BY KITT WALSH
My car broke down this summer while visiting Bremerton, Washington on one of the hottest days of the year. While awaiting a tow, I decided to walk to find some water before I melted away. Ten blocks in either direction showed us no gas station or convenience store, only one building with blacked out windows that I assumed had to be a strip club.
As the noon sun grew hotter, I figured I’d run in, buy a soda and run out. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door not to find naked women, but people buying pot. Oh right, I thought, it is legal in Washington State. Glancing around I was fascinated that, after being the generation that made weed part of our everyday lexicon, I didn’t understand half of what was going on in there or even what was for sale. Edibles, ingestibles, vaporizers, sprays, skin cream–the things I didn’t know about modern day pot would fill a book.
I recently discovered something else about the new cannabis movement that I also didn’t know, but seems more suited to my ageing body and lifestyle. I learned about hemp-based cannabinoid supplements. They may be something that could be of benefit for many of us over the age of 50 suffering the aches, pains and moods that often accompany passing the half-century mark.
Named Aceso after the Greek Goddess in charge of healing, the supplements come from a Colorado-based company who believes that the key to wellness is found in nature. Hemp contains something called cannabinoids which, when combined with other natural things like lavender and turmeric, interact with the receptor cells in our bodies to help normalize many of our body’s processes and also react with terpenes, molecules those that give plants many of their therapeutic properties. The company created supplements that make use of these two ingredients to create formulas to target many of the issues we face just from walking around in these human bodies of ours.
Their herbal formulas come in three variations, Calm to treat anxiety, stress and worry; Wellness to invigorate and add to one’s general vitality and well-being, and Soothe for pain, soreness and inflammation. The supplements come in a spray that you spritz under your tongue for fast effect, or in powder form that you mix with water and drink.
There are other cannabinoid products on the market but only Aceso uses the whole hemp plant and the oil that comes from it—CBD it’s called. THC is the main active component of cannabis as we old hippies know. What THC does is activate the cannabinoid receptors in the brain causing the high we know so well (it also accumulates in the liver and other parts of the body.) CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t interact with cannabinoid receptors, so it causes no high, which is why it can be sold across the US.
There are more than 100 different cannabinoids that can be found in hemp. Each cannabinoid interacts with the body in a different way—which is what leads researchers to believe that phytocannabinoids, found in hemp, have the power to successfully ease a wide array of conditions:
- CBG has the possibility to be able to ease minor aches and pains along with minor gastrointestinal problems.
- THCV could prove to be an appetite suppressant and might aid with memory.
- CBN could be used as a sleep aid and might help ease stress
- CBC is being tested as an acid reflux remedy.
Other cannabinoids are being studied to help with epilepsy and a host of other serious medical conditions.
So what of the three formulations currently being marketed by Aesco? Calm uses the CBD-based blend plus two anxiety-reducing terpenes, linalool from lavender (an herb long used in healing to relax people—thus all those lavender dream pillows you see for sale), passionflower extract (helps with anxiety) and limonene (which comes from citrus fruit and is also known as an anti-anxiety remedy). These are teamed up with CoQ10 (recommended to ease tension)
Wellness incorporates the cannabinoid blend, vitamins B6 and D3 (who couldn’t use more of those?), green tea catechins (to help detoxify) and limonene from citrus oils (to create a healthy support for energy levels and moods and to boost the immune system)
Soothe also uses Aceso’s cannabinoid blend but adds some interesting things to help with actual physical symptoms like glucosamine (long used for joint pain), bromelain and turmeric (which are known anti-inflammatories), antioxidant tart cherry and pain relief, courtesy of terpenes derived from cinnamon.
But do they work? According to a writer for Well & Good, Erin Magner, who tried all three supplements, Calm definitely had an almost instant effect, reducing even jangly over-caffeinated nerves to a state of Zen warmth. She was less enthusiastic about Soothe, though she said it boosted her mood a bit and calmed her nerves some, but she would have liked to test it while having a bad headache or pulled muscle. Wellness had the least noticeable effect, though she did feel a little more focused and allows that at least it is a way to get more nutrients into her body. She will definitely place Calm in her medicine cabinet. Based on her experiences, Wellness may come with me on my next international flight (where I always seem to catch some germs that wreck havoc upon my immune system.)
All natural, well-studied (Aesco’s website has an Education tab which, if you read it all, may actually quality you for a Masters of Science degree), and derived from something mankind has been making use of for thousands of years, it seems to me to be worth the exploration. Wouldn’t we all have been better off it, when Mick Jagger sang about “Mother’s Little Helper”, he hadn’t meant a pill, but one of nature’s remedies for what ails us?
Calm, Wellness and Soothe costs $70 for the sprays, $50 for 30-packs of the drink powders and $10 for the 5-packs and are available at http://www.myaceso.com/.