It seems like every day is some kind of unusual holiday. Did you know that May 25 is Tap Dance Day? Or that March 28 is Manatee Appreciation Day? Just a few weeks ago, I learned that March 13 is Open an Umbrella Indoors Day. And today is no different: March 20 is the International Day of Happiness.
The United Nations (UN) started the International Day of Happiness in 2013 and chose March 20—the first day of spring for those of us living above the Equator—because of its significance in terms of rebirth and new beginnings. Celebrating happiness may seem vague, but the UN’s annual happiness report ranks countries’ happiness based on life expectancy, social support and gross domestic product. This year, Finland tops the happiness list, while the U.S. fell four places to 18.
But how can you celebrate the International Day of Happiness? There are many ways to keep your spirits high, and you can even incorporate cannabis to help bump up your mood.
The cannabis plant contains compounds called cannabinoids. You’ve probably heard of a few, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabinoids are very similar to compounds we produce naturally, called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids from the marijuana plant and our own endocannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body.
As far as brain chemistry and mood go, it’s thought that endocannabinoids help keep the brain’s chemicals balanced. And because the cannabinoids in marijuana supplement the endocannabinoids in the brain (which are sometimes lacking), patients who suffer from mood conditions such as bipolar disorder report that cannabis helps smooth out their emotional highs and lows, and also acts to improve their overall mood.
Even if you don’t have a mood disorder, some kinds of marijuana can be uplifting, relaxing and can increase happiness. Here are a few ways you can celebrate the International Day of Happiness with an assist from cannabis strains known to exhilarate, energize and make consumers feel great.
Blue Dream is a hybrid marijuana strain with mostly sativa characteristics. This means it’s energizing and uplifting for most consumers. Many people report that Blue Dream is great for socializing and provides happiness with a bit of focus. So invite your crew over for some board games, and enjoy laughing with your friends while you keep your mind sharp.
Have a crafting project you’ve been wanting to start? Or maybe you’ve been itching to get that novel in your head finally down on paper. If your version of happiness means unleashing your creativity, consume a little Strawberry Cough and let your imagination run wild. Known for promoting calm and focus, this hybrid strain is the cannabis of choice for people who suffer from stress or anxiety. If you’re looking for a mood booster that also gives you focus and creativity—plus tastes and smells like strawberries, Strawberry Cough may be for you.
You may have heard of this cannabis strain because of the Seth Rogan/James Franco stoner movie of the same name, but don’t let that influence your opinion about this hybrid cannabis strain. Pineapple Express has been reported to be uplifting and helpful to those with social anxiety. Because it gives consumers a head high with a bit of a body high, it’s perfect for getting outside and socializing with friends. Consumers also report that it stimulates appetite, so enjoying an outdoor picnic with Pineapple Express is sure to up your happiness quotient for the day.
Some call Durban Poison the espresso of marijuana because of its coffee-like ability to energize. This sativa landrace strain is known for its euphoric high and ability to get users out of the house for a bit of socializing. With Durban Poison, you can go to an art gallery or see some live music—whatever version of being out on the town brings you the most happiness.
Don’t let the name Green Crack deter you from enjoying this energizing sativa. Consumers report that it makes them feel more social, so it would be a good choice for a fun night out, but others say it’s the perfect pick-me-up for a workout session. Any kind of physical exercise is already shown to increase mood-boosting endorphins, so adding Green Crack to a hike, bike ride, yoga session or free-weights routine is sure to have you feeling focused, energized and content.
This International Day of Happiness, do something that makes you happy, whether that means getting physically active, spending time with loved ones or just dancing around the house by yourself. Let us know how you celebrated the International Day of Happiness and what cannabis product helped you feel happy.
Photo credit: Tanja Heffner