Recently, while flicking through Instagram, I saw Yoga Girl’s story – a picture of a vaporiser and a caption expressing her enthusiasm for CBD. If there was anything that solidified the yoga community’s growing interest in cannabis as a healing aid, this was it. At the same time, she released a podcast episode titled ‘What if we all just did whatever the f*ck we want?’ where she discusses CBD oil and how ingesting it through a vaporising pen has had incredible benefits for her asthma.
Beyond that, there are yogis near and far who are boasting the benefits of cannabis for mental and physical health. @trippytreez @karma_stoned and @yogaandweed are just some of Insta-yoga celebs promoting cannabis as the perfect yoga companion. These yogis share images of toking whilst striking a pose and promote yoga classes that combine the two. The benefits? Heightened sensory awareness, improved ease of movement and a deeper sense of connection – for a start.
In Australia the legalities around marijuana consumption mean that most of these practices are off-limits for us. But one way that alternative health enthusiasts are accessing the potential of this super-plant is through CBD oil.
Cannabis, Marijuana, Hemp & CBD: What’s the difference?
Hemp products (like hemp seeds, oil and materials) are extracted from hemp, and CBD oil is extracted from marijuana. The THC (psychoactive compound of the plant) is removed from both hemp seed oil and CBD oil. But because hemp seed oil contains little to no CBD, the benefits of CBD cannot be accessed via hemp oil. However, CBD oil (obviously) contains CBD, and its users can therefore reap the benefits of this particular compound.
Put simply, CBD oil and hemp seed oil will not get you stoned! And, while hemp seed oil has some wonderful benefits, CBD oil is next level.
Despite CBD oil’s low levels of THC, and hence no psychoactive effects, it is still illegal to take internally in Australia. So, when CBD oil is sold here, it is sold as a topical product, not to be ingested.
Celebrating CBD: The benefits
It’s only recently that researchers have been investing energy into exploring CBD oil. One current study, headed by a Harvard professor, is looking at the potential for CBD oil to relieve women of menstrual pain and discomfort.
Research from 2014 indicated that CBD has a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain, which may be useful in treating depression. Current studies are looking at CBD oil’s impact on everything from acne to sleep apnoea, and research is even going into how CBD can support cancer patients. Of course it’s early days yet, but there’s at least been a big swing of the pendulum from viewing marijuana and all of its components as terrifying drugs to something potentially health-benefiting.
Why the yogis are loving CBD
While the research is still growing, there’s so much anecdotal evidence to support the benefits of CBD oil. Yoga Girl credits CBD to not needing to use her asthma inhaler anymore. Jolie Parcher, a New York based yoga teacher and studio owner explains that CBD “helps to quiet that ‘drunken monkey mind’” as well as provide relief for aches and pains and allow students to move more freely due to its anti-inflammatory properties. There’s even a yoga teacher in southern California who calls herself ‘The CBD Yoga Teacher’ who has experienced extraordinary relief through the use of the oil and so integrates it into her classes. She says, “CBD has by far out performed any and every anxiety/PTSD medication I have ever tried.”
Research-backed benefits of CBD oil
While we shouldn’t accept CBD as a cure-all, studies have and continue to support its healing properties. Research has indicated that CBD can help with the relief of:
- – Inflammation and pain
- – Depression and anxiety
- – Nausea and vomiting
- – Epilepsy and seizures
- – Diabetes
Words by Jessica Humphries for Australian Yoga Journal.