Vitamin Weed? How Small, Daily Doses Of Cannabis Could Unlock Optimum Health
A while back a friend and I got into a bit of a debate about marijuana “tolerance breaks.” He and I are both heavy users who enjoy high-potency cannabis concentrates and he was advocating complete cold-turkey cessation for multiple days in order to reduce tolerance and more easily feel the effects. He insisted they were necessary while I balked at the notion that anyone would ever stop using cannabis for any reason.
My reaction was partially rooted in my long-time recreational cannabis use and love of civil disobedience. It was also due to my subjective experience as someone who likely suffers from something called clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.
The chemical compounds produced by cannabis that cause the “high,” (phytocannabinoids) actually mimic chemical compounds our bodies already produce, use and need to regulate essential functions. These are functions like pain, mood, digestion, appetite, inflammation and sleep. Some of these cannabinoids are already pretty well known — ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), for example. Phytocannabinoids work on the same receptors and perform similar functions to endogenous cannabinoids (or cannabinoids that naturally exist in the human brain). For instance, THC works on the same receptors and performs similar functions to anandamide, which can be produced by rigorous exercise and is the compound responsible for the “runner’s high.”
So cannabinoid deficiency is real, meaning some people actually need to ingest cannabis to feel healthy. Although marijuana is not technically a vitamin, there could be enormous potential gained by even healthy people consuming small amounts of cannabis semi-regularly like a vitamin. On the other hand, it turns out too much of a good thing does come at a small cost to the person who uses too much.