Getting High? No, Getting Well
Were it not for the infamous high, cannabis would probably never have been made illegal. Both celebrated and maligned, the high accounts for a fair share of controversy. Yet without it, I am convinced its healing properties would be severely dimmed.
Why? Well, it all comes back to the entourage effect. Were you to take one of the plant’s key components, its efficacy will suffer. It certainly wouldn’t be as valuable or as vital of an industry if it couldn’t fulfill as many uses all at once.
At the Caladrius Network, which Medicine Box has donated product to in the past, we have seen how a restrictive, CBD-only regimen yields diminishing returns for the young, catastrophically ill patients this program treated. For some, THC is absolutely necessary for their healing alongside the other cannabinoids in the plant. Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, so one size or strain certainly doesn’t fit all.
Although cannabis doesn’t come with an instruction manual, we in the US are only just beginning to fully integrate the plant and its capabilities into our demanding lifestyles. It means a transition of our perception of that part of cannabis which gets us euphoric, giggly, happy, mellow, and lit. That’s why I like to think in terms of mindful consumption, rather than getting high, when it comes to achieving those heights. When you are focused on self-improvement rather than intoxication, it makes all the difference in whether that lifted feeling will heal or hurt you. That realization is the key difference between the cannabis cultures of yesterday and today.
How cannabis gets you high
Because there are so many different active compounds in cannabis, scientists are still pulling apart all the myriad ways in which it effects us, but obviously delta-9-tetrahydracannabinol, or THC, plays a foundational role. That’s because structurally, it closely resembles anandamide, a neurotransmitter which serves as an agonist for the CB1 receptors on and within our brain’s neurons. These receptors are found on neurons distributed wildely throughout our body – everywhere from the nucleus ammubens and the hippocampus to the neofrontal cortex and the amygdlia. When we flood our brain and its CB1 receptors with THC – and this happens pretty rapidly after we inhale cannabis smoke or vapor – we also set in motion a process which also increases the flow of dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine generally accounts for the pleasureable effects of cannabis. But because cannabis receptors are all over the body and brain, it accounts for many other effects as well.
Of course, THC is not the only molecule in the plant that can alter one’s mood. According to Medical Jane, there are over 200 of them, although most commercial varieties feature a handful of them. We here at Medicine Box are partial to myrcene, which in addition to having anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties also acts as a strong sedative – hence its appearance in many “couchlock” strains. A terpene like limonene also possesses potential as an anti-anxiolytic. All of these effects could add to your high, but at the same time, they are also steering you clear of mental maladies.
Can Medicine Box products get you high?
In short, they can get you high just as much as a meditation, physical activity or breathing exercise can. Of course, nobody thinks that they’re consuming a toxic substance when they’re working out. Still, plenty of people are now starting to mix cannabis with their workout routine, which suggests that with legalization, more people everyday are waking up to the connection between wellness and mindful cannabis consumption, and how one can reinforce the other.
The key to maintaining this successful relationship is balance. When we first started cultivating the plants that would go into our Equanimity tincture, yes, we desired potency, but we also aimed for a proper cannabinoid profile and terpene ratio which would elevate our product. In other words, we set our sights higher than the high. When we started on the R&D for this exploratory adventure, most of my peers couldn’t make sense of it. However, the business is beginning to recognize that we have to re-envision the high, and turn it into something that can reinvigorate people, rather than entrap them into a crippling dependency.
For me, a Corona with a lime will ALWAYS be the gateway drug, not weed, even though I was surrounded with both growing up. We all know by now that the Gateway Theory was fear-based propaganda designed to target marginalized cultures in America and feed our prison systems. Our society has to heal from so many horrible decisions it has made in the past, and one of the best places to start is revisioning the bliss cannabis can bestow. When one applies discipline and intention behind one’s cannabis practice, a practitioner can achieve optimal mental and physical wellness, I am certain. When it is used recklessly, it can harm its users in equal measure.
Following the passage of cannabis legalization in Illinois, Jolene Rivera of Kitchen Toke said to the Chicago Tribune: “It’s not about getting high; it’s about getting healthy.” We couldn’t agree more. While cannabis is not a one-size-fits-all wonderdrug, combined with other positive items in the holistic toolbox such as mindfulness, proper diet and community, cannabis can dramatically increase one’s quality of life. Every day, I am seeing more and more people giving up alcohol just for the sake of living a happier and healthier lifestyle. Some of these people are even replacing it for cannabis. This tells me that their shift towards cannabis indicates a move towards a better quality of life, and what we know of as cannabis’s high is really a bridge towards their greater well-being. This makes me HAPPY.
So, now that we’re past the history, let’s move towards the high of the cannabis plant. Obviously, this is the sticking point with a lot of people when it comes to this plant of ours. Plus, it’s also a good opportunity to talk about our intersection with it, so let’s get started:
First off, do any of our products get you high? If you could remove the high from the product, would you?