The Maine winter is here and with that comes shorter days and longer nights. ‘Tis the season to take advantage of spending more time at home, reflecting about the past 12 months and making plans on how we want our new year to be different.
How do you want your new year to be different?
For many of us, the new year brings resolutions, and wellness and health are typically at the top of the list. And why not? With a new year we have a clean slate, a time to start fresh and a reason to leave old habits behind. There are so many ways to start anew when it comes to our health. Maybe we want to get in better shape, maybe we want to eat more nutrition-rich foods, maybe we just want to feel better.
Wherever you are on your wellness journey, consider cannabis. Whether you need help with chronic pain, are suffering from anxiety or depression or want to finally address your insomnia, adding cannabis into your daily life can provide you with a natural alternative to aid in some of your most pressing health issues.
While more research is still being developed, the health benefits of cannabis are numerous. Women, in particular, are using cannabis frequently to take control of their health, according to a survey conducted by BDS Analytics, a cannabis research think tank.
The survey explored how 1,281 women in legal states (Washington, Oregon, California and Colorado) incorporate cannabis into their health care regimens. The survey said four out of 10 female cannabis consumers use cannabis as an alternative to manage mood swings brought on by menstruation, menopause or mental health conditions.
The survey also found that 37 percent of female consumers said that “consuming marijuana gives me a sense of personal control over my health.”
As the cannabis industry matures, so does the cannabis consumer. Gone are the bong-hitting stereotypes that have plagued this industry for decades. Today, newcomers are embracing cannabis because of the wide variety of health benefits the plant offers. Individuals who have consumed for years are also finding new nuanced ways to make the most out of the healing plant.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, for instance, is the non-intoxicating compound in cannabis and is almost as well-known as its euphoric-inducing counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. While THC has been known to help cancer patients with their chemotherapy side effects, it’s also known to increase appetite, reduce nausea and pain. CBD can help with anxiety, muscle disorders, seizures and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. It’s also being used to treat chronic pain, Crohn’s, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, cardiovascular disease, antibiotic-resistant infections and schizophrenia, according to Project CBD, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical uses of CBD.
CBD is of particular interest to many academics and scientists researching cannabis and is often referred to as a “promiscuous” compound because it grants therapeutic benefits in many different ways while tapping into how we function physiologically and biologically on a deep level, according to Project CBD.
And here’s some more science to consider: CBD can increase THC’s potential to relieve pain and inflammation while reducing its euphoric effects; the terpenes myrcene and beta-ocimene can augment the plant’s sedative qualities while reducing the respiratory irritation sometimes caused by smoking cannabis; and the flavonoids quercetin and cannaflavin work together to increase the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral qualities of both THC and CBD. This synergy is known as the Entourage Effect because, in order for a patient to reap the benefits of so many different active compounds, they must be all present together. In other words, the medicinal value of whole plant cannabis therapy is greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Consuming cannabis – whether you prefer THC, CBD or both – is a personal journey. And while each strain might have a general effect, it’s important to remember everyone’s body chemistry is unique and therefore the impact can vary greatly. Caregivers are available to help you determine what strain is right for you given your health conditions.
Consider how you will incorporate cannabis into your daily routine. Some people prefer to vape or ingest edibles, while others prefer to smoke, consume a tincture or use a topical. Again, how you decide to consume cannabis is a personal choice and will differ from person to person. If you haven’t consumed cannabis before -remember start low and go slow. At the Wellness Connection we have a variety of CBD-only products for you to try.