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Should you be adding cannabis to your next cleanse?


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When it comes to wellness, pot is hot. It’s making guest appearances in skin-care formulations, PMS remedies, topical pain relievers—and now, even cleanses.

Okay, so cannabis-fueled detoxes haven’t exactly gone mainstream yet, but a group of marijuana advocates hopes that won’t be the case for long, having recently laid out their manifesto in the new e-book Coming Clean with Cannabis: A New Kind of Cannabis Cleanse.

Cannabis CleanseWe know what you’re thinking—aren’t detoxes meant to undo the effects of too many mind-altering substances (and the foods you eat when you’re on them)? While this is widely considered to be true, authors Jane West and Kristen Williams argue that cannabis can actually help our bodies achieve homeostasis, making it an unexpected complement to a cleanse (in states where it’s legal, of course).

“Cannabis enhances the endocannabinoid system, which keeps our bodies in a balanced state,” explains Williams. (Science confirms this—studies have shown the endocannabinoid system plays a huge role in regulating stress, sleep,  immunity, and even gut health.)

Here’s how it works, according to Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., who is a biochemist and the founder of The Institute for Functional Medicine and the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute: “Our bodies have these receptors that sit on the surface of virtually every cell in our bodies, including the lungs and intestinal tract,” he said during his recent keynote address for the Holistic Cannabis Summit (yes, there’s now a conference dedicated to all things medical marijuana). “There are many hundreds that have been identified, and a certain class of these is called the endocannabinoid receptors. Different parts of [cannabis] molecules…signal unique messages [to these receptors] that [create] adaptogenic effects, meaning if the body is functioning too much, it pulls that function down, or if the body isn’t functioning enough, it pulls the function up, [resulting in] homeostasis.”

What does a cannabis-fueled detox really look like? The Coming Clean with Cannabis process is supremely laid-back (no surprises there?): Its authors don’t spell out exactly what to eat or when, nor do they specify how much cannabis you should be ingesting, since they argue that everyone’s needs are different. (We consider the lack of dosage guidance to be a major downfall—especially for those who don’t consume weed on the regular.)

Instead, West and Williams simply advocate ditching processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and take-out in favor of whole-food cooking at home, spotlighting several pot-infused, nutritionist-backed recipes from The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook (think a ganja green detox juice and a salad with cannabis-curry vinaigrette). Yoga, exercise, and journaling are also part of the seven-day plan, which the authors recommend supplementing with vaping or homemade, non-processed edibles. (If you live in Oakland, CA, or Washington, DC, you could also order some green juice from High Speed Delivery, a start-up that “gifts” weed with every order.)

Needless to say, MDs probably won’t be recommending this approach to their patients any time soon—in fact, I reached out to several of them for this story, but none responded to my request for comment. Everyone’s body reacts differently to cannabis, so I can only speak for myself when I say that a cleanse probably wouldn’t be the ideal time to introduce any new psychoactive remedies into my life (especially ones that cause the munchies). But there’s no doubt that this idea will get people buzzing—in more ways than one.

Whether or not cannabis is your thing, you can definitely benefit from this day of cleansing recipes or a swig of this cult-fave detox drink. (Even though you’re probably detoxing on the daily without even knowing it). 

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