In recent years CBD has been taking the world by storm and is now one of the most popular dietary supplements in the western world. This is mostly due to the many benefits associated with CBD – from easing the pain of arthritis and reducing the likelihood of epileptic episodes, to helping people manage anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
It’s many of these benefits that make it such a good match for those who like – or want – to engage in regular meditation practice, but what exactly is CBD, and should you be using it to assist with your meditation?
First of all – What is CBD?
CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in plants in the Cannabis family. It’s a naturally occurring substance that can be found in all cannabis plants, but the majority of CBD you can buy is from the Hemp plant, which has a lot of health benefits and none of the psychoactive ingredients that the THC in the marijuana plant does.
Unlike CBD’s cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive and no amount of it will get you high, so it’s completely safe to take on a day-to-day basis.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, which helps those receptors control various functions throughout the body such as appetite, mood, pain management, and memory retention. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory too, so it’s great for easing all those niggling aches and pains.
Because of its non-psychoactive properties, CBD is ideal for therapeutic use. In addition to treating the multiple forms of epilepsy, CBD has also been seen to be effective in relieving symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Is Using CBD for Meditation New?
The cultivation and use of hemp dates back to around 2900 BC in China, which is before the time meditation began to be recognised, which was around 1500 BC.
By the 1500s (CE), the use of hemp became so vital to the economy that growing it was actually required by all farmers in England. In fact, not growing hemp could result in a substantial fine. This practice continued when the Europeans started colonising North America.
So, hemp and cannabis aren’t new, and neither is the practice of meditation. In fact, there has been a connection between hemp and religion for some time. Bhang, a milk drink made out of hemp, is a popular part of Indian during many Hindu festivals and holidays.
Why Can Meditation Be So Difficult?
Meditation may be more difficult now than ever; our attention spans are shorter than they were ten or even five years ago. This is being reflected in the way we consume media, with altered filming methods and shorter musical introductions to cater to our need for constant stimulation. This change in our level of patience and stillness has occurred because we have so many ways to keep ourselves occupied. While this technological development means we have countless sources of entertainment, it also means that we’re constantly being distracted by one thought or another.
We’re also working more than ever. While Canada is better than some other countries around the world, such as the US and Japan, we still spend a huge percentage of our time working and worrying about all the different facets of our lives. There’s also common stressful situations that we encounter, all making it especially difficult to quiet our minds, whether it’s to meditate or simply fall asleep at night.
How CBD Can Help Your Meditation Practice
So, why could CBD be the answer to a better meditation session?
- CBD Manages Stress: Because CBD helps your body manage stress hormones, it can play a significant part in minimising those distracting thoughts that prevent you from meditation. Even if you continue to have anxious or worried thoughts, CBD will help you to let them pass you by and not engage with them, which is one of the keys to a successful meditation session.
- CBD Minimises Inflammation: It goes without saying that you’ll have an easier time meditating if you’re not distracted by physical discomfort. With a more heightened sense of calm, you can focus on your meditation whether you’re sitting quietly or doing yoga. CBD can reduce pain, directly impacting one’s ability to meditate & relax.
- Better Sleep: Some people who take CBD for anxiety have reported getting to sleep more easily, and getting a better quality of sleep. When you’re less anxious and better able to sleep from CBD, you’ll be in a much better state of mind for your meditation.
- Balanced Endocannabinoid System: Over the long term, taking CBD regularly can help to balance the endocannabinoid system which can, in turn, help your meditation practice by supporting healthier stress responses overall.
How to Use CBD for Meditation
There are various ways you can consume CBD for meditative purposes, depending on how long you’d like the effects to last, your personal preference and how quickly you want to feel the effects. For example, a CBD vape is the fastest, taking effect within as little as ten minutes, as once a substance is in the lungs it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Remember, when you vape CBD, the effects tend to last an hour or two.
You can also take CBD drops as an oil or tincture. These can have longer-lasting effects that will support calm throughout the day before and after you meditate. They tend to take effect after 40 minutes to 2 hours, but can last for 4-6 hours. Simply drop your dose under the tongue, hold it there for 60 seconds, and then swallow with a mouthful of water.
Other forms of CBD are available, so if smoking or vaping it isn’t for you, and you can’t stand the taste, taking it as a capsule or as an edible may be a better choice.
While buying CBD oil is now legal, there are many different options available. Top brands in the USA are NuLeaf Naturals or CBDistillery. For those ordering from Canada, some of the most popular brands include Honest Botanicals & Twisted Extracts – which can be found online at many dispensaries – the most popular being onlinedispensarycanada.ca which has many CBD (and THC) options.
It’s important to remember that while it is not a quick fix for anxiety or depression, taking CBD can help enhance your sense of calm. It has been proven to benefit the process of meditation and is advised to take CBD about 30-40 minutes before you begin your practice.
Try to use your CBD as part of a pre-meditation ritual, in which you follow the same routine to prepare and get you into the right headspace for your meditation. This routine varies from person to person, but can begin with some calming music, lighting a certain candle, or dimming the lights – do whatever makes you feel calm, at ease, and ready to meditate.