Helpful tips to stay healthy during the winter

Helpful tips to stay healthy during the winter

The cold winter months can definitely bring down our mood and make us feel groggy. Here are a few tips to maintain energy and wellness!

As the temperature drops and the sun makes less of an appearance, many of us are finding it harder to maintain our healthy habits. During winter months, people often experience extra stress and sadness from factors such as unwanted weight gain or Vitamin D deficiency. However, with a few lifestyle changes, a bit of planning, and some positivity, we can fight back against the seasonal mood slumps. We’ve compiled a few easy tips to ensure that you remain healthy and happy throughout the season!

Practice positive thinking

Many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that can occur during the darker and colder months. To combat these negative feelings, it’s important to practice positive thinking. When faced with challenging situations, try to focus on the good in your life and practice gratitude. Think of people, moments, or activities that bring you comfort and happiness, and make sure to surround yourself with positive people. In fact, studies have linked positive psychological attributes like optimism to a lower risk of poor health outcomes, especially cardiovascular disease.

Make an effort to exercise

Don’t let the poor weather put you off from your exercise routine. Although going outside may not seem appealing during the winter months, physical activity is extremely beneficial for your mental and physiological health. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins, which are hormones that increase feelings of happiness. Furthermore, regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can better fight off illnesses. This becomes especially important in the winter when the flu and other contagions are more prominent.

Increase your vitamin D intake

With shorter days and less sunlight, getting enough vitamin D can be a challenge in the wintertime. But what is vitamin D, and why should we care? Simply put, vitamin D is a critical nutrient that helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, which is essential for bone health and growth. Also, laboratory studies suggest that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections, and reduce inflammation. The easiest way to obtain vitamin D is from exposure of bare skin to sunlight. During the summer, a short exposure of 10-15 minutes will get you plenty of vitamin D. But as many of us are spending less time outdoors in the winter, it’s important to find other ways to help meet our vitamin D requirements. Fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon can be great food sources that provide vitamin D. Cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms are also popular options!

Eat right

Did you know that it’s especially common for people to eat more during the winter? Whether it’s because of the holidays, or because you’re craving heavy, rich foods to stay warm, many of us have probably gained some weight this winter season. But being overweight or underweight can drastically affect your energy levels and leave you feeling lethargic. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet that can help boost your energy levels, improve sleep quality, and regulate other critical bodily functions. Base your meals on high-fiber, starchy carbohydrates that can help you feel full for longer and make sure include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Try making a conscious effort to cut down on saturated fat and sugary foods. These unhealthy ingredients can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood and intensify your risk of developing heart disease.

Incorporate CBD into your routine

CBD can be a great way to boost your immune system, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and treat dry and inflamed skin during the winter. A good quality CBD oil works with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help initiate a physiological response and regulate hormone-related issues. The ECS influences several biological functions, such as anxiety, learning and memory, reproduction, metabolism, mood, and more. It can even support your immune health, which is necessary for protecting against common illnesses like flus and colds. Furthermore, CBD topicals are known to be highly effective in treating various skin conditions by reducing inflammation. When applied topically, it can moisturize and soothe your skin to avoid dryness in the winter!

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How to Maximize the Benefits of CBD

How to Maximize the Benefits of CBD

Why isn’t CBD working for me?

It’s not uncommon for first-time users to feel like CBD isn’t working for them. People will spend a good amount of money on high-quality, lab-tested CBD oil, only to feel disappointed when they don’t experience instant therapeutic results. And the lack of results can lead some to give up quickly and declare that CBD oil doesn’t work.

So what happened? Was the product a scam?

If you’ve tried CBD oil without obvious results, you’re not the only one—and it certainly doesn’t mean that the whole CBD industry is a scam. As research into CBD continues to reveal more and more of its remarkable health benefits, it may be helpful to learn about some of the strategies you can employ to maximize those benefits as efficiently as possible.

An overview of CBD

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, CBD does not produce a “high”. This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking for a natural remedy without the mild-altering effects of other pharmaceutical drugs.

CBD has been touted for its many health benefits, and is commonly used for ailments such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammation
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
 

Tips for maximizing the effects of CBD oil

  1. Choose the right brand and read the label

Selecting high quality products from a reputable brand is key to improving your experience with CBD. Purchase CBD oil only from an official seller and remember to check the THC content. A reputable manufacturer will tell you how much CBD you’re getting right on the label. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to research how the brand extracts their CBD oil. For example, CO2 extraction requires expensive equipment and a more complex refinement process but guarantees the purity of the oil throughout the process. With a higher quality oil, you’re much more likely to start feeling the effects of CBD.

 
  1. Find your optimal dose

Taking too much or too little CBD is a common mistake for beginners. When you’re first starting out, it’s important to experiment and find your optimal dose. Individual body weight, body chemistry, and medical conditions are all variables that go into deciding how much CBD to take and how it will affect you. Generally, it’s best practice to start low and go slow.

Note: Before trying CBD, it’s also a good idea to get professional advice from a doctor.

  1. Use the right delivery method

There are many ways to consume CBD, including edibles, topical creams, capsules, vapes, and more. Keep in mind that your experience with CBD is heavily influenced by method of consumption. Edibles such as gummies are a simple and delicious way to ingest CBD, but because the chemical needs to pass through your digestive system, it may take longer to show results. If you feel like CBD oil isn’t working for you, try experimenting with different delivery methods.

Consumption Method When Effects Could Begin How Long Effects Could Last
Inhalation (Smoking, Vaping) A few seconds to minutes Up to 6 hours
Edibles (Food, Capsules) 30 to 90 minutes Up to 12 hours
Sublingual (Under the Tongue) 5 to 30 minutes Up to 12 hours
 

*Note that some effects could last up to 24 hours

 
  1. Combine healthy habits with CBD

Many people are interested in CBD to improve their health.  However, if you’re looking to maximize its effects, it’s a good idea to change some of your lifestyle habits as well. For example, using CBD after a workout may produce more obvious results. When you exercise, your body produces increased blood flow, which will help deliver the CBD throughout your system. Furthermore, CBD can be beneficial for people who are recovering after a workout. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help manage pain, allowing for mental clarity and better sleep.

 
  1. Consume CBD with fatty acids

Oral consumption is one of the easiest and most popular ways to consume CBD. However, because the CBD must pass through the lengthy digestive tract to reach the liver, the effects of the oil may take longer to work with this method. One way to enhance the effectiveness of oral consumption is by taking it with fatty acids. According to results from this study, fatty acids act as binding agents for cannabinoids like CBD. Therefore, when taken together, the fatty acids can protect the CBD oil from being broken down by certain enzymes in the liver. This results in a higher concentration of CBD being able to pass through the body, increasing effectiveness and efficiency. Some foods that are rich in fatty acids include fish, eggs, avocado, nuts, and lean protein.

 
Conclusion

Many people expect instant results when they first start taking CBD oil. However, a better approach is to adopt realistic expectations and to do your research. Everyone’s body and system is unique, and no one reacts to CBD oil exactly the same way. As such, understanding the different variables that can affect your experience with CBD is critical when you’re starting out. Continue to experiment and consult your doctor for more insights!

How NOT to Smoke Cannabis: Pros and Cons of Smokeless Marijuana Options

How NOT to Smoke Cannabis: Pros and Cons of Smokeless Marijuana Options

Have you heard? Smoking cannabis isn’t the only option! Check out these smoke-free alternatives and discover which one is best for you.

We’ve all heard whispers about the benefits of cannabis consumption. In the last few years, cannabis has exploded into the market and changed the way we view and approach medicine and wellness. As an alternative medicine, extensive research has found that cannabis can be helpful in easing numerous ailments, from stress to pain to insomnia. But can we really experience these benefits from smoking marijuana? Or are smokeless options the way to go?

For many, marijuana continues to be synonymous with smoking a joint. While this method of consumption may produce benefits for many people, it can be extremely inhibitive and harmful. Smoke inhalation can agitate the lungs, the smell can cause headaches, and there are numerous negative long-term health effects of frequent cannabis smoking. Luckily, smoking marijuana is not the only way to benefit from its use.

Numerous smokeless options have been developed and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. Check out these three options that you can try instead of smoking!

 

Edibles

Edibles refer to any food product infused with cannabinoids (the chemical compounds found in marijuana). The history of edibles is a very long one, with historians dating it back to 1500 BCE in India. There, a drink was made that combined marijuana buds and leaves with ghee and spices. Today, edibles have become one of the more popular methods of consuming cannabinoids and people have started to get very creative with it. Edibles are available as baked goods, candies, and even as savoury options such as pasta sauces and spice blends. There are countless ready-made edibles as well as make-it-yourself recipes available online.

Pros

  • Inconspicuous – if you’re trying to be subtle, edibles are your best bet! They are commonly ‘disguised’ as common food items and are mostly odourless. This also makes it possible to be discreet when consuming in public spaces or when storing the product at home.
  • Long-lasting effects – the main difference between ingesting marijuana and smoking it is the length of time it takes for you to feel the effects. Smoking marijuana gives you an almost instant high that lasts for a much shorter period than an edible high. Depending on your purpose, the longer lasting high can be more beneficial. This option can be most valuable for those suffering from insomnia, as the longer high allows the body to stay relaxed for a longer period of time.
  • No other side effects – Smoking marijuana affects people differently. Some common side effects include dry mouth and skin, itchy eyes, and throat irritations. These are not as common when using edibles responsibly.

Cons

  • Delayed high – As edibles need to be digested by your body, it can take a up to a few hours from when you eat it, to when you feel it. Inexperienced users tend to consume more in this time as they think their initial dose was not enough. This leads to the discomforts and dangers of overconsumption.
  • Hard to measure potency – edibles are notorious for having an inconsistent potency. It is much harder to have an exact amount per unit of edible, especially when making a large batch. This can lead to over-dosing.
  • Long lasting effects– although this can be positive, the long-lasting effects might become an issue depending on the user and his/her intention. As the high can last for several hours, making sure you have enough time to ride it out is essential for a pleasant experience.

 

Vaping

Vaping is one of the newest methods of marijuana consumption that has become extensively available on the market and comes with an array of controversy. Vaping is the process of heating up the product to a temperature that releases the chemical compounds as vapor. Most vaping devices heat the product to a temperature just below combustion, eliminating the need to inhale smoke. Some sources say it is a healthier alternative to smoking due to the lack of smoke and tar entering the lungs while others tout the dangers related to vaping cannabis products. Since e-cigarettes hit the North American market in 2006/2007, a lot of funds have been put into researching the long term effects of vaping nicotine. As marijuana was not legalized until 2018, the same research has not yet been conducted on the potential dangers of vaping cannabis products.

Pros

  • Potentially healthier than smoking – the theory behind this is that vaping reduces the amount of smoke, tar, and other carcinogens entering your lungs while still delivering the benefits of cannabis.
  • Subtle – like edibles, the vaping of cannabis products is a lot more subtle than smoking as the smell is significantly less powerful.
  • Dosage control – using a vape to consume cannabinoids can ensure more accurate dosages than edibles.

Cons

  • Potentially harmful – due to the lack of research surrounding vaping cannabis products, it is still unknown if this method is a significantly healthier alternative or not.
  • Initial cost – as vaping requires a vaporizer, the initial cost of vaping can be steep. Products come in a range of prices with different characteristics depending on what you are looking for. Research is recommended before buying a vaporizer or vape pen.
  • Learning curve – to receive the full benefits for your specific needs, learning to vape can take some time and research. There is no “one-size fits all” measurement.

 

CBD Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main chemical compounds found in marijuana. It is excellent for pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory. CBD oil is created using certain strains of cannabis that have been bred for a high CBD level. These oils do not contain the chemical compound THC, which is responsible for the psycho-active effects that many cannabis users desire. For this reason, many people who are interested in cannabis solely as an alternative medicine choose CBD oil.

Pros

  • Little to no THC – if you are looking to consume cannabis for medicinal purposes only, CBD oil will eliminate the psycho-active and potentially hazardous effects of other options and deliver only the beneficial properties.
  • Convenient – As CBD oil comes in a small, discreet bottle, it is easy to travel with and have available while on the go. It is also tasteless and odourless, making dosing very easy.
  • Dosage accuracy – Once you figure out the right dosage for your needs, it’s easy to keep dosages consistent with each use.
  • Small dosages – as CBD oil is a concentrate of the chemical compound, small amounts are needed to get the desired medicinal effects.

Cons

  • Delayed effects – As the oil can take a little bit of time to enter your bloodstream, the effects will not be as immediate as inhalation.
  • Learning curve – Not all people react to dosages and alternative medicines in the same way. It may require some experimentation to find the dosage that suits your body and provides the desired effects.

CBD Could Help Boost Your Immune System

CBD Could Help Boost Your Immune System

Every day, we encounter foreign microbes, bacteria, and viruses as we go about our daily routines. However, thanks to our hardworking immune systems, we can keep these dangerous pathogens at bay and remain healthy. A normal, functioning immune system is made up of white blood cells or leukocytes, which detect and destroy any unwanted microbes in our bodies. It’s a delicate balancing act that relies on constant communication between our immune cells, tissues, and organs— which is why it is extremely important to maintain our immune health.

As cannabidiol (CBD) continues to gain popularity for its amazing health benefits, researchers are now looking into how this amazing substance can be beneficial for our immune systems. Keep reading to learn more about CBD and its relationship with the immune system!

It starts with the endocannabinoid system

Understanding the effects of CBD begins with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex biological system in the human body. Today, experts know that it impacts several major processes, including appetite, sleep, mood, and memory. Endocannabinoid receptors are expressed throughout the central nervous system and in the human immune system. Because the ECS is known to play an important role in regulating immunity, researchers are now looking into CBD and its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. Integrating hemp products as a supplement can be greatly beneficial for your immune health, and here’s why:

1. Increase your endocannabinoid count
The ECS is a key component of your immune system. As mentioned in our previous blog, consuming CBD oil allows your body to boost its internal endocannabinoid count. With more cannabinoids available, the ECS can do a better job of balancing your inner functions and achieving homeostasis.

2. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties
Much of the immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract, where trillions of gut microbes and other critical organisms are found. Research indicates that there is a direct link to gut health and your immune system— as such, excessive inflammation in the gut can lead to an impaired intestinal immune response. With its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can be a great supplement that helps keep your gut in a healthy and balanced state.

3. CBD is an immunosuppressant and immunomodulator
Research shows that CBD and other properties of cannabis can influence your immune system. This includes acting as an immunosuppressant and an immunomodulator, which means that CBD suppresses the functions of your body’s immune system and keeps it active when underperforming. Therefore, CBD can be especially helpful for those who suffer from an overactive immune system.

4. CBD and autoimmune diseases
An autoimmune disease is when your immune system does not work properly. Some examples of autoimmune diseases include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and more. Instead of attacking foreign microbes and antigens, your immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. These harmful attacks can occur throughout the body, resulting in weakening body functions and, in some cases, life-threatening conditions. However, research has shown that CBD can be an excellent treatment for people with autoimmune diseases. According to a patient who suffers from Lupus, an autoimmune condition, CBD oil had been an effective part of their healing protocol.

Inflammation plays an important role in autoimmune diseases. As an anti-inflammatory, CBD shows a lot of promise as a potential treatment. Due to its wide range of potential benefits, including relief for stress, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, pain, and inflammation, many researchers and healthcare professionals are starting to recommend CBD. However, understanding what CBD does in the body is the first step to responsible usage.

Although it is a relatively new field of study, CBD is proven to be a safe and viable form of treatment. Unlike marijuana, CBD has no psychoactive effects. If you’re still wondering whether CBD is right for you, please don’t hesitate to contact your family doctor or physician for more information.

Growing Pains: Exciting Opportunities for Turning Marijuana into a Sustainable Industry

Growing Pains: Exciting Opportunities for Turning Marijuana into a Sustainable Industry

Did you know that the conventional growing operation of marijuana is not the most sustainable option?

Indoor marijuana grow-ops are the norm, and for good reason.

When the quality of marijuana products must remain consistent and indisputable, the certainty and convenience that a controlled indoor space provides is ideal.

What many marijuana growers – and consumers – don’t consider is the fact that maintaining a climate-controlled indoor grow-op comes with significant environmental costs. To produce high-quality weed, cannabis plants require adequate lighting, consistent moisture, as well as proper humidity and nutrition based on the plant’s growth stage. To create the ideal climate throughout the plant’s lifespan, energy and water requirements are extremely high. A study published in the Energy Policy Journal found that legal marijuana operations accounted for the equivalent of 1% of America’s total energy usage. The same study also found that these operations produced 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This is the equivalent of operating 3 million cars.

With the legalization of marijuana across Canada, these numbers are expected to rise. It’s not all bad news though! With sustainability becoming a trend across many major industries, the cannabis sector has a unique opportunity. As a new large-scale industry in Canada, tried-and-true methods of production have not yet been established. This gives growers the opportunity to experiment not only with newer, more efficient equipment, but also with more sustainable practices.

Two of the biggest obstacles that sustainable marijuana production faces are energy consumption and water usage. We’ve done the research and found a couple of ways that Canadian growers can lessen their impact on the environment – without sacrificing the quality of their crops!

Energy Consumption

Cannabis plants require between 12 and 24 hours of adequate lighting a day, depending on their stage of growth. High-pressure sodium bulbs have been used historically and are still the norm across this industry. According to a study conducted by the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), Ontario’s cannabis-growing business is expecting to see a 1,250% increase in energy use within the next five years.

But it’s not too late to reverse these numbers. Converting to LED lighting can reduce energy usage by up to 50%. The problem? LED lights are not cheap.

As an alternative, many companies are turning towards reusable energy sources such as solar and wind. A farmer in Oregon purchased his energy from a local wind farm. In doing so, he not only saved money but also prevented over 373,000 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

Sun-grown marijuana is another option that growers should consider to reduce their energy consumption. Tantalus Labs, a licensed marijuana grower in B.C., has been experimenting with the natural energy input from the sun. Tantalus has established greenhouses with translucent walls and ceilings to allow natural sunlight to fuel their plants, while maintaining the ability to fully control other climate factors.

Water Usage

A single cannabis plant, grown between the months of June and October, consumes roughly 22 litres of water a day. If you multiply this by the thousands of plants grown by commercial operations, it is clear that water usage is a huge environmental concern. THC Design, a cultivation company in California, turned to closed-loop aquaponics to lessen their water usage. A closed-loop system is a method of production in which all inputs are treated and put through the system repeatedly. In this way, natural resources such as water are conserved.

Other companies are collecting the water from their air conditioners and dehumidifiers for plant hydration. Trail Blazin’, a grower located in Washington, found this method reduced their water consumption by 90%. Collecting rainwater also has its merits in water conservation. Multiple growers in B.C. have turned to using rainwater exclusively in their cultivation practices. As rainwater is not treated with chlorine and fluoride, these growers actually prefer it to conventional irrigation.

What’s the takeaway?

Marijuana operations have a lot of potential when it comes to sustainability. Energy and water consumption are the biggest factors contributing to the large carbon footprint of most cultivators. However, these are also areas in which many growers are already finding new ways of improving their operations.

Given that the cannabis sector in Canada is still relatively young, it has the unique opportunity of being branded as a sustainable industry. Let’s take this opportunity and change the industry for the better.