Background: Cannabis intoxication is commonly reported to increase appetite and enhance appreciation of food (the 'munchies'). These effects are attributed to activation of the endocannabinoid system. However, the psychological changes that underlie these phenomena are under-researched. We report here the results of an extensive online survey of cannabis users with an exploratory Cannabinoid Eating Experience Questionnaire (CEEQ).
Method: Frequent cannabis users completed a 46-item questionnaire about their eating behaviour under the influence of cannabis. An English-speaking sample (n=591) provided data for the initial exploratory validation of the scale. A second Dutch-language survey (n=163) was used for confirmatory factor analysis. Test-retest reliability was based on a third English-speaking sample (n=40) who completed the revised, 28-item CEEQ twice across 2 weeks.
Results: Principal components analysis provided a two-factor solution. Factor 1 (hedonic) comprised 14 items that related primarily to the enjoyment and altered sensory aspects of eating. Factor 2 (appetitive) comprised a further 14 items related to motivational factors that instigate or promote eating. The two-factor structure was supported by confirmatory factor analysis. Both the hedonic and appetitive subscales had good internal reliability (α=0.92 for each subscale, in two independent samples). Good test-retest reliability was obtained for the revised 28-item questionnaire (ps<.01 for Total CEEQ and each subscale).
Conclusion: The Cannabinoid Eating Experience Questionnaire provided a valid, reliable assessment of the psychological features of cannabis-induced alterations to appetite. Our data confirm that cannabis principally influences the motivational factors that lead to the initiation of eating and the hedonic factors implicated in maintaining eating.
Keywords: Appetite; cannabinoids; cannabis; munchies; survey.