The country that pioneered “wellness” is adopting cannabis as a cure


For centuries, Switzerland has led the way when it comes to what we now call “wellness,” peddling the healing powers of crisp Alpine air, clear blue skies, and fine Swiss botanicals. In the 1800s, Alexander Spengler, a German refugee working as a country doctor in the remote hamlet of Davos, developed a spa where victims of tuberculosis were prescribed walks in the brisk mountain air, marmot-fat chest rubs, and frigid showers. At the turn of the century Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner fought disease with a raw-food diet, giving rise to Switzerland’s still-popular version of overnight oats, Bircher Muesli. And of course Johanna Spyri’s children’s book of the same era depicted a little girl, Heidi, whose illness was healed by Swiss herbs and mountain air.  Today, those healing herbs might well include cannabis. Cannabidiol—the non-psychotropic chemical compound of cannabis that’s also known as CBD—is catching on in the now-global wellness community as a treatment for anxiety, joint pain, PTSD, menstrual cramps, insomnia, nausea, seizures, inflammation, and more. In Switzerland’s cities, the stuff has quickly become ubiquitous—standard fare in pharmacies, convenience stores, and a new crop of dispensaries. Unlike THC, the most famous of cannabinoids for its ability to get us high, CBD promises mental and physical benefits without the giggles, paranoia, or couch-lock. The country that pioneered “wellness” is adopting cannabis as a cure

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