The organ that keeps itself sick


Posted by in May's Magazine

People assume that I use a lot of cannabis, and they’re probably right. Says, rather startlingly, Dan Collins, read on

From the minute I wake up until I go to bed I’m on the clock, work 6 days a week, even my day off is often interrupted by business. I’m not complaining, in fact I love it, but this kind of lifestyle has one major side effect, stress.

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Everyone experiences stress to a greater or lesser extent. Sometimes it’s family, or money or politics, we are all susceptible to it. When we are stressed our bodies release a hormone called cortisol, which is sometimes very useful, for example we get a rush of cortisol first thing in the morning to help us get out of bed. Conversely, too much cortisol can dampen our appetites, interfere with sleep and cause us to hide away from the source of stress often making matters worse in the long run. 

High levels of cortisol over prolonged periods can cause or exacerbate a variety of mental and physical health problems; it is not an exaggeration to say that stress kills.

The stress reaction occurs when we are subjected to change. A sudden shift in the weather, a burst pipe, an unexpected bill, any small change can trigger the release of cortisol. 

Over time our resilience wanes and soon all kinds of trivial instances can become major stressors. Your brain loves routine and while this can be beneficial it’s easy to find ourselves in vicious cycles of stress and over-reaction. The brain is the only organ that goes out of its way to keep itself sick.

Thankfully the brain also has tools to remediate the negative aspects of stress, these tools are called cannabinoids. Scattered throughout your brain and body there are a network of receptors whose main goal is to keep everything in balance. 

This network also produces its own cannabinoids to feed the receptors. If you do plenty of exercise, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sunshine and engage in lots of meaningful social activity, your cannabinoids will probably be okay, but for a large number of people this is not the case. Junk food, alcohol and tobacco all deplete your endocannabinoid system, as does loneliness and inactivity. 

Some illnesses have been shown to exert a direct negative effect on our cannabinoids and some may in fact be caused by an underlying cannabinoid imbalance.

So what are we to do? Well, we don’t have to do much as it happens. 

65 million years ago a plant popped up somewhere in central Asia that happened to produce cannabinoids in large quantities. Animals that grazed on cannabis would be rewarded with a healthy mix of proteins, fats, fibre and cannabinoids. Nowadays, humans have found all kinds of ingenious ways to incorporate cannabis into their diets.

Which brings me back to my first statement. People assume that I use a lot of cannabis, but actually I don’t. I just use cannabis a lot. I start every day with a small dose of raw CBD paste, held under my tongue for a few minutes. This gets the CBD directly into my bloodstream and keeps me covered for several hours. 

Next up I vape some CBD, a quick dose that sends the desired cannabinoid efficiently to my brain then I sit cross legged on the living room floor and meditate for 10 minutes before heading to work. 

Most days in the shop start with a cup of CBD tea, by putting the cannabinoids through my digestive tract I give myself a gentle, long lasting dose that tastes great. I often put CBD moisturiser on my face and scalp, and if it’s been a long shift and my feet are aching I might rub a little on them too. 

It might be tempting to think that with all these cannabinoids in my system I must be immune to stress. Unfortunately that is not true, but I can tell you that my relationship with stress has changed dramatically since I started using CBD. 

65 million years ago a plant popped up somewhere in central Asia that happened to produce cannabinoids in large quantities

Stress now occurs like hunger or thirst; an instinctive awareness that I need to do something. Hiding from stress never got me anywhere and once I started addressing it I suddenly found myself more engaged, taking control of my behaviour and making positive changes that in turn led to more positive changes and so on.

I am grateful that I found CBD when I did, and I am grateful for the privilege of being able to work in an industry where the number one aim is to help other people. Cannabinoids are more than a fad they are a fact of life. Young or old, healthy or otherwise, we all need cannabinoids to function at our best – the golden rule with all things cannabis is to start with a little then gradually increase the dosage to what suits you best.

If you are interested in using CBD to support your health, I run a shop on Great Junction Street, called Hemp. We sell a range of legal cannabis products that are ideal for anyone who wants to experience the health benefits of cannabis, without intoxication. Come in and see if we can find something that suits you. Just like cannabis, we’re here to help.

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