4 Techniques to Have Balance & Wellness with Cannabis
It is now widely accepted that Cannabis can bring therapeutic relief to some people for some conditions.
Relief can be found among those with chronic stress conditions like Anxiety & Chronic Pain. This is certainly what happened in my case. The doctors said the pain was related to my anxiety and prescribed Prozac for treatment. The back pain went away, but I also felt like a Zombie and became depressed.
I heard that Medical Marijuana could help relieve anxiety & pain. So, I stopped taking Prozac and started smoking Marijuana (aka Cannabis). Although I found relief, I also didn’t know what I was doing. How much do I take? When should I take it? What kind should I take? Needless to say, it was fun experimenting.
Just like other powerful substances, like painkillers, carbs and alcohol, Cannabis can be abused. Although I found relief in Cannabis, I didn’t want to become dependent on it.
Yoga & mindfulness training gave me insight as to how to consciously work with these powerful substances. It allowed me to uncover how to use Cannabis therapeutically and responsibly.
Afterall, Cannabis was first recorded as medicine by Emperor Shen Neng of China back in 2,737 BC. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is noted as the God of Marijuana with Sadhus (Indian Holy Men) as his followers who smoke hashish as a symbol of devotion.
Cannabis Therapeutics brings together plant medicine, eastern philosophy, and western science to promote health and healing. This involves Cannabis as complementary medicine working together with lifestyle factors.
In Western science, the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System has brought to light a whole new system in our bodies. The Endocannabinoid System has receptors throughout the body that responds to Cannabinoids like THC & CBD, two compounds found in Cannabis. Research shows how the Endocannabinoid System is seen in the regulation of the endocrine system and energy balance (metabolism) as well as a wide range of conditions like anxiety, parkinsons, glaucoma, and obesity all of which is seen as a emerging target of pharmacotherapy. You can learn more about the Endocannabinoid System through UCLA & read more about how endocannabinoid deficiencies affect your wellbeing. I also wrote a few blogs on the endocannabinoid system’s influence on weight loss & mental health.
The endocannabinoid system is also directly related to the Central Nervous System. These systems both impact metabolism, immunity, mood, energy, digestion, and pain. The Endocannabinoid system and Nervous System can both be impaired by chronic stress.
Cannabis Therapeutics is used to bring the Endocannabinoid System back into balance and to restore overall wellness. In doing so, this also brings the nervous system into parasympathetic mode or “rest & digest” which is conducive to healing. The balance of the Endocannabinoid system is restored through Cannabis, Nutritional Therapy, Movement Therapy, and Stress Management.
Cannabis is not a magic pill. You won’t get the same health benefits if you’re using it recreationally. To use it therapeutically, there definitely needs to be a discussion with your
doctor. Cannabis is not recommended for everyone.
Next you’ll want to identify what health condition you want to remedy. What is your intention with Cannabis? This will help determine what type of Cannabis is most beneficial. There are several factors to consider when deciding on what type of Cannabis. For example, there are different strains, different forms of consumption (edibles, pre-rolls, tinctures, creams), and strength. You may also want to combine products like using topical creams combined with edibles for chronic pain.
Take into account your setting. Choose a location that is safe and comfortable (at home is always a good place to start). Lastly, you’ll need to consider dosing. In the new legal market, edibles and tinctures make it easier to experiment with that. If you’re new, start low dose which is 1-2 mg. Smoking is a little trickier. In both cases, start light and wait about 30 minutes (up to 1 hour with edibles) before consuming more.
Keep in mind the THC is psychoactive whereas CBD is not. Both have therapeutic benefits. I highly recommend working with a guide when planning to use Cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Interested in learning more? Join our Cannabis Lunch & Learn on January 4th!
In this type of Nutritional therapy, we’re looking at changing our relationship with food rather than following a specific diet. In my practice, I use Ayurveda as a nutritional guide. Here are 10 Rules for an Ayurvedic Eating by Dr. Deepak Chopra.
Fast eating and overeating stresses the digestive system. This stress can impair the Endocannabinoid system and the integrity of the metabolism. Fast eaters are more likely to experience acid reflux and gas because the stomach stresses with the amount of food coming in at one time. Overeating can easily make you feel sluggish and lethargic. Start by making small changes like setting a timer while you eat and then increasing the time at every session.
Fasting is also another way to relieve digestive stress. This is not recommended for everyone, especially if you have a history of eating disorders. I typically do a daily fast of 15 hours after an 8 hour eating period. That usually looks like, 7pm last meal and 11am the next day I break my fast. It’s not that difficult considering I’m sleeping most of that time. I usually do a fasted workout in the morning before I break fast.
Extreme workouts and busy lifestyles can leave your body feeling depleted. If there's an injury, or illness, you may also feel disconnected from our bodies. Movement therapy restores the mind, body, and spirit connection.
When I trained for fitness competitions, overtraining was my normal. I didn’t realize it was keeping my body in a stress response state. I was frustrated because I worked out hard, stuck to my strict diet, and still struggled to drop fat. It was overtraining that eventually lead to an injury. I became depressed because my injury became an obstacle for me to teach Zumba and earn money. I became a couch potato and knew I was going to go crazy if I didn’t start moving again. That’s how I got into Yoga. It was the only movement I could do and I look back now realizing that it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Today, I do less dance (3 days a week compared to 3 times a day) and more yoga. Dance, Walking, and Yoga are the main modalities I promote for Cannabis Therapeutics. Dance not only uplifts the spirit, but it also shakes away stress through fun upbeat music. Walking is gentle cardio and when you do it outside you get that extra nature boost. Yoga…..well I just can’t say enough about it other than commit to 3 months at least 3 times a week and your life will change.
According to the American Institute of Stress, the top causes of stress in the US are:
Job Pressure - coworker tension, bosses, overload
Money - loss of job, reduced retirement, medical expenses
Health - health crisis, terminal, or chronic illness
Relationships - divorce, death of a spouse, arguments with friends, loneliness
Poor Nutrition - inadequate nutrition, caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars
Media Overload - television, radio, internet, social media, email
Sleep Deprivation - inability to release adrenaline and other stress hormones
Learning how to manage perception, behavior and practicing healthy coping skills will help in relieving stress. Mindfulness Meditation and Buddhist philosophy is a way to be more conscious of these thoughts and feelings that drive behavior and affect our health. These are the same tools I use with my clients to help get grounded when life feels unmanageable. Stress is a part of life and can be a powerful catalyst for change. I struggled with stress management for many years and self-medicated with food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, and relationships to ease discomfort.
Stress can happen when we’re living in the extremes like eating too much sugar can cause digestive stress leading to obesity and eventually poor health. We can also experience stress from the opposite situation, like when I tried to give up sugar and I thought I was going to lose my mind. Feeling centered on a middle path is what we crave. It’s feeling grounded and balanced. You can practice some of these stress management techniques through Yin Yoga, Breathwork, Journaling, Compassionate Inquiry, and dancing!
These 4 techniques work best collectively and with a guide. Especially when working with Cannabis, it can take time to discover your therapeutic dosing. It also takes a consistent practice of implementing these techniques to experience a transformation. Practice makes progress.
We’re getting close to closing enrollment for our Cannabis Healing Program starting January 6th! If you’re interested in joining, schedule a discovery session with me ASAP! Click HERE to schedule a session!
*Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.