[5-Minute Expert]

Feed your snack fact curiosity this 420

Photo: Wade Vandervort
Jensen S. Meredith

For convenience stores, snack delivery services and the fast-food industry, April 20 can be a lucrative day. As cannabis culture’s unofficial high holiday, 420 celebrates the marijuana plant and its many forms, so it’s no surprise that participants come down with a serious case of “the munchies.” When your celebration hits you with your next snack attack, take a bite out of these popular treats.

The science of the munchies

Scientists have long known that marijuana’s most active component, the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can stimulate a user’s appetite. But why?

According to one study by Yale University, as THC uploads itself into our brains, it trips a switch, causing pro-opiomelanocortin neurons, which are typically responsible for telling us to stop eating, to do the opposite.

“It’s like pressing a car’s brakes and accelerating instead,” the study’s lead author, Tamas Horvath, told Yale News. “We were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full. It fools the brain’s central feeding system.”

Another European study found that THC also attaches to receptors within the brain’s olfactory bulb, where our sense of smell is located. The munchies are, in part, our brain cranking our sniffers up to 11. Food simply smells better and tastes better, which is why we desire to eat even if we aren’t hungry.

Most Popular Snacks in Nevada

There’s not much data pertaining to Nevada’s 420 favorites. After all, legalization is still fairly new. There are, however, favored Super Bowl snacks. According to a Google Trends report, “vegan cheesy bacon spinach dip” topped Nevada’s snack recipe searches for the Big Game in 2019.

Additionally, Business Insider named Navajo fry bread the best snack in the state.

Munchie faves by location

So where does the munchie money go geographically? According to Boxed, an online delivery service for bulk food and other products, not every state snacks the same.

The West prefers still water, the East prefers sparkling water.

The North chooses popcorn, but the South opts for chips.

Some of Boxed’s most popular bulk snack orders include Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats, Planters Nuts and Pringles.

The Northeast favors Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, the Midwest likes Frito-Lay Party Mix, the South enjoys Welch's Fruit Snacks, while the West is partial to Cheez-Its.

When it comes to ordering, California picks Pocky more than any other state, Rhode Island orders the most Oreos, and Utah is all about Jack Link's beef jerky.

Snacking in America

According to Statista, a firm that compiles global market and consumer data, the snack food industry plays a major role in American diets. In 2017, salty snack purchases accounted for $27 billion, up 3.4 percent from 2016. PepsiCo Inc., which owns popular brands such as Lay's, Doritos and Tostitos, dominates salty and savory sales, outpacing the next largest brand 10 times over.

86% of American consumers prefer salty snacks

64% regularly purchase desserts

4% percent never snack

The Hershey Company is the leading vendor of snackable chocolates.

Reese’s, which is owned by Hershey, was the top-selling brand, netting $171.6 million in sales.

Skittles sales topped out around $186 million.

Sales of Lay’s potato chips earned PepsiCo $1.69 billion.

Tostitos salsa netted more than $449 million in sales.

Food finder

If you don't celebrate 420 the traditional way but still want to take part in a delicious adventure, here are a few top snack locations in the Valley based on Foursquare and Yelp user recommendations.

Snacks, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at Bellagio Hotel)

Dirt Dog, 3649 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at Grand Bazaar Shops)

Phat Snackz, 5081 N. Rainbow Blvd. #100

Honolulu Cookie Company, 3545 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at the Linq Promenade)

Popcornopolis, 3850 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at Excalibur Hotel & Casino)

Matcha Café Maiko, 3400 S Jones Blvd. #3

Jojo’s Jerky, 707 Fremont St. #1080 (at Downtown Container Park)

New York Pretzel, 3790 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at New York-New York Hotel)

Bonito Michoacan, 3715 S Decatur Blvd.

Maxie’s, 3545 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at the Linq Promenade)

Most popular 420 Snacks

In 2017, GoPuff, an app-based, on-demand delivery service, tracked its most popular 420 orders across its then-16 markets.


Swedish Fish

Complex magazine's Greatest Stoner Snack Foods

In 2013, Complex magazine compiled its own list of “The 25 Greatest Stoner Snack Foods of All Time.” That list included time-honored classics such as raw cookie dough (not recommended by health officials), Twinkies, Fritos, Cheez Whiz and Easy Cheese, cheese puffs, ramen, pizza rolls, Doritos, Funyuns, Oreos, Goldfish crackers and Lunchables.

Nerds Rope

Ben & Jerry's Half-Bkaed ice cream

Original Sour Patch Kids

Ben & Jerry's Tonight Dough ice cream

Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Haribo Gummy Bears

Kit Kats

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

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