Let's talk about Dry January
So 2018 has ended and we are coming to the end of the aptly named 'Dry January'. January is a dull month full of resolutions that will never be kept like:
- Thou shalt not eye cheeseburgers lustily, and thou certainly will not debase them in the most terrible way with thy mouth.
- Thou shalt not smoke
- After a Christmas plagued with hangovers, thou shalt not consume a drop of alcohol. This month at least anyway.
The miracle of turning water into wine is nothing on the general populous' ability to turn their blood into Absolut vodka and still be breathing in the morning. So, January is penance (and justification for) the next eleven months of drinking and I for one am awfully glad I won't be working in a pub on the first weekend of February.
With hangovers so deadly they could split a watermelon in half, why is it people return to the bottle time and time again? To forget about the pile of paperwork their boss has left on their desk for Monday morning? Force of habit? For fun? A nightcap to send you to bed?
Yes, yes, I know I sound like a secondary school PSHE class, but it’s important to recognise why we drink alcohol, because then if we really want to cut it effectively, we can look at alternatives. Wanting to forget about your troubles? Turn to a good book instead. Stressed? A drop or two of CBD oil would sort you out. Haven't had fun since the work Christmas party (if you can call that fun)? Have a sleepover with friends, yes just like you used to before you were bold enough to sneak some of your Mum's gin into a water bottle for parties. For all of the above? Our friends in California might use a pipe full of their favourite buds and with good reason.
Now that CBD oil has entered the mainstream, we're beginning to recognise the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis, but what about CBD' s party-loving sister THC?
A little science refresher on CBD vs. THC. Our bodies produce cannabinoids naturally which bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors can also be stimulated by outside sources such as THC and CBD, both found in cannabis. CBD is used primarily for its health benefits, whereas THC causes the 'high' feeling associated with weed. However, as well as making you feel like you're dancing on the clouds, THC has the potential to improve your wellbeing.
THC is used to aid an array of ailments, from muscle spasticity to glaucoma and depression. Though for some CBD oil might satisfy their particular needs, we're beginning to realise as a society that medicine is individual, what works for some won't work for another, and for some the extra kick of THC is necessary.
Though sweet Mary-Jane (cannabis) has always been known for her ability to tuck stoners tightly into bed, sometimes with a half-finished packet of crisps in one hand, her sedative qualities are only just being recognised for medical purposes. While CBD will reduce symptoms of pain in those suffering from conditions such as arthritis at night, THC is the cannabinoid that will send you straight to dreamland (no sheep required). So in short, CBD makes it easier to sleep but THC directly induces it. One of the findings of Pablo Roitman's clinical drug trial on THC as a treatment for PTSD found that among improving general symptom severity, the patients enjoyed better sleep quality and less severe nightmares.
When you look in the mirror do you see tiredness? Do you feel like screaming Jamie-Lee Curtis style in Freaky Friday when faced with a shop window? Well, alcohol might be your cause and THC your cure. Alcohol deprives our body of vitamin A, which helps keep our skin looking smooth and supple. It also widens blood vessels in the face and long term use causes 'spider veins' to creep their spindly scarlet legs across our faces. Cannabis on the other hand, by stimulating our endocannabinoid system aids in the healing process of any skin disorder, such as psoriasis or eczema, so by incorporating cannabis into your skin care routine you can wave goodbye to wrinkles!
Not only can cannabis reverse the effects of drinking on a superficial level, but on a mental one too. We all know that after a few too many pints at the weekend, the evening is relegated to the darkness of a blackout. However, alcohol can have more long term impacts on your memory; it can result in developing alcohol related brain impairment, ARBI for short. Sufferers of the condition experience both long and short term memory loss and have trouble learning new information.
A study published in Nature Medicine found that giving THC to older mice 'restored the cognitive ability of the old mice to the level of young ones'. THC helps activate the signalling systems that help those recall memory. Not only is this good news for sufferers with ARBI, but also good news for those with dementia as this opens up a new avenue of research for treatments.
By the time you've reached this point in the article you might feel like you need a drink, but alas it is Dry January and you must refrain!
You'll be surprised to find this is not my advice. Yes, reduce your alcoholic intake but there's no need to apply dieting values to your consumption of alcohol, because just as diets don't work, neither does Dry January. In February, you'll only return with double the vigour to drinking.
As with all things in life, what's essential is finding a balance. Don't deny yourself a glass of wine with dinner, just don’t do twelve shots of tequila in the space of a few hours at the weekend to forget the responsibility that comes Monday.
Rather than cracking a cold one (or eight) open with the boys to numb yourself, consider what other tools you might have at your disposal. CBD is an incredible resource to improve your wellbeing, and it’s being proved that THC, despite its bad reputation, deep down is a real sweetheart. Create better habits and change your attitude this year rather than declaring yourself a sober, virtuous gym goer. Because after all, who doesn't deserve a little indulgence from time to time?
Writer: Kate Nesbit
Kate is a recent graduate, recovering from three years of university. A budding blogger and copywriter, you can find her personal content here and can contact her for business enquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org