Tuesday September 20, 2016
When discussing the medical benefits of marijuana, people often tout specific ailments that can be treated with cannabis therapy – epilepsy, sleep disorders, depression, chronic pain, PTSD and cancer, for example. Often we overlook cannabis’ powerful role in holistic wellness. Though cannabis has been used holistically throughout history, our recent obsession with “band-aid” medicine (practices designed to “fix” a problem instead of prevent it) has turned our focus away from whole-body wellness in exchange for a “live fast” attitude. But cannabis can be used for so much more than a “quick fix” to what ails you. When used in conjunction with a holistic lifestyle, cannabis may help prevent illnesses before they start.
What is Holistic Wellness?
Holistic wellness is more of a lifestyle than a form of therapy. It promotes whole-body wellness by addressing all aspects of a person including their physical, emotional and spiritual health. The idea behind this practice is that when one area of the person suffers, other areas become thrown off balance. For example, prolonged stress at work can cause physical pain and an inability to sleep in many people. Likewise, chronic medical conditions can lead to depression and sleep disturbances. By promoting wellness in all areas of a person’s life, the body is better able to both prevent and adapt to unforeseen changes.
Cannabis and Holistic Wellness
In the early 1990’s, researcher Lisa Matsuda announced that she and her colleagues had discovered receptors throughout the brain and body which fit THC and other cannabinoids perfectly. Termed the Endocannabinoid System, this series of receptors has been shown to effect on all major organs throughout the body – from the skin to the brain and almost everything in between – with a sole function of maintaining homeostasis. Though the body produces its own endocannabinoids to help mediate functions within the body, the fact that phytocannabinoids can interact with these same receptors means that an imbalance of endocannabinoids can be supplemented with cannabis.
According to an article published in PubMed, “One of the most exciting and promising areas of current cannabinoid research is the ability of these compounds to control the cell survival/death decision” by promoting cellular proliferation in some cases and inducing cellular apoptosis (programmed cell death) in others. Essentially, cannabinoids have been shown to target and destroy cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones untouched. In other words: cannabinoids promote homeostasis – or balance – within the body.
Cannabis can promote balance in other areas of life, too. Rastafarians, for example, consume cannabis ritualistically to promote community and open-mindedness. Others may use it to bust the blues and get motivated for the day or de-stress and wind down come evening time.
Incorporating Cannabis in a Holistic Wellness Lifestyle
If you’d like to use cannabis to promote whole-self wellness, consider the following activities:
- Take a class: Research suggests that continued education improves cognitive ability well into adulthood. Moreover, active learning may postpone or prevent cognitive decline later in life. Throw cannabis into the mix for an added brain boost thanks to its ability to both promote creativity and treat Alzheimer’s Disease. There are many cannabis cultivation and art classes to choose from in Colorado; Oregon offers a cannabis painting class and Washington has a glassblowing class.
- Invest in a spa day: Stress can lead to a number of health problems – heart disease, obesity, depression or migraines for example – which means that de-stressing should be a regular part of a holistic wellness lifestyle, too. For the ultimate spa experience, try a cannabis-infused massage to relax the muscles, rejuvenate the skin and reduce imperfections. Little Amsterdam PDX is Oregon’s only cannabis massage and acupuncture service while Colorado features a number of cannabis spa packages.
- Practice Yoga: Yoga has been shown to improve the body’s ability to interpret nerve signals thus bringing peace to the mind and fluidity to the body. Cannabis-infused yoga classes expand on this by opening the mind and drawing focus to both internal and external stressors thus helping dissipate stress. Try Twister Sister Yoga in Colorado to see for yourself.
Cannabis’ potential is astounding. From mediating pain to improving demeanor, cannabis can help improve all areas of life.
Do you think cannabis should be part of a holistic lifestyle?
Photo Credit: graceie