Most mainstream conversations about cannabis and health have largely been focused on medicinal uses for those who struggle with debilitating, chronic illnesses.
While cannabis can be a revolutionary healthcare tool to support those with serious illness, we are also starting to understand more about how cannabis can work as a form of preventive medicine.
Preventive medicine is arguably most successful with a holistic approach – one that takes the “whole person” into consideration by supporting the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of oneself and the systems in which we live.
Let’s take a closer look at just how cannabis can play a role in all this.
The science behind cannabis’s efficacy.
With over 100 strains of cannabis, and countless hybrids and combinations, cannabis makes for a robust pharmacopeia in everyday medicine.
This plant is most widely known for managing pain, minimizing inflammation, reducing seizures, and fighting malignant cancer cells. But that’s not all. Cannabis also works as an antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and a mood elevator, fighting both physical and emotional maladies.
It’s hard to believe that one plant can help with so many things, but the science is airtight on this.
The reason why cannabis has such a vast range of health properties lies within the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The health of the ECS is vital for homeostasis – the stable functioning of all our physiological processes, including appetite, sensitivity to pain, emotions, bone growth, fertility and so much more.
Our bodies do produce their own cannabinoids (known as endocannabinoids), but it’s not always enough to keep the ECS functioning at an optimal level. We are finding that endocannabinoid deficiencies are the root of many types of illness, be it physical or mental.
This is where cannabis comes in. The major cannabinoids in this plant work in concert with the ECS to promote the homeostasis that we depend on to thrive.
Implementing cannabis into your holistic health regimen.
With cannabis we have so many consumption options, strain combinations and dosing strategies – things can get a little confusing!
Here are a few major aspects to always keep in mind if you want to get the most out of this plant.
1) Choosing a method of consumption
To get the highest degree of health benefits, try ditching the traditional method of smoking cannabis for more health-conscious alternatives, such as vaporizing, tinctures, topicals, and edibles.
Each method has its own effects and the more you can experiment the more you’ll find what works best for you.
Vaporizing cannabis can be great for beginners because the effects are almost immediate, which makes it easy to titrate your dosage levels.
2) Find your optimal dosage level
Everybody has a unique optimal dosage level with cannabis. Some people require higher doses, some require lower doses.
The important thing is to experiment and to be mindful about what works best for you.
The truth is people over-consume cannabis all the time, taking much more than their body needs. The outcomes of this are not fatal or physically threatening, but it can definitely get in the way of other parts of your life.
Taking too much cannabis over time can also minimize the benefits and impede productivity.
3) Know what cannabis you’re consuming
Ideally, you’ll know how and where your cannabis was grown. When buying cannabis from a dispensary, for example, you want to make sure that it’s a reputable establishment. And you want to ask plenty of questions about their lab testing practices.
Cannabis that has been grown and sold irresponsibly can potentially contain any number of contaminants such as mold, mildew, insects, pesticides, or dirt – none of these things are part of holistic health!
Different states have different regulations for lab-testing, some better than others. The important thing, again, is to ask questions.
And if you’re stuck with the traditional black-market mystery bag of cannabis thanks to prohibition, better to get out there and rock the vote.
In fact, all cannabis advocates need to vote, vote, vote.
4) Be mindful about how, why, and when you use cannabis.
If you’re using cannabis for your general wellbeing, it’s important to be mindful in your approach to the plant and to avoid misuse.
Always think about why you want to use cannabis and determine whether or not it will add value to the moment or current situation.
In other words, you always want to make sure you approach the cannabis experience with the right kind of mindset and in the right environment. This kind of intent is a big part of how you can tap into cannabis as a wellness supplement.
And, as cannabis entrepreneur, activist, and author Steve DeAngelo explains, mindful use of cannabis can provide under-appreciated wellness benefits, such as:
“…Extending patience, promoting gentleness and forgiveness, inspiring creativity, improving the appetite and enjoyment of food, making jokes funnier and sex more satisfying, enhancing our sense of play and wonder, and countless other ways of making us both healthier and happier.”
Considering these wellness benefits on a personal level, it’s clear that cannabis can also serve as a social wellness tool to foster deeper connections with family and friends, creating the grounds for healthier relationships and community.
Other practices that can benefit your health and wellness when combined with cannabis include but are not limited to:
- Nature Walks
- Gentle or Restorative Yoga
- Painting or doodling
- Good conversation
- Healthy diet
How do you use cannabis to enhance your life?
Maybe you use cannabis to address specific medical needs or maybe you use it to live a more holistic life.