Yoga is becoming more and more popular in the Western society over the past couple of decades. Known as a stress reliever, yoga helps many people stay calm and focused in our modern fast-paced society.
With 55% of Americans reporting that they are stressed during the day, no wonder they’re always on the look for new ways to alleviate stress.
The increased acceptance of cannabis in our culture has offered another tool for combating stress. While medical marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, CBD, a non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp, is federally legal and gaining traction.
In this day-to-day fight with stress, spending more time in nature, yoga and CBD products are all aimed at healing and balancing our bodies.
Read below why CBD and yoga might form a perfect synergy for a well balanced life.
WHAT IS CBD?
There are over 100 different natural chemicals present in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most well known. Different species of cannabis plant carry different ratios of these cannabinoids.
Why is this important? From a legal standpoint, CBD derived from hemp is federally legal, while CBD derived from marijuana is not. The reason why marijuana is not legal is a large concentration of THC, the component known for getting you high.
For a hemp plant to be considered hemp and not marijuana, it must contain less than 0.3% THC.
CBD on the other hand has no mind-altering capabilities which made it an attractive option for people who want to enhance their health without any feelings of intoxication. Instead, most users say that CBD gives them a gentle sense of overall relaxation.
CBD ON THE YOGA MAT
If we had you at a gentle sense of overall relaxation, you would not be alone.
The consumer demand for CBD is somewhat of a phenomenon, with its use rising sharply over the past two years. By some estimates, the industry will be generating around 1.8 billion dollars by 2022.
While research is still in the work regarding the efficacy of CBD, Yogis everywhere are combining the two to enhance the benefits of each.
One research claims that CBD helps people deal with anxiety and stress, improves mood, and increases overall feelings of wellness.
CBD also seems to help control the internal chatter and reign in wandering thoughts. This is a plus if you are attempting more meditative-style yoga.
Some Yogis say that their post yoga recovery time is shortened. They seem to bounce back easier from muscle tension, joint pain, or strain.
To understand this, we need to take a look at the human body and its system called the endocannabinoid system.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has always been present in humans (an all mammals, actually). It consists of a network of receptors and signaling mechanisms so vast that it even outnumbers our neurotransmitters.
ECS is said to be placed in over 50 areas of the body. Its receptors control mood, appetite, temperature, pain, inflammation, sleep, and many other functions. In fact, without our endocannabinoid system, we could not sustain life.
The ECS works to regulate homeostasis in the body by interaction with cannabinoids. When our bodies are functioning correctly, we naturally produce these cannabinoids on our own.
Some researchers theorize a malfunction with the body’s ability to do this can cause what they have termed as an “endocannabinoid deficiency”, a condition that can bring about chronic issues.
When cannabinoids from outside of our own system are introduced to the body, it appears they help repair and regulate our ECS.
CBD AND ECS
Cannabinoids in cannabis are nearly identical to the ones we create ourselves. They are called phytocannabinoids, or plant cannabinoids. CBD is one of these.
CBD interacts with the ECS receptors to encourage them to increase the production of our natural cannabinoid. At the same time, CBD blocks the chemicals that interfere with the body’s ability to create endocannabinoids.
Many individuals find that taking CBD helps to prolong their feelings of bliss and calm after they have completed a session. This is similar to what is commonly known as “runners high”.
While this phenomenon was once thought to be a result of endorphins, it turns out that it may actually be caused by Anandamide, a neurotransmitter that means “bliss” in Sanskrit.
By suppressing the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, the euphoria from a good workout or yoga session lasts longer.
To put it simply, the good feelings you experience when practicing yoga may be more pronounced and prolonged by including CBD into your regimen.
CBD AND YOGA
Combining yoga and cannabis is not a new age thing. As a matter of fact, these two go way long and have an ancient connection. According to sacred Hindu spiritual texts called Vedas, cannabis is one of the five sacred plants.
Yoga and CBD are both effective for stress relief and clearing out your thoughts. Cannabinoids support yoga practice by increasing circulation, reducing muscle spasm and alleviating post-workout. CBD also decreases inflammation and helps with relieving pain.
While CBD won’t give you the high feeling, combined with you it has a potential to make you feel more than good.
CBD can be used both before after the yoga session. Taking it before a session would help to ease the muscles before those demanding postures. On the other hand, taking CBD afterwards could help to soothe the soreness or pain.
You can also take it both before and after the workout. Think about what you need. If you want to clear your mind, prior to workout would be a better choice. And, if you suffer any muscle pain or soreness, taking CBD afterwards would be more beneficial.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO START
There are many different CBD products available for purchase. Finding the right one for you may be a bit of a trial and error process.
The most common CBD product (and also the most well-known) is CBD oil. It comes in the form of a tincture and is intended to be taken sublingually for the best results. You place it under the tongue for 30 to 60 seconds and then swallow. Tinctures usually begin to work within 15 minutes to an hour.
CBD Capsules are another way to go. Usually found in the form of a soft gel, CBD capsules are a portable and convenient alternative to tinctures. These can also be quite effective, but their onset time could be longer.
Topical CBD products include salves, creams, lotions, bath bombs and other products that come into contact with the skin. These can be a relaxing and healing part of self-care. Many people use them to treat aches and pains associated with the stretching poses in yoga.
Topicals only work on the outer layer of the skin and don’t cross through to the bloodstream. That’s why they are best used as an addition to oils and capsules.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CBD AND YOGA
There is a lot of hype surrounding CBD and with good reason.
New studies are being published all the time that look at CBD as a viable alternative remedy for different conditions that don’t respond well to other treatments.
Though CBD and yoga work in synergy, it’s always best to consult a professional who has experience in the use of cannabis products and can guide you on its proper usage. This way you can experience the full potential of CBD.