Aug 17, 2017 12:23PM ● Published by Robyn Lawrence
Dr. Joseph Cohen, an osteopathic physician who integrates cannabis into his functional medicine practice in Boulder and Denver, says adaptogens do far more than most people realize because bringing the body to homeostasis protects the entire neuroendocrine system and the adrenal glands, where valuable hormones such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine are produced.
Cannabis is not officially an adaptogen (according to people who think officially), but it meets all the requirements: nontoxic, stress-reducing, balancing. “It does act like an adaptogenic herb because the cannabinoid system is all about homeostasis,” says integrative clinical nutritionist Laura Lagano, cofounder of the Holistic Cannabis Network, a training and education platform for holistic health practitioners.
More and more scholars and experts are agreeing with her—which is pretty amazing for a plant the federal government still considers a Schedule I drug. Medicine hunter and ethnobotanist Chris Kilham, who has been studying and advocating for adaptogens since the 1970s, is among them. “Cannabinoids regulate the cannabinoid system, and the cannabinoid system is a master regulating system of systems,” he says. “That implies all the balancing and harmonizing activities of an adaptogen.”
Kilham often drinks extracts of the adaptogens rhodiola and golden ginseng mixed with water when he consumes cannabis because he likes how they all work with each other to make him feel. “Rhodiola and ginseng in conjunction with cannabis is mental Windex,” he says. “It sharpens up everything.”
Kilham is also a longtime promoter of maca, a root plant from the Peruvian Andes that can increase energy, strength, and stamina and is especially good for women’s reproductive systems. Kilham’s wife, Zoe Helene, founder of progressive feminist advocacy group Cosmic Sister, has taken maca supplements several times over the years but would always stop because it made her so horny—an effect many people welcome.
“After about a week of taking maca, I feel like a 14- year-old dealing with her first lustful crush, and my husband travels a lot!” says Helene, who recently began taking maca again because nothing else works as well to relieve her perimenopause symptoms.
It’s worth it, she says. “I’ve just had to embrace the increased libido boost.”
FEEL GOOD FOOD
If you want to avoid shelling out the high prices these hot new products command, it’s easy enough to incorporate adaptogens into your home cooking. You can find edible forms, from fresh to powdered, of most adaptogenic herbs in natural products stores, Asian markets, and online.
The following recipes call for cannabis-infused coconut milk, which is great to have around for stirring into tea and coffee or splashing over fresh berries.
1/2 cup maca powder (available in natural products stores and online)1/2 cup cannabis-infused coconut milk2 tablespoons maple syrup2 cups ice1/4 teaspoon almond extract1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Green and Golden Coconut Milk Nightcap (Serves 1)
1/4 cup powdered ashwagandha root1/4 cup powdered schisandra berries1 cup rose petal powder1 teaspoon cinnamon1 teaspoon nutmeg1 cup cannabis-infused coconut milkMaple syrup or honey, to taste