Hey folks, Board-Certified Health Coach Chloe Maleski is here to answer your questions about cannabis. Whether you’re wondering if it’s Primal, thinking of experimenting, or trying to cut back, you’ll learn important considerations to keep in mind. Got a question you’d like to ask our health coaches? Leave it below in the comments or over in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.
“I never thought I’d be asking this, but is weed Primal? Is it addictive? I’m a 45-year-old mom of two and ‘partying’ means Netflix in bed. But my state legalized cannabis, and I’m curious to try it. Bad idea or no big deal?”
You’re not alone in asking this, Julie! As laws around cannabis use change, folks who may not have considered using it previously are curious.
The short answer to your first question is Yes…with a caveat. Consumed in its whole plant form, cannabis is Primal. Same holds if you’re consuming the whole plant in combination with other Primal ingredients.
Many times, however, that’s not the case.
For one thing, isolated components (rather than the whole plant) are often used in products such as cannabis tinctures and edibles. You’ll want to check what other ingredients are tagging along. Perhaps any sugar, inflammatory oils, or other non-Primal ingredients are negligible in the context of your overall diet. Still, the answer to “Is it Primal?” could be a No.
Of course, you may be considering smoking it. In that case, there are significant respiratory risks to consider.1
In whatever form—Primal approved or not—cannabis is potentially addictive.2
Proceed with some caution. If you do try, start extra slow and take close note of how it makes you feel—not just in the moment, but the next day. You’ll also want to have an honest conversation with a reputable dispensary employee. During this conversation:
Also be aware that cannabis affects individuals differently, and not all potential effects are welcome.
For instance, while some people use cannabis to help manage insomnia, discontinuing after heavy use can actually disturb sleep.5 While cannabis offers stress relief for some, in others it increases stress and anxiety. Use is also associated with impaired short-term memory.6
If you do experiment, it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind: Just because a substance is legal, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy or good for you! So many factors are at play here, including individual considerations, the type of cannabis, the form of administration, and set and setting.
Make sure you’ve researched laws in your area to know what’s allowed, and approach any experimentation with questions, curiosity, and care.
“How can I tell whether my THC habit has gone from casual to dependence? I only take it on weekends (in the form of edibles), but sometimes I worry. Can you weigh in?”
Anything we use to numb out or to not feel our feelings has the potential to become addictive—all the more so if it creates a direct physiological response in the body and directly influences the brain’s reward system.
One easy way to tell whether something’s addictive is to take a 30-day break. If you can truly “take it or leave it,” taking time off won’t be a big deal. Run your own experiment. Get really honest.
Also ask yourself: “Is using THC making me feel like my most alive, most vital self? Is it helping me form deeper connections with family, friends, and loved ones (connections not dependent on a shared drug of choice)?”
Alternatively, does using THC feel like an unhelpful cycle on repeat? (Usually, we know the answer.)
Look, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to THC. For some people, it can be a substitute for more harmful substances. For some, it can even be a form of medicine (although smoking is NEVER healthy for your lungs).
If you are using THC in such ways, it shouldn’t reinforce habits that aren’t serving you. It also shouldn’t reinforce limiting or negative beliefs about yourself. Put differently, how does “The Day After” feel?
As I mentioned above, you’ll also want to check what else is in that edible. As a Primal Health Coach, I’m also curious what you eat after consuming THC, which brings us to our last question…
“I eat Primal 80 percent of the time but struggle with the other 20. No doubt, this is due to my weed habit: Most unhealthy eating happens after I’ve been smoking. If I want to cut back but not quit, what do you recommend?”
This one could get tricky depending on your personality and what strategies work for you. For some people, quitting something entirely is way easier than cutting back. For others, making something off limits leads to self-sabotage and consuming more than they were originally.
Finding your best strategy takes experimentation. That said, whether your goal is more moderate, mindful consumption OR quitting cannabis entirely, here’s are 4 powerful, actionable steps:
Add in healthy practices and routines. Eat real, whole, nourishing food, move your body, meditate, create home spa nights, etc. By treating yourself in ways that feel good afterwards (instead of just in the moment or while high), you’ll retrain yourself to relax and decompress using other tools. Most likely, this won’t be a satisfying substitute at first. But with time, you’ll find yourself not wanting to ruin how healthy living makes you feel. Getting high becomes less worth it.
Create clear parameters around use. For this to work, these “rules” have to be non-negotiable. Otherwise, your willpower will run out, and you’ll be back where you began. Are you only going to consume on weekends? Once a month? In what quantity? Decide. Make it The Policy.
Edit your advertising. The messaging you consume online and off has a huge impact. Minimize messaging that supports your smoking habit. Replace it with messaging that promotes a healthy lifestyle. This may mean swapping out the social media accounts you follow and hanging in different circles. It might also mean saying No to certain invitations…and Yes to more supportive ones.
Do what you love! And by that, I mean something other than getting high. Cutting back on cannabis or any other addictive substance doesn’t have to be awful! Focus on creating a life you love at least as much as you focus on cutting something out.
Another key piece—whether you want to cut back or quit cannabis entirely—is to create an extra layer of accountability.
This could mean working with a therapist or sober coach, attending recovery meetings IRL or online, or joining a recovery community.
It could also mean working with a Primal Health Coach as part of your wider wellness plan. As coaches, we can help you get clear on the diet and lifestyle practices that are best for you. We can also support you in following through with change efforts.
If you’d like your own personal health coach, visit myprimalcoach.com. And if you have other questions for me, drop them in the comments!
Ask a Health Coach: Health Trends