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Weed: The Latest Wellness Trend?

September 25, 2017

By Lisa Elaine Held

Wellness experts are seriously buzzing over marijuana (sorry). If you’ve been wondering whether this is yet another passing trend, or if pot is here to stay among athletes, yogis and other wellness influencers, read on: We spoke to experts immersed in the convergence of health and cannabis and got the lowdown.

“The plant is so unique, and in terms of the benefits it provides, we’re just beginning to scratch the surface—from things like sleep and pain that are more related to quality of life, to more serious health issues,” says Samantha Miller, chief scientific officer at Hmbldt, a Northern California company that makes vaporizer “dose pens” in different formulations for effects like “calm,” “sleep,” and “arouse.” Products like Hmbldt’s are also making cannabis accessible to a wider health-conscious audience by taking smoking out of the equation and providing carefully measured doses of marijuana with targeted purposes.

“There are entire groups of conditions that cannabis is useful in treating,” says David Bearman, MD, who prescribes medical marijuana in California.

To be clear: Cannabis is made up of two main components, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it will not get you high. THC, which produces the high, interacts with the body in a different way. Each has therapeutic benefits. If you plan to partake, be sure to do so legally. Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, and recreational use is permitted in eight states (plus Washington D.C.), with some restrictions.

Some professional skiers and snowboarders have credited cannabis with enhancing their training, while some ultra marathoners and body builders use it to run longer and lift heavier. Amy Dilullo has a degree in exercise science and an Instagram account dedicated to her pot-fueled gym pursuits, (she’s also the VP of business development and sales for Willie’s Reserve). She says she uses it to focus during weight lifting and to relieve muscle soreness and fatigue. “Having cannabis helps you push through the end of that set and complete and enhance your workout,” she says.

People doing yoga

Some yogis are also bringing marijuana onto their mats, claiming it helps practitioners release stress and anxiety to focus more squarely on their breath and movement. Dee Dussault, author of Ganja Yoga, integrates it into her yoga classes in San Francisco. Bend & Blaze Yoga in Denver also offers the option of incorporating weed into classes.

A 2015 review of the research on cannabis and exercise science noted that weed is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency because it may enhance performance—though the report noted that there’s little evidence to support claims yet, and that more research is necessary to evaluate anecdotal reports.

Pot’s in the pot in some healthy kitchens, too. In the cookbook Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis, recipes for black-bean dip, Thai shrimp salad, butternut squash soup and more incorporate cannabis.

You can eat chocolates infused with CBD made by trendy health food delivery company Sakara, which promises “feelings of bliss and relaxation.” Or mix Aceso’s powder CBD supplements into your water or smoothie for “energy, wellness, and mood stability.”

There are also other products that incorporate CBD, such as body balm, breath spray and infused honey. All offer some of CBD’s benefits, including pain relief, reduction of inflammation and easing of anxiety, but will not get you high.

There’s even a Cannabis Cleanse, which is about cleansing with cannabis, not cleansing your body of it. Cleanse creator Jane West says she designed the cleanse after years of trying to lose weight with various diets. When marijuana became legal in Colorado, she replaced a lot of her alcohol consumption with marijuana and realized how much drinking affected her weight.

“What I wanted to do is help articulate that if you cut out alcohol and introduce cannabis for seven to 30 days, you’re going to see noticeable change, and here’s one way to do it,” she says. “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle choice…about listening to your body and abiding by your body’s requests and giving your body what it needs.”

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