In case the uptick in cannabis-laced lip balms, face serums, and coconut butters has somehow slipped past your social feed, marijuana is having a bit of a moment in the wellness space. The pungent crop’s associated benefits—from easing menstrual cramps to tackling anxiety—has helped it become the fastest-growing industry in the U.S. (Legal sales rang in at nearly $10 billion in 2017.) But it may also be possible to eat your way to a health high, without infringing on cannabis’s ever-complicated relationship with state legislators.
Enter the endocannabinoid system (ECS). First discovered in 1988, the ECS is now considered to be one of the most important systems in the body for its ability to regulate a range of vital processes, from appetite and mood to sexual function. Triggered by neurotransmitters that are activated by the components in cannabis—well known cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)—it can also be initiated by common pantry ingredients, such as black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, and bay leaf, according to new research.
“Balancing the ECS with dietary cannabinoids is proving to be an essential