MEDITATION AND CBD: THE CALMING COMBO
Kirsten Thornhill |
If you try and stay up-to-date in the world of holistic health and lifestyle medicine, then you’ve probably heard about meditation and you’ve probably heard about CBD, maybe once or twice.
Meditation has been around for centuries. Whether you’re a meditative beginner or have been developing your meditative practice for ages or you’ve never even thought about meditating until now, research suggests that it may influence your health, supporting your mind, and inner calm.
Within the last 10 years, researchers have also suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) may provide wonderful health benefits, including reductions in pain and inflammation.
So what happens when we blend CBD oil and meditation together?
Let’s first start with “ommmmm”.
WHAT IS MEDITATION
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation can be described as a mind and body practice used for increasing calmness, physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with ailments, and enhancing one’s overall health and well-being. Most meditative techniques started in Eastern traditions and religions, relying on meditation to bring about calm and balance.
A 2017 National Health Interview Survey found that US adults who used meditation in the past year tripled between 2012 - 2017.
WHAT DOES MEDITATION LOOK LIKE
Well, there are many types of meditation, but most have 4 elements in common:
- Comfortable posture
- Focus of attention
- Open attitude
- Quiet location with few distractions
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Hundreds of studies have investigated different variations of meditation. From easing symptoms of anxiety and depression, to helping reduce pain and blood pressure, to helping improve overall quality of life - researchers are thrilled on how meditation can help so many different people.
A 2015 complementary health study found that 8.0% of US adults used meditation. That’s 18 million adults!
Published in 2018, a team of researchers in Italy investigated the effects of meditation and its long-lasting changes in the brain. Researchers found that when comparing the meditator group with the control group, the meditators had a significantly higher degree of the theta band, in the right hippocampus compared to the control group.
This study suggested that meditation might have a potential role in improving cognitive functions.
Other benefits of meditation may include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced stress
- Improved attention and focus
- Lowered heart rate
- Better sleep
With an increasing rise in popularity, CBD is making its mark in the cannabis industry, with a thick, felt marker (so to speak). Cannabidiol stop-in shops, companies, and e-commerce websites are booming with traffic - people are curious. Whether they’ve heard about CBD from word-of-mouth, social media, a friend of a friend, a billboard advertisement on the freeway, or a simple internet search, it’s bound to come up in your daily life or someone you know’s daily life.
So how did this cannabinoid come about?
Well, scientists in the early 1960s discovered that CBD compounds could be isolated, extracted, and diluted with oil. This was a huge deal!
This excited other scientists and researchers to start their own exploration studies about this incredible herb. They later discovered that CBD was actually counteractive to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
Cannabidiol is commonly referred to as CBD. It’s the non psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. It won’t get you “high” or have you feeling “euphoric”.
Typically, this cannabinoid can be formed into 3 different variations:
contains many compounds found within the cannabis plant, but has 0% THC
contains all the compounds that naturally occur within the cannabis plant, including essential oils, other phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and < 0.3% THC
the most pure and basic crystallized form, containing no other terpenes, flavonoids, or cannabinoids
Any of these variations can be administered in a wide array of ways, including:
So how does it work within our bodies?
CBD AND MEDITATION
Cannabis has been used across the world for thousands and thousands of years. Interestingly enough, meditation has been around dating back to 1500 B.C. Interesting how the two have similarities in how they have impacted people’s lives for ages and ages. Is this a bridge connecting these two together?
Cannabidiol supports the endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS. The ECS works with other organ systems to maintain a balance in homeostasis. Having balanced hormones and chemicals in the brain are necessary to maintain this homeostasis. When you’re mentally and or physically stressed, your body produces high levels of stress hormones. Here’s where meditation may come into the picture.
A balanced ECS can help you meditate in 2 ways:
1. SUPPORTING HEALTHIER STRESS RESPONSES
As your ECS becomes healthier, it can help promote neurotransmitter levels within the brain, daily stresses may not feel as overwhelming.
2. EASES YOU TO STILL YOUR BODY AND MIND
When you have less worries to focus on, it’s easier to be one with yourself for a while, without those anxious thoughts constantly interrupting. Taking CBD oil an hour or two before you meditate could help you get into a zen state of mind.
CAN CBD HELP YOU MEDITATE
All in all, there have been very few studies that have conclusively studied CBD oil and meditation and whether or not they are more effective taken together. That being said, anecdotal evidence is what you’ll have to base off of for now, at least.
However, we do know that by themselves, CBD oil and meditation are independently capable of helping a person relax and feel a sense of calmness.
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Over the last 10 years, endocannabinoid research has been deemed one of the fastest growing fields in psychopharmacology. Recent studies have shown that CBD may have pain altering effects, anti-seizure properties, anti-inflammatory properties, as well as anti-anxiety effects.
Would you believe me if the same was to be said about meditation studies? Probably not, but here’s the research to take us a look closer.
A recent 2015 study by Zeidan and colleagues investigated how and if mindfulness meditation could help relieve pain. This study found that subjects in the mindfulness meditation group showed reduced pain compared to subjects in the sham group.
In 2017, the World Health Organization published their Cannabidiol Review Report. This report contained an overview of different ailments and diseases for which CBD may have therapeutic benefits. Two things: 1. Pain was listed as a major ailment on this chart. 2. Next to it stated CBD provides analgesic effects in patients with pain resistance to other treatments.
CBD DOSE FOR MEDITATION
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer here. When thinking about taking any new supplement, always consult with your physician first. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always good to start “low and slow” when incorporating a new supplement into your routine. If you decide to try a CBD tincture, it will come with a dropper with the measurements outlined on the droplet.
We recommend starting with half the recommended dosage and increase from there. Whether you are taking CBD in the morning to start your day or taking it an hour or two before your guided meditation session, you may reap the beautiful benefits of cannabidiol.
5 BENEFITS OF MEDITATION AND CBD
1. A SENSE OF RELAXATION
Studies have independently indicated that meditation and cannabidiol can help provide you with a sense of relaxation.
2. HELPS YOUR INNER FOCUS
Spiritual meditation, guided meditation, or mindfulness meditation, whichever it may be, may help bring you a sense of inner focus. It may take a few tries to feel like you’re actually meditating, but keep trying!
3. MAY REDUCE ANXIETY
The endocannabinoid system is constantly working so hard to keep us in a harmonious balance of homeostasis. Meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety as well as help individuals better regulate their stress responses.
4. A SENSE OF WAKEFULNESS
CBD has been suggested to be a wake-inducing agent, possibly providing users a “boost of energy”.
Meditation has a long history of use for enhancing overall health and well-being. Mind and body practices focus on the interactions between the brain, mind, body, and behavior.
5. MAY REDUCE PAIN
A small 2016 study found that mindfulness meditation helped to control pain.
A 2017 rat study found that administration of cannabidiol assisted in pain relief and or the reduction of pain aversiveness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States alone, it has been estimated that 50 million (20.4%) of adults experience chronic pain.
CBD OIL AND MEDITATION: FINAL THOUGHTS
Is there more research to be done for cannabidiol and meditation in combination? Absolutely. The findings and results that have been done on cannabidiol and meditation, independently, thus far, have been quite eye-opening though.
CBD’s ability to help focus the mind and create an overall body calmness is incredible! In addition to cannabidiol being able to help promote relaxation, it can reduce inflammation, reduce anxiety, as well as aid in recovery (+ so much more).
The best thing you can do is to give meditation and CBD a try and experience the promoting feelings of calmness for yourself. Meditation is a personal and on-going practice to help improve your overall well-being and health, maybe there’s room for CBD in that practice too.
This combination could be just what you’ve been looking for to find your ultimate chill.
*DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.
Nanocraft SciencesContent Writer x Physiologist x ResearcherKirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small farm town in Northern California. Kirsten graduated with a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University. She is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur during exercise in active individuals and athletes. Kirsten has specialized in teaching clinical and practical exercise and rehabilitation applications. She enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of lifetime movement, holistic and lifestyle medicine, and health research and development. Her passion for alternative medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.
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