Nutrition and the ECS
Cannabis as a Nutrient: Plant, Flower & Vegetable
Sunflowers, roses, and daisies all grow from the dirt, flower in the sun, and have leaves, seeds, and extracted oils that can be used for health and beauty — as does cannabis. Cannabis is categorized by botanists as a flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family, and is also a source of beneficial materials and compounds.
When mixed into salads, blended in smoothies, or sprinkled over dishes like any other herb, cannabis leaves will not create any intoxicating effects. In fact, raw cannabis is an incredibly nourishing source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which support our brain, heart, liver, skin, and other vital organs (Hjalmarsdottir). Cannabis also provides a wide array of helpful nutrients, fueling our bodies with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. Unlike other plants, it is a complete source of protein and also contains every essential amino acid (Consuming Raw Cannabis). Perhaps we are even selling cannabis short by comparing it to other, more socially accepted plant remedies. For the countless ways cannabis can nourish us, it truly stands apart.
The Endocannabinoid System and Nutrition
On a deeper level, knowledgeable cannabis consumption can potentially help our bodies repair themselves on a cellular level. We all have an endocannabinoid system, which is a network of chemical messengers throughout the body that promote homeostasis by helping us “relax, eat, sleep, forget, and protect” (McPartland et al). These messages are delivered by cannabinoids, either through endocannabinoids, which are produced internally, or phytocannabinoids which are introduced to the body through various forms of cannabis consumption. Formed from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, cannabinoids have been shown to “mediate significant effects in the fine-tune adjustment of body homeostasis,” playing a role in “appetite control, food intake, energy balance, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, mood disorders,” and the list continues (Freitas et al).
Not only does the cannabis plant provide an immense amount of nutrition when eaten raw, but the nutrients it does provide are the building blocks for one of the most important systems in our body. When we were told to eat our vegetables as children, we might have wrinkled our noses and grimaced at the green and leafy offerings. Perhaps as we continue to learn about the medicinal and healing elements found in the cannabis plant, we will finally reconsider.
Hércules Rezende Freitas, Alinny Rosendo Isaac, Renato Malcher-Lopes, Bruno Lourenço Diaz, Isis Hara Trevenzoli & Ricardo Augusto De Melo Reis (2017) Polyunsaturated fatty acids and endocannabinoids in health and disease, Nutritional Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1347373
Hjalmarsdottir, F. (2017, June 18). 17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3
McPartland, J. M., Guy, G. W., & Marzo, V. D. (2014). Care and Feeding of the Endocannabinoid System: A Systematic Review of Potential Clinical Interventions that Upregulate the Endocannabinoid System. PLoS ONE,9(3).
Top 8 Health Benefits of Consuming Raw Cannabis. (2017, February 27). Retrieved from https://unitedpatientsgroup.com/blog/2017/02/25/top-8-health-benefits-of-consuming-raw-cannabis/
This article was written by Kira Gresoski and published on October 10, 2018. Copyright © 2018 Hempsley, All Rights Reserved