CBD and meditation: the calming combo
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The query, “how do you meditate?” pulls up more than 500 million hits on Google. If this tells us anything, it’s that millions of us are looking for ways to quiet and relax our minds and bodies.
Like meditation, CBD works to help treat anxiety, stress, and chronic pain—all physical and mental barriers that can make meditation challenging. Because CBD is being increasingly used with yoga practices to help naturally improve state of mind and body, CBD and meditation can also work hand in hand to help people achieve a more relaxed, comfortable state.
As mobile apps, online courses and even meditation studios pop up across the country, there is still a misconception that meditation is simply clearing the mind of all thoughts. Really, meditation is a practice to observe thoughts with no judgement, attaining awareness and focus, and finding positivity and connectivity with your thoughts and mind. Meditation has been proven to create clarity, feelings of calmness and relaxation, improve focus and concentration–and most importantly reduce stress and anxiety.
It’s no wonder that a study by the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in the US found that the use of meditation has tripled among American adults from 2012 to 2017 from 4.1% to 14.2%.
One of the many benefits of meditation is its accessibility. All one needs is a quiet place with few distractions, attaining a comfortable sitting or lying position, focus of attention and an open, positive attitude. With such busy, interconnected, technology and screen-driven lives, attaining focus and an open and calm attitude is sometimes the biggest challenge to meditation—or simply, sitting still.
CBD and meditation
CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (hemp and marijuana) and hemp-derived CBD does not contain the psychoactive properties of THC that make you high. This makes CBD safe for the majority of people. There is no lethally toxic level of CBD, which is true for all Cannabinoids—and there is no potential for physical addiction.
In small doses, CBD is also safe for children and pets. CBD oil for pets has been used to treat anxiety as well as arthritis and joint pain in dogs and other domestic animals.
The benefits of taking CBD before meditation include increasing focus and promoting a feeling of calmness. CBD interacts with our body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a group of receptors in our bodies’ central nervous system that specifically interact with cannabinoids like CBD to maintain homeostasis throughout the body – its purpose is to maintain balance, both mentally and physically. Our central nervous system helps regulate hormones including stress hormones like cortisol. Cannabinoids and the ECS are known to regulate hormone-related issues, such as anxiety.
By reducing feelings of anxiety and physical pain in the body, you are able to meditate and focus more clearly by removing the most common physical and mental barriers to meditation and achieving a calm state.
CBD can be used as a tool to achieve the full benefits of meditation. Think of it as the way blocks or straps are used in yoga to help people achieve a posture or position comfortably to fully attain yoga’s mental and physical benefits. CBD does the same for meditation as well as for sleep. While CBD does not exactly make you sleepy, the use of CBD can help alleviate symptoms that prevent good sleep such as anxiety, depression, stress and chronic pain.
As both meditation and CBD offer benefits of less stress, and more relaxation they become good partners in helping you achieve the best meditative state.
When to take CBD before your meditation practice
There are many forms of CBD products; oils, capsules, topicals and gummies. When and how to take CBD will depend on many things, including the type of CBD and the quality. Consuming CBD sublingually with a tincture (dropping CBD under the tongue) is one of the best ways to consume CBD as the dosing is precise and has a reasonably fast onset period, typically around 15 – 60 minutes and absorbs directly into the bloodstream.
Ingesting a CBD capsule, gummy or beverage can take about 25 – 90 minutes to feel effects and applying CBD topically through creams and lotions can take anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes, with slower onset.
These are approximate times and will depend on several other factors including the type of CBD, the quality of the CBD and personal factors such as body weight, body chemistry, symptoms being treated and method of consumption. But it’s good to keep in mind approximately how long before you start your practice to consume or use CBD to reap the full benefits.
What type of CBD to use for meditation?
When it comes to the type or form of CBD it’s up to personal preference, but it’s important to note the differences between full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD and isolate CBD.
Full spectrum CBD contains all compounds naturally found in the cannabis plant; these include essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, terpenes, flavonoids, and low levels of other cannabinoids. Consuming full spectrum CBD allows your body to benefit from the whole plant, which can improve absorption levels. This is commonly referred to as the Entourage Effect. The Entourage Effect relates to the synergistic relationship of naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis by consuming the full spectrum, or whole plant. The cannabinoids, terpenes (essential oils found in plants), and flavonoids found in cannabis have been shown to work better when they are taken together as opposed to in isolation from each other. By using full spectrum CBD (such a resolveCBD) your body can benefit from the Entourage Effect.
Broad spectrum CBD, similar to full spectrum also contains all the cannabinoids found in the plant, however the THC has been virtually fully removed. As a result, there are no risks of the effects of THC, especially when derived from marijuana (when derived from hemp, THC is naturally low and is therefore less common for broad spectrum extracts).
Finally, there is isolate CBD. Isolate CBD is 99% pure CBD, in which the whole plant extract has been further refined to isolate the CBD compound, thereby removing all other cannabinoids and plant essential oils and amino acids. Basically, all cannabinoids except CBD have been removed during the refining process. Isolate CBD is considered the purest form of CBD, but without the other cannabinoids and compounds, cannot deliver the above-mentioned Entourage Effect that full spectrum CBD delivers.
Studies have shown that full spectrum CBD products are more effective to help relieve pain, anxiety and effects of inflammation compared to isolate CBD products of the same dose. This can be attributed to that synergistic effect and interaction between the various cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in a whole plant extract.
If your goal is to elevate your meditation practice by fully relaxing the body and calming the mind, full spectrum CBD products may be best for you. But it may take some trial and error and experimenting to find the best form of CBD for you personally.
How much CBD should you use?
Just like the experimenting mentioned above to find the best form, this will also take some trial and error. However, there are best practice recommendations and the key piece of advice is to start with a low dose and go slow.
For those new to CBD the recommended dose is 5 – 10 mg daily and increasing the dose slowly by about 5 mg every 2 – 3 days as needed to find the right dose for your needs. CBD is bi-phasic, meaning there is an optimal dose range for each individual and their use of CBD. The typical dose range is between 10 – 40 g a day. The right dose for everyone will be different especially considering the symptoms you’re trying to treat with CBD also. Always check with your physician or health professional if you’re unsure about consuming CBD and how much you should use.
Like any new hobby or sport, meditation takes practice. Even a dose of CBD here and there before you sit or lie down to quiet your thoughts and find calmness may not help the first or even second time. Experts say meditating daily, even for 5-10 minutes can help build the habit and improve the chances of making meditation part of your daily routine long-term.
So, while CBD can certainly be the ultimate tool in helping you achieve your physical and mental goals with meditation, it still requires some work to make the practice truly work for you.