Well, here we are…
As I write this on Monday, March 16, no one knows what will unfold next in the three days before this issue of the Aspen Times Weekly hits newsstands. One thing I do know for sure, though? Cannabis can help us through such a monumental shift in our lives—whether it’s as a vice to escape the reality of it all, a way to calm anxiety and stress, or even as an immunity booster. And in the coming weeks, High Country will continue to highlight ways how to incorporate cannabis into your “new normal” routines.
Experimenting in the kitchen is also a perfect way to pass the now seemingly endless amount of time we have on our hands, which is why we’re welcoming Kitchen Toke magazine — the first internationally distributed food journal dedicated to cooking with cannabis for health and wellness — back to our pages this week. But before we get to the seasonal recipe from its just-released spring issue (using canned chickpeas from the pantry and a bottle of CBD oil on-hand, for the win), I tapped founder and cannabis health expert Joline Rivera to share her top tips on how to stay safe, healthy and sane during quarantine.
Katie Shapiro: How did you discover and why do you promote the “cannabis is food; food is medicine” mantra?
Joline Rivera: In 2014 I wasn’t feeling well. I couldn’t pinpoint one thing but I could see my body was telling me something was wrong. I gained weight, suffered headaches and experienced overall body aches. It wasn’t normal for someone to be training for a triathlon to experience this. I should have been feeling healthy and fit. I saw at least five doctors, all who told me the same thing: Get some rest. I was frustrated. Then I found my health doctor, whose focus was integrated medicine. He conducted an in-depth blood test that told me everything I needed to know. My markers for certain conditions are dictated by my genetics. I learned I had insulin resistance. All the carbs I was eating to help me get through intense triathlon training were working against me. My body was overflowing with sugar and insulin and my body couldn’t break it down. That’s when my doctor wrote me a food prescription. He told me I could avoid diabetes by the food I ate and, instead of looking at food as energy, to see it as medicine. So I did just that and also started adding cannabinoids. I dropped the weight I gained and manage my insulin resistance without medication, using only healthy foods and cannabinoids.
Shapiro: What is the best alternative to smoking cannabis during quarantine? Should everyone consider a “smoking quarantine” during this outbreak or just those with compromised health?
Rivera: Edibles are the best for sure. Inhaling smoke isn’t something our bodies are made for. But I also understand people smoke for different reasons. Asking people to stop smoking during one of the most stressful times our country has ever faced isn’t realistic. The anxiety is palpable. If possible, replace cigarettes with CBD pre-rolls, which would provide cannabinoids to your endocannabinoid system. This helps reduce inflammation and actually produces a physiological response that will quell your anxiety and stress. If you don’t smoke cigarettes and you’re a cannabis smoker, it might be better to use cannabis edibles. You’ll also save money making your own.
Shapiro: Can consuming cannabis make us more hopeful?
Rivera: Cannabis is well-known for producing physiological effects on the body. If dosed properly, it can provide relief and a calming effect. It’s important to start with small doses; if you take too much it can have the opposite effect by causing more anxiety.
Shapiro: How can a diet rich in cannabinoids help with immunity?
Rivera: Without a doubt, we need to take care of our health, remain calm and get some rest. Cannabis (plants) feeds our endocannabinoid system (ECS). Our ECS regulates our organs (see graphic), maintaining homeostasis (stability) and health. So if COVID-19 attacks our lungs, it makes sense to add cannabinoids in our food. We can only try our best to make sure we stay healthy and calm. It seems simple to me. Cannabis is food. Food is medicine.
MEDICATED LIME CURRY CHICKPEA SALAD
Recipe courtesy of Laurie Wolf
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 teaspoons CBD/hemp oil
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
• ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
• ½ teaspoon ground cloves
• 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• ½ medium bell pepper, deseeded and diced
• ½ medium red onion, diced
• ½ cup parsley, leaves only, chopped
• In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir and allow the flavors to marry at room temperature for 30 minutes.
• Makes 4 to 6 servings.
• If you have leftovers, make hummus. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and slowly add olive oil while the motor is running. The amount depends on the quantity of the salad, so just add the oil slowly until you reach the desired consistency. Serve as crudités or with toasted pita bread.
Katie Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.