When I was a kid, I remember enjoying all of the fruits and foods that life offered. Growing up in the 90’s there was an abundance of crazy food that was out there. It was the first time that Lunchables were available (still as much a treat to me today as it was back in the day) and a bunch of foods that were directed at kids like myself. As much as I loved chowing down on Fruit by the Foot, Spaghettio’s (on toast) and Dorito’s 3D, every so often I would come down with a serious dose of bubble gut. I laugh about it now, but, some nights I would wake up with a stomach ache that would linger on for a while. I don’t know what it was, but, I like to think of it being a mother’s intuition, my grandmother (who I grew up with) had an almost uncanny way of knowing when I was not feeling well. She would come into my room and ask me what’s wrong. Any time that I would come down with those stomach aches she always knew what to do. Within a few minutes (usually 5-10), she would come back in to the room with a cup of steaming hot tea and a smile. I didn’t know what it was, and being in pain, I didn’t really think it would work, but, when grandma knows best, you learn to trust her. Within a half hour or so I would be strong as an ox and ready to roll. After the second and third time I couldn’t help but wonder what it was that she was giving me. Unlike most teas, this one didn’t come in a bag or in a carton, or was even packaged, but it was tasty, green and smelled really nice. So what was this divine, mysterious elixir? As my grandma would say, it was yerba buena. Or as we would call it, mint.
I had always suspected it, but, it was then and there that I knew that not only was my grandma freaking amazing, but, she was a shaman and healer. Well, I don’t truly know if that’s true, but, I do know that after talking with my friends and people over the years, that their parents and grandparents knew a thing or two about using plants that were in their backyards. They would use these plants in the same way that my grandma did, but, in other ways as well. This knowledge that our parents and ancestors had of these plants makes me think that they were on to something way back when. I never did have much of the same stomach issues as I did when I was a kid (in part due to the fact that I didn’t eat as bad as I did), but, when I got older this thought crossed my mind once again. In fact, this thought crossed my mind quite a bit when marijuana became a headline in the mid 90’s with California Proposition 215.
I never knew too much about marijuana (let alone hemp) growing up. It was pretty much something that we never talked about as kids. But, when I got into middle school, it seemed to be the talk of the town. Here in Cali there was word of a proposition that was coming up for a vote that was poised to change things. Considering that the only things I had ever heard of cannabis were nothing but negative, it sparked my curiosity. Perhaps there was something more to cannabis than I had learned of all these years. This proposition sparked (all pun intended) the debate as to whether or not cannabis had a place for use in the medical field. Wait, what? You’re telling me that a plant that is illegal, and has been since long before I was born is somehow helpful to people? Yeah, this was something that was pretty shocking to me, and to a lot of people. Being a person that is the ever skeptic, I longed to find out the truth about this. Little did I know that the truth was not new news, but, news that had been known for a long time. Just like the plants that my grandma knew about and used from our backyard, people have long known about the medical benefits of cannabis.
It’s been twenty-three years since that proposition passed here in California. Since then, the tone that it set for the rest of the country has been more and more positive towards cannabis and the effects it has on the human body. While it was more readily available to license holders for medical marijuana to gain access to it, it still very much controlled. While California may have set the stage for the rest of the country, it was Colorado (and it’s passing of Colorado Amendment 64) that first allowed cannabis to be used for recreational purposes. This opened up the flood gates to a new industry that had not existed in the states for nearly a century. This meant that for the first time in a long time, we would be able to see cannabis used for medicinal purposes in ways that many of us hadn’t seen before. One of those places is within the athletic world.
Back in 1998 during the Winter Olympics in Nagano, a skier from Canada won the gold medal in snowboarding. It was a poignant moment of success for Ross Rebagliati. After having won a prize that so many people covet, it was found that he had tested positive for cannabis, and he was subsequently stripped of his medal. His name and face were blasted all over the media at the time, and I remember it being a joke for the longest time. Hell, I remember Jay Leno (of the Tonight Show) making jokes about it pretty regularly. While Ross would later get his medal back (partly due to the fact that cannabis wasn’t on the list of banned substances for the Olympic Committee) and he would be reinstated as the winner of the event he had participated in. This stigma was something that the media kept in the consciousness of the public for years and years. That changed though when Colorado blew those doors wide open with the passing of that amendment. Not long after that, Canada themselves would end the prohibition on cannabis, and Ross would be further vindicated more than twenty years after his public smearing.
Needless to say, since those days, things have changed quite a bit. What was once seen as an underground thing, is now very much mainstream. Well, at least, that is the perception. The plant, which has been illegal in the US (and many other countries around the world), has seen widespread use not only in the underground community, but, medicinally by people all over. Medicinal use has been one of the main uses of the cannabis plant for much of recorded history. It was only recently that people like myself began to realize that there was a lot more that this plant had to offer. I remember when I first heard of the medicinal use of cannabis. I actually thought it was a joke. In all of the years I knew it, I had only heard of the mind altering abilities. Growing up in the 90’s and living through the DARE campaign (Dare to Keep Kids off of Drugs), I had never heard about the possible benefits that cannabis could do for the body. As time would tell though, the discussion would open up, and more and more people would begin to harp on the benefits of using cannabis. The funny thing is, that I would come to find out years later that my mom and my elders had known about cannabis and how it could help all along.
Every year our team makes it a point to check out the LA Fit Expo. This year would be our fifth time making it out to the show, and it was surely going to be exciting. Ahead of the shows we sometimes get a chance to learn about some of the people and companies that are going to be coming out. While there are some companies that are mainstays of the show (Nutrishop, Rivalus, Unico, LVFT, Fortifx and a few others), we always look forward to meeting new companies. This year, we were asked if we knew about a company that was making some waves in the industry. It sounded pretty open ended, but, when we learned more about this mysterious company, we were intrigued. This company was from Colorado, and was doing things…a little differently. Unlike most companies at the show, they were making products that were cannabis derived. Ding! What was that you say? Fitness/sports products that are based and made with hemp you say? Just then, I knew that I had to hear more. With this being in the news as much as it is, and with my curiosity sparked beyond compare, I wanted to know more. Luckily, I was granted an opportunity to talk to Lindsey Mintz, one of the founders and owners of Arcanum Edge. We had a lot to talk about, and I sure learned of what I believe, to be the future of sports nutrition.
I didn’t know much about Arcanum, and I went into the conversation with a pretty open mind. After all, this was an area that was not really explored in the fitness industry, so, I wanted to know as much as I could. Thankfully, Lindsey was a joy to talk to, and learning about them (Arcanum), and their philosophical approach to their products was something that I was intrigued by. If you ever get the chance to go onto Arcanum’s site, make it a point to check out their backstory. The founders (Mike and Deborah Dunafon) have one of the craziest stories that I’ve ever read. I won’t spoil it for you (in case you do get a chance to check it out), but, the athletic background between them two, Lindsey and her husband Tyler runs rampant. These folks are athletes through and through, and as such, have put their bodies through numerous trials and tribulations. While this is normal for an athlete, it isn’t to undersell the fact that during exercise, the body routinely takes punishment. Muscles are born through the constant tearing down and re-construction of the fibers being worked out. Doing this over a period of time can net great results, but, at the same time take a toll on the body. While there are a number of supplements that one can take, Lindsey and company knew that there could be a better, more natural alternative. Thankfully, this alternative did exist, and it was in the form of hemp.
Hemp has been used for a long time to heal the body. One of the ways in which this occurs is for the bodies own Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to be used. While it may sound like a mouthful, this system plays a huge part in the regulation of functions and parameters within the body. It is vital to the recovery and proper function of many systems that your body uses, and this is very important in helping the body recover and repair itself. While they weren’t the first, Arcanum has taken this knowledge and applied it the products that could help athletes recover after workouts (or competitions). Sure, this sounds too good to be true, but, if there is anyone that knows what athletes want, it would be an athlete (let alone a group of them). This is what makes this all the more special. I remember when I was at the Fit Expo (this past January) and I spoke with a few folks at one of the booths. I had asked one of the fitness models working at the booth if they were using the product outside of this event. To my surprise, they were actually contacted by the company because they had been vocal about really liking the products. I mean, you would think that this would be commonplace, but, having people who work for a brand that are true believers in the product is something that (I believe) should happen more often. When it comes to what Arcanum is doing, it goes beyond that however. Lindsey and her crew understand more than anyone what are the types of products that they and their customers would need. This means that they work hand-in-hand with the manufacturer (Mary’s Nuritionals), to put together products that not only work great, but, are ones that they use. This makes perfect sense to me, and it should to anyone else that was wondering who was actually behind the production. If there is anyone that would know what an athlete would need, it would be a group that uses it themselves. After all, anyone that is in to fitness knows that what you put into your body is essential to one’s success. This could not be truer than nowadays. It’s only within the last 30 years that food labels and nutrition facts came into being (here in the US), and in that time we have learned a lot of what it is that is within our food and drugs. Some of it is eyeopening, and some of it is terrifying. I am careful about what I put into my body, and so should you. We may not live forever, but, if you want to live healthily and happily, paying attention to this one thing is very important.
We live in a great time. There have been several generations that were not as aware as we are nowadays of the health benefits of hemp and their effect on the bodies’ endocannabinoid system. While it may have sounded far fetched just mere years ago, we are able to have access to products derived from hemp. While our great-grandparents (and even closer kin) knew much of the health benefits of natural medicine, we are finally able to have access to what nature intended for us. Not only were the effects long known, but, now the science can back it up as well. Before law prohibited the sale and consumption of cannabis, people all around the world knew what it could do for the body. I am very excited to know that we are moving closer to having more natural products available to us. I always thought it was pretty funny hearing just how much of a tagline things like ‘organic’ food was. I always though, “When you say organic, do you mean, food the way it was meant to be consumed? lol”. It’s pretty easy to laugh about it, but, the truth is that more and more people are becoming conscience of what they are ingesting (and applying to their bodies topically).
Perhaps that is the reason that I like what is going on. The company that produces the Arcanum products is called Mary’s Nutritionals, and I have to admit, I like their motto. In fact, it’s very telling of what their philosophy behind the making of their products is. “It’s not alternative medicine.
It’s an alternative to medicine and Mary’s is leading the charge”. I like that. I could imagine, that for a group like Arcanum, that this was a match made in heaven. I was lucky enough to get a chance to try out some of their products as well. ‘The Quill’ is a gel-based,
endocannabinoid system enhancer. It comes in a pretty nifty plastic tube that squeezes out in a really cool manner. Perhaps i’ll do an in-depth review of this sometime, but, in the time that I had to use this, I could tell right away that it worked great. It is meant to be used for muscle and pain relief, and I can say that it worked quicker than I thought it would. With a strange warmth/cooling effect, it was a weird sensation that I would get right away, and I’ll admit, felt better right after. I don’t know how to describe it, but, just that one product alone got me curious about the rest of the items that they make. If they were anything half as good as this, they would be great. Especially since I have been trying to become more active. Being over thirty has made my recovery times a lot more than they used to be, so, this may be just what the doctor ordered.
That made me think a lot about where we’ve come with food and medicine. For all of the science and artificial everything, maybe my grandma and the people that came before us knew what was up with things. The answers to a lot of our problems were sitting in gardens, pots and growing wildly all around the world. Perhaps instead of fighting with nature, we should have been working with it. After all of these years of human existence, it looks like we are slowly starting to apply our knowledge to better our bodies. I mean, if people can use snake venom to make their skin look younger, then why can’t we use the plants that we know have been helpful to us for the better. Maybe, just maybe, Arcanum and their partners at Mary’s Nutritionals are one step closer to unlocking the potential that we all have.
I just wanted to thank Lindsey from Arcanum products for allowing me to chat with her and learn a few things. I feel as though that chat and the ones that came afterwards were invaluable in helping me understand the current state and future of athletic medicine. I hope that everyone who reads this can take a moment to check them out. I am just as excited writing this as I was learning about it. Thank you.
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete
For more information on the products mentioned here, please make sure to check out the Arcanum Home Page
This article was prepared or accomplished by Daniel Navarrete in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spektrum Magazine, or its affiliates.