The past few weeks have included buzz-worthy info on coffee, wine, weed and health. The three stimulants can be addictive, enjoy a robust retail market (weed in limited states) and may have health benefits. My clients and readers of this blog know my mantra- "There is no one thing that is all good or all bad and moderation is the key." Though the research on the three is still a work in progress, the following is a brief overview of how they can impact your health.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 54 percent of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee daily and 65 percent of these drinkers are consuming the coffee during breakfast hours. The key component associated with coffee consumption is caffeine. Coffee is a stimulant that can improve mood, increase energy and cognitive function. When coffee is consumed, caffeine is absorbed in the bloodstream, and travels to the brain where it blocks a neurotransmitter. This blocked neurotransmitter leads to a stimulant effect, thus people may feel more alert, energetic and positive, with improved cognitive functions.
I'm a wine enthusiast and I enjoy drinking wine in moderation. US per capita consumption of wine is approximately 3 gallons, much less than in other countries. Wine does have benefits for heart health, reduced risk of cancer and long-term depression. Red wine is high in antioxidants which are linked to heart health and reduced blood pressure. One of the antioxidants that has been touted recently is resveratrol. Although resveratrol is still being studied, this antioxidant in red wine is thought to protect blood vessels, reduce LDL (Bad) cholesterol and prevent blood clots.
White wine also has positive effects on heart health as a result of the antioxidants found in the wine grapes. There has also been early research which links drinking two to three glasses of champagne a week to the prevention of brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Now a glass of bubbly is always a good thing, however, note this research continues in search of definitive proof.
Still considered taboo in many circles, weed, aka marijuana, may also have health benefits. One-fifth of Americans live in states where marijuana is legal. The label medical marijuana refers to the use of the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has NOT approved the marijuana plant as medicine. However the FDA has approved the scientific study of chemicals in the plant called cannabinoids , which have led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.
To date research by the National Institutes of Health has focused on two cannabinoids-THC and CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid that does not create a "high." Findings indicate that THC can stimulate appetite and reduce nausea which can be beneficial to patients undergoing chemotherapy. Researchers continue their work and are conducting preclinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and conditions of diseases that affect the immune system including HIV / AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), pain, inflammation and seizures.
This post is a brief overview of trending topics on coffee, wine and weed. These subjects will continue to be of interest and the upcoming California Wine and Weed Symposium will certainly be a catalyst for more conversation.
Take Away: There may be undiscovered health benefits with coffee, wine and weed in the future, however my caveat is to make wise choices and moderation is essential.