Ah, the new year. A time for reinvention and rejuvenation. The gyms are full, the pubs are empty(ish), and the diets are on. But let’s face it – after a couple of weeks, most of us begin to struggle with maintaining the ideals of the “new me” over the long term. Thankfully, there might be something that could help make things a little easier – and a lot more interesting. Cannabis.
When you think of a healthy diet, a packed fitness regime, and an overall cleaner image, cannabis probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. After all, many of us have had years of exposure to the stereotype of the lazy stoner who loves nothing more than to lounge around on a sofa eating takeaway pizzas. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Join us as we take a look at some of the top ways to combine cannabis with your New Year’s health kick.
Munchies and edibles – but make it healthy
The festive season is filled with rich and opulent treats, from chocolate and cheese to potatoes and pâté. So, it’s understandable why eating more healthily is a common feature on many people’s list of resolutions. Of course, regular munchies-certified foods and cannabis edibles don’t tend to fit into this plan; unfortunately, Doritos (other crisps are available) and donuts are never going to be healthy (or at least not healthy and tasty), no matter which way you spin it. But there are some healthier alternatives you can try.
If in doubt, go back to the basics. Fruits like grapes, berries, and even the humble orange can bring an incredible burst of flavour if you’re looking for a healthy way to tackle the munchies. You can even try dipping them in chocolate for a slightly more luxurious snack (better make it dark chocolate though, eh?).
If you’re more of a savoury person, healthier options can be found for all the typical favourites. Switch out regular chips for sweet potato fries – an easy and delicious way to get one of your five a day! Or ditch the cheese or sour cream dips for hummus; better yet, get creative and adorn this chickpea staple with some of your favourite toppings to impress your friends with your munchies-ready fare!
But what about the humble cannabis edible? For decades, cakes and brownies have reigned supreme when it comes to these slow-burning treats. But that’s not to say that other options aren’t possible – and just as easy to make! The internet is jam-packed with healthy recipes, from weed-infused fruit and coconut popsicles to energy balls. And if you’re planning on making a batch of cannabutter, why not switch out full-fat butter for a healthier – or even plant-based – alternative?
Experience more than just a runner’s high
When it comes to getting fit for the new year, most people will buy some new workout clothes, sign up for a gym membership, and leave it at that. It’s extremely unlikely that many people consider the potential of cannabis in their new workout regime – after all, cannabis makes us tired, right? Well, maybe sometimes – but not always.
In fact, there is growing evidence to suggest that cannabis might actually be a great addition to your routine. For example, contrary to the “lazy stoner” stereotype that many of us grew up with, the majority of participating cannabis users (81.7%) in a 2019 survey by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder stated that they would endorse using cannabis concurrently with exercise. In fact, over two-thirds reported using cannabis within one hour of starting exercise and many said that weed makes their workouts more enjoyable. And to top it all off, cannabis users were also found to spend more minutes per week exercising than non-users.
It’s also important that “cannabis” doesn’t only include psychoactive products. The CBD wellness trend is still as strong as ever, with professional athletes and novice gym-goers alike exploring how this non-intoxicating cannabinoid could boost their fitness and recovery. Learn more about the potential benefits of combining cannabis with your workouts in our article, “Working out with weed – How does cannabis use affect exercise?”.
An aid for Dry January?
Finally, let’s discuss the potential role of cannabis in perhaps the most infamous of New Year’s resolutions. January is a time when many of us will be looking to cut back on the indulgences we allowed ourselves over the festive period – in particular, alcohol. But whether you are aiming to simply complete Dry January or are planning to make a broader reduction to your alcohol intake, this can be a tough habit to break. So, could weed help?
You may well have a friend (or friends) who will always opt for a joint over a pint – and they’re not the only ones. A survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that 18% of respondents in the US use cannabis as a substitute for other substances, including alcohol. But substitution isn’t the only way that cannabis could help you to cut back the units this New Year.
In recent years, the role of cannabis in addiction has become a growing area of research. Studies have aimed to assess how the plant and its derivatives could help people tackle all sorts of addictions, from gambling and smoking to – you guessed it – alcohol. While this research remains in its infancy, there have been some promising findings.
For example, the authors of one study, published in 2014, wrote that “results imply that those using medical cannabis may have had better treatment completion, employment and alcohol use outcomes compared with their non-medical cannabis using counterparts.” However, they also noted that much more evidence is required before clinicians can consider prescribing cannabis as a treatment for alcohol addiction.
Thankfully, most of us who are looking to reduce our alcohol intake don’t necessarily need to be concerned about addiction. For many of us, alcohol is a social tool that we use when meeting up with friends or new people to take the edge off, or to unwind after a stressful day. So, could cannabis products help with this, too? Maybe.
As mentioned earlier, CBD has become incredibly popular in the UK, with consumers embracing its many potential therapeutic benefits. In addition to being added to pre-workout formulations and recovery topicals, many people swear by its effects for relieving stress and anxiety. In fact, according to a recent survey, anxiety (42.6%) was the most common reason for CBD use among consumers in the UK, with stress coming in third (37%).
So, if you’re starting to struggle with some of the goals you set yourself for the new year, it might be time to take a different approach. Consider how your cannabis habit could be tweaked to better serve your lifestyle. Whether you’re trying to make the most out of that new gym membership or are trying to stick to a new diet, cannabis just might be able to help with your health kick.