This article, written by Dave Asprey, originally appeared on the Bulletproof blog and can be found here.
Marijuana is getting closer and closer to federal legalization in the U.S. That’s good news for the simple reason that no one should be able to dictate what you put in your own body to make it do what you want, whether it’s raw milk or entheogens. I’m happy to see more and more states legalizing pot because it makes it much more likely you’ll remain free to use other substances – like vitamins – of your choosing.
Whether or not marijuana improves your performance or is even good for you is a more complex question.
The short answer is that, for some people, used properly, cannabis can be really beneficial. On the flip side, it’s a fine line between using marijuana as a tool and using it as a crutch. The good news is, a lot of the new delivery systems and cannabinoid extracts make it easier than ever to biohack your pot so you get the good without most of the bad.
Let’s look into what marijuana can do for you, and how you can make it as Bulletproof as possible.
A quick primer on cannabinoids
Marijuana’s power lies in its cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are a group of 85 molecules unique to the cannabis plant . The most famous one is ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance that gets you high. From a performance perspective, though, the most potent cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), which does all kinds of good without putting you in an altered state (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). There’s also THCA, a non-psychoactive precursor to THC that’s showing promise as a biohacking tool. We don’t yet know much about the other 82 cannabinoids in pot, but cannabinoid research is one of the most promising fields out there.
Your brain has a system dedicated entirely to cannabinoids. In fact, you produce your own endocannabinoids, which help you build new memory cells  and play a role in sleep, inflammation, and pain expression. You can use marijuana and its various extracts to tailor your cannabinoid system to your liking.
With all the new legalization going on, it’s easier than ever to get isolated cannabinoids and control the dosage to fit your biology and your specific goals. Here’s a breakdown of what we think the individual cannabinoids do, and the best way to take them.
You’ve likely heard of THC. It’s responsible for the euphoria, altered thinking, creativity, decreased pain, and enhanced sensory input that constitutes getting high . THC also increases your heart rate and can cause anxiety, impaired memory, dizziness, and paranoia [3,4,5].
THC can be psychologically addictive ; if you’re using it every day as an escape, or you feel like you need it to function, you probably have something in your life you’re not dealing with. Drop the weed, see what comes up, and address it instead of running from it.
There’s also a fairly strong correlation between pot use and psychosis in adolescents [7,8]. It looks like pot affects teenage neurodevelopment, and possibly development into your early twenties. There’s also a study showing that regular smokers have lower blood flow to their brains . None of this is causation, but it’s something to think about. If you have low blood flow to your brain, you won’t be nearly as sharp as you’re capable of being. This should steer you away from smoking pot regularly if you can get the benefits another way.
I’ve seen people who get high a day or two before doing neurofeedback (in this case, 40 Years of Zen) not perform as well as they do when they’re off THC. You can see a change in their EEGs (electroencephalogram), too, with lower alpha waves after the pot wears off. Alpha waves are usually high in deep states of meditation and reduce depressive symptoms and boost creative thinking. (Pot raises alpha when you’re on it, but you won’t be as good at learning to raise your own alpha at will, which is a pretty cool superpower to have.)
On the other hand, THC shows promise as a way to inhibit cancer and reduce inflammation, and to manage pain . That’s Bulletproof. I’d reach for marijuana over oxycodone and other heavy-duty painkillers any day. THC will also decrease nausea from chemotherapy .
Then there’s the recreational factor. Getting high can be fun, and doing it every now and then probably won’t kill you.
Is THC Bulletproof? Maybe. I’d say THC is easier on your body than a night of drinking, and can be useful in certain situations. I just wouldn’t start using it for fun or escape regularly. If it helps your inflammation when CBD doesn’t, do it!
CBD is THC’s non-psychoactive cousin. It won’t get you high, but it will do plenty of other things for you. Watch this extraordinary video to see CBD in action (warning: you may get emotional). A single drop of CBD eliminates a Parkinson’s patient’s symptoms in 3 minutes.
CBD isn’t just for people with neurodegenerative diseases. It can boost your performance even if you’re already on top of your game.
- A low (15mg) dose of CBD increased alertness in both people  and rats .
- A moderate (160mg) dose of CBD can help you sleep better .
- A high (500-600mg) dose decreased social anxiety, both in general  and during stressful events like public speaking .
- CBD prevents seizures and is an effective way to treat epilepsy [13, 16].
- CBD is a potent antioxidant. It outperformed both vitamin C and vitamin E at preventing oxidative damage 
CBD also curbs the negative effects of THC. You’re far less likely to get anxious or paranoid when you take CBD and THC together [11, 18]. Researchers are even looking at CBD as an antipsychotic, with promising results [19,20].
You can either get pure CBD oil or a high-CBD strain of pot like Charlotte’s Web. You only absorb about 6% of the CBD you eat , which may explain why participants in some of the above CBD studies had to take such a staggering amount. You’re better off vaping CBD to get the full effect of the dose.
Fresh pot leaves actually won’t get you very high. They’re low in THC, but full of THCA, a related compound that turns into THC as the leaves dry. Most marijuana you’ll find has been aged to the point where it contains almost pure THC and no THCA.
However, a new subculture in the weed world is focusing on keeping that THCA in. THCA is a strong anti-inflammatory and mitochondrial enhancer in mice and in human cells [22,23]. It destroys prostate cancer in rodents and in petri dishes  and may help with sleep, too.
People who smoke or vape high-THCA pot report a bright, creative mental state, almost like they’ve taken a smart drug (or dare I say my favorite in-house mitochondrial enhancer, Unfair Advantage?). THCA doesn’t create the stoned effect that you get from THC.
Unless you have access to newly picked pot plants, THCA can be difficult to come across. Some places offer marijuana juice made with fresh squeezed pot, and really cutting-edge dispensaries sell THCA distillate. If you don’t find those, you can opt for one of the following high-THCA pot trains:
- Rosé (like the wine)
What’s the most Bulletproof way to consume pot?
Burning things to over 1000°F tends to produce carcinogens, and the classic way to consume marijuana is no exception. Bong, joint, blunt – it makes no difference. Burning the plant and inhaling it fills your lungs with toxins. There are far cleaner ways to get your pot.
CBD has 6% oral bioavailability . Eating it is simply not a good use of your money.
Dabbing involves superheating nearly 100% pure THC or CBD concentrate and inhaling the resulting vapor. You’ll still get a few toxins from impurities, but dabbing is much cleaner than smoking. The issue is that dabbing is incredibly potent and it’s difficult to control the dose. 100% pure THC behaves more like a prescription narcotic than like a legal recreational drug. Unless you have a medical need, you’re probably better off not dabbing THC.
Dabbing CBD is a good way to get high doses quickly, although it can be difficult to find CBD wax suitable for dabs.
Bulletproof pot cupcakes, anyone? Like CBD, oral THC only has about 6% bioavailability. But if you’ve ever tried a pot edible, you know how intense eating pot can be.
Thank your liver for the intensity of edible highs. It converts THC to 11-Hydroxy-THC, which is far more powerful and gets to your brain more easily.
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble, so be sure you cook your marijuana with a fat source before eating it. Grass-fed butter and coconut oil are both good options.
Vaping is a good, clean option. Vaporizers only heat to around 300°F, which means you inhale far fewer carcinogens than you do when you smoke. You can buy a vaporizer for pot in its natural form, or a vaporizer for oil extract. The oil extract will, of course, be stronger.
So is marijuana Bulletproof? It depends. CBD is a powerful addition to your biohacking toolbox. THC can be useful in certain situations, or fun as an occasional indulgence, but it carries some risks and downsides with it. THCA may lie somewhere in between.
If you’re going to use pot, choose a clean way to take it. Be aware that it can be addictive and proceed with caution. Always go organic, too. Pot may not be food, but it’s still a plant, and a lot of growers use heavy pesticides.
Do you find pot enhances your performance? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading and have a great week!