A recent bill to legalize CBD and other non-psychoactive ingredients of the cannabis plant for the use in food and dietary supplements introduced in the US Senate is just one of a landslide of initiatives that have put the hitherto demonized marijuana and its harmless cousin, hemp, into the mainstream.
The bill also highlights the fact that more and more US citizens and in fact people around the world make the plant a part of their diet. Let us briefly survey the various ways in which this natural medicine and wellness product can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body mass and contribute to your general well-being.
Blood Sugar, Body Mass, and Waist Circumference
Let’s start with the effects of the psychoactive form of medical marijuana—the one that is full of THC, produces the so-called ‘high’ in users, and more often than not is consumed by smoking.
Though a persistent stereotype pictures pot smokers as lazy couch-potatoes constantly stuffing their face with junk food, epidemiologic studies have found that marijuana users have lower prevalence of obesity and diabetes than the general population. Probably there is a link between the regular recreational use of the substance and peripheral metabolic processes. A large-scale survey of 4657 adult men and women has found that “marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, and smaller waist circumference”.
But before you decide that a visit to your local dispensary is the best way to treat or prevent diabetes and overweight, check out the study that suggests there is a double risk of a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, for marijuana smokers with type 1 (not type 2) diabetes.
Eating Raw Hemp Leaves
Hemp is probably the fastest growing plant of the temperate zone and quickly produces a lot of foliage that can be eaten raw. The reason to do this is that hemp leaves contain some of the essential minerals (magnesium, iron), vitamins (C & K), as well as lots of fiber and protein.
You can add raw hemp leaves to salads or make smoothies out of them. The question is where to get fresh hemp leaves?
You may well find that all the ditch weed in your area has long been eradicated and both cannabis and hemp are in fact an endangered species. Luckily, there are companies, such as FastBuds, that sell cannabis seeds online and ship them worldwide. And since you don’t need a high-THC variety to receive health benefits from eating your plants raw, you can purchase a strain that is rich in CBD and, arguably, get even more perks from consuming it.
CBD as Dietary Supplement
For those who missed all the buzz, CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of several dozens of chemical compounds produced by both hemp and marijuana varieties of the cannabis plant. In recent years, this substance has become hugely popular, especially in the United States. The reason is that in contrast to many other cannabis-specific chemicals, cannabinoids, CBD does not produce any mind-altering or mood-enhancing effects.
At the same time, CBD binds to receptors of the so-called endocannabinoid system in the human body and thus is capable of exerting various effects on your health and well-being. In particular, CBD acts on type II cannabinoid receptors (CB2) which are found throughout the body but are most numerous in the gut.
Studies have shown that cannabidiol can reduce pain and inflammation in patients with arthritis and multiple sclerosis, reduce anxiety and depression, treat insomnia and other sleep disorders (mostly by gently calming the patient).
Since the substance is not psychoactive, well-tolerated, and has no significant side effects, people use it for a large variety of other conditions and symptoms, such as heart diseases, cancer, drug addiction—the list goes on and one. CBD is also a popular wellness-enhancer.
Recently, this compound has been extensively studied, and there is even one FDA-approved medicine, Epidiolex, which is basically a CBD oil.
CBD is unregulated in the US and is sold in the form of oils, tinctures, capsules, drops, etc. It is also added to balms, creams, and other skin-care products and cosmetics. One study found that CBD can reduce the activity of sebaceous gland cells and thus can prevent or treat acne if applied topically.
Hemp Seeds, a Superfood
And don’t forget about hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts. They have been consumed by humans for thousands of years. Hemp seeds are incredibly nutritious and have a chemical composition that seems perfectly tailored to exactly what our organisms need in terms of proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Gluten-free and lectin-free, these seeds can be a part of any healthy diet and help you prevent or treat a wide spectrum of diseases—from skin conditions to heart problems to digestive disorders.