely on self-reporting. There are many issues with self-reported data. These issues include but are not limited to selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration when it comes to food consumption. As a result, the outliers in this study have been excluded.
Fair Use Statement
You’re welcome to share this content on your own website or social media for noncommercial purposes in order to show how people’s eating habits compare to those under the influence of marijuana. If you do, please include a link back to this page to provide proper credit and let your readers explore our full project.