This article originally appeared on FoodBeast.com on March 26, 2019.
The cannabis industry is rapidly evolving, as is the information that’s available to us. This is due, in part, to research that has examined what exactly cannabis is and does. With increased attention on whether the THC and CBD compounds within cannabis can potentially provide a multitude of health benefits — besides the obvious psychoactive experience – crucial awareness has begun to spread.
For those unfamiliar, THC and CBD are the two most well-known cannabinoids often attributed as the source of happiness, endorphins, and relaxation that cannabis provides, though there are actually more components at play. For example, terpenes are a group of hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of many plants – including the cannabis plant – that are garnering more attention for potentially being responsible for creating those calming effects.
Because terpenes are a primary component of essential oils, they are frequently found in foods, as well. Terpenes, combined with valuable vitamins in certain foods, can potentially heighten symptoms typically associated with cannabis consumption, in addition to produce sensations similar to the effects of cannabis on its own.
With a little education and willingness for experimentation, it's possible to munch in a way that lifts you to a higher plane and keeps that feeling going. Since the effects of cannabis vary widely from person to person, we recommend keeping a journal handy to notate your own experiences in order to help find out which cannabis and food combinations seem to work best for you!
1. Sweet Potato
Photo: Ella Olsson/Flickr
Aside from being delicious, sweet potatoes are known as a powerful mood-boosting food. They are packed with complex carbohydrates and Vitamin B that both produce serotonin, the happy chemical in the brain.
As a plus, sweet potatoes are low in fat and protein, thus making it easy for serotonin to affect your mood. Similarly, some cannabis studies have concluded that certain strains of marijuana, particularly sativas, can be helpful to those with anxiety and depression because of their uplifting qualities. For those who are looking to boost their sativa-induced happiness a bit further, try adding a basket of sweet potato fries, as they might make a perfect partner.
2. Omega-3 Rich Foods
Nuts, fish, avocado, and quinoa are all high in omega-3 fatty acids. Interestingly enough, the acids are actually thought to bind to cannabinoids, thus potentially enhancing the properties of cannabis. Grabbing a small snack of walnuts could kick start the trip and extend it longer than usual. These healthy foods are also far more beneficial to the body than stereotypical, greasy junk food associated with the munchies.
Photo: Gigi Griffis/Flickr
There are so many herbs with beneficial terpenes, it’s hard to narrow them down! Pinene and limonene are particular examples of terpenes found in both the herbs you use in your kitchen, as well as in cannabis, possibly lending insight into why we so fondly refer to it as THE Herb. Sage and thyme are known for their pinene, while lemon basil, lemon thyme, and lemongrass are high in limonene.
Pinene has been known to open up the lung passages, which could theoretically make it easier for cannabis to soak into the bloodstream and heighten your experience. Just like vitamins in sweet potato, limonene has been known to relieve anxiety, depression, and stress. A cup of herbal tea to compliment the herb could give a healthy boost in the clouds when it’s hard to pick yourself up.
Photo: Matt Madd/Flickr
Mangoes are highly regarded in the cannabis community for their enhancing effects. Mango is a unique fruit that contains myrcene terpenes, also found in cannabis. When consumed together, the myrcene in mango binds to the myrcene in cannabinoids leading to a stronger payout.
It has been recommended to drink mango juice about an hour before a proper session to get the most benefit. But again, when it comes to cannabis, every person is unique and learning your own cannabis preferences and tolerance may take some careful experimentation.
Photo: Ella Olsson/Flickr
Last but definitely not least, it’s no secret how wonderful broccoli can be for your health. From potassium content to collagen-building benefits, broccoli is one powerful superfood, and the anti-inflammatory properties have been reported to double with cannabis consumption.
Pain management is a top incentive for chronic pain patients, many of whom seek cannabis as an alternative to opioid painkillers; having a side of broccoli with cannabis could power up this side effect. The two both resemble trees, making them look kind of like distant cousins! In addition, broccoli is high in terpenes that bind with cannabinoids seamlessly, and may be beneficial in fighting depression as well.
Some of our healthiest foods are what we really should be considering as the perfect munchie pairing with cannabis. Between the potential for drawing out stronger health benefits to helping elevate you to a higher plane, there is more to these plants and vegetables that must be recognized!