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Cannabis Wellness: Combining Yoga and Marijuana

benefits of combining cannabis and yoga

Cannabis and yoga have both surged in popularity over the past couple of decades. As legalization spreads, more people are discovering the therapeutic benefits of marijuana. At the same time, yoga has firmly entered the mainstream as an accessible way to reduce stress, increase flexibility, and find inner peace.

Given their complementary effects, it’s no surprise that many yogis are incorporating marijuana into their practice. Some use cannabis beforehand to relax both body and mind before contorting into challenging poses. Others find it enhances their mindfulness during yoga, allowing them to tune out distractions and be fully present. A growing body of scientific research is also revealing the potential synergy between yoga, cannabis, and wellness.

The Science Behind Cannabis Yoga

Several studies have found that yoga and marijuana can work together to relieve aches and pains, reduce inflammation, improve mood, and decrease stress and anxiety.

Pain Relief

Both cannabis and yoga have been shown to alleviate aches and pains, especially from conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and nerve damage. Combining marijuana with yoga may provide greater pain relief than either intervention alone, research suggests.

The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a key role in modulating pain. Both phytocannabinoids from marijuana and endocannabinoids produced naturally in the body interact with ECS receptors throughout the nervous system. This helps explain marijuana’s painkilling properties.

Meanwhile, studies show yoga also reduces sensitivity to pain signals. It appears to do so by calming parts of the brain involved in processing pain via the ECS. Doing yoga poses while under the influence of cannabis doubles down on this effect.

Reduced Inflammation

Chronic inflammation drives many age-related diseases, from heart disease to diabetes. The phytocannabinoids in cannabis, especially CBD and THC, have potent anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Yoga also curbs inflammation, likely by lowering stress hormone levels.

Combining marijuana and yoga may provide greater anti-inflammatory benefits than either alone, which could support long-term health.

Improved Mood

Both cannabis and yoga are known natural mood boosters. Marijuana’s psychoactive THC content can induce temporary euphoria and relaxation. Several cannabis compounds also influence serotonin receptors involved in mood regulation.

Studies likewise confirm yoga can decrease anxiety while enhancing feelings of emotional, social, and psychological well-being. This may occur due to yoga’s effects on the body’s endocannabinoid, opioid, and dopamine systems — key pathways altered by cannabis as well.

Doing yoga while high reinforces these biological changes, making cannabis yoga a potential mood elevator.

Decreased Stress and Anxiety

Cannabis is increasingly used as a remedy for stress, worry, and social anxiety. Compounds like CBD appear to dampen the body’s stress response. This includes lowering the production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Research shows yoga also curbs levels of cortisol and other stress biomarkers. Combining marijuana and yoga may, therefore, provide greater stress relief than either intervention alone. Less stress translates into reduced anxiety and improved resilience.

Best Practices for Cannabis Yoga

If you’re new to cannabis yoga, start low and go slow. Here are some best practices to maximize the experience:

  • Microdose: Take only 2-3 mg of THC or a 1:1 balanced THC/CBD tincture before yoga. This will provide a gentle high without causing intoxication.
  • Know your tolerance: Don’t overdo it before yoga class. Being overly high can impair balance and coordination.
  • Hydrate: Drink extra water before, during, and after class. Cannabis and yoga can both lead to dehydration.
  • Choose relaxing strains: Opt for indicas or hybrids over sativas, which can exacerbate anxiety. Northern Lights, Blue Dream, and Girl Scout Cookies are good options.
  • Pick soothing yoga styles: Gentler styles like yin, restorative, and hatha yoga suit cannabis enhancement better than intense power yoga.
  • Have CBD on hand: In case you get uncomfortably high, CBD can help level you out.
  • Consider topicals: Applying CBD cream or balm before or after yoga aids recovery and won’t alter your headspace.
  • Be discreet: Avoid smoking or vaping right before yoga class out of respect for others. Stick to tinctures or edibles that won’t disturb those around you.

Cannabis Yoga Poses to Try

Certain yoga poses may be especially complementary to cannabis’ effects. Here are some soothing, relaxing poses to incorporate into your cannabis-enhanced yoga sessions:

Child’s Pose

This resting pose calms the mind, gently stretches hips and thighs, and helps you tune into the present moment. Holding child’s pose for several breaths while under the influence of marijuana promotes deep relaxation.

Legs Up the Wall

Inverting the lower body against a wall naturally improves blood flow and reduces swelling in the legs. Combine with cannabis, and this pose becomes profoundly relaxing.

Reclined Bound Angle

Lying supine with the soles of the feet together and knees splayed outward stretches the inner thighs and groin while opening the chest and shoulders. This is another restorative pose that is ideal for cannabis yoga.

Forward Fold

Whether seated or standing, folds release tension in the back body. They feel incredible while high, encouraging surrender and quiet introspection.

Savasana

Every yoga practice concludes with savasana, or corpse pose. Lying flat on your back, fully supported by the floor, you’ll drift into a deeply meditative state under cannabis’ influence.

The Bottom Line on Cannabis Yoga

An increasing number of yogis are turning to cannabis as both a wellness aid and performance enhancer. While marijuana shouldn’t replace a regular yoga practice, combining cannabis and yoga may provide amplified therapeutic benefits. 

Always consume responsibly, know your tolerance, and pick relaxing strains if partaking before yoga. 

Avoid mixing cannabis and intense physical activity like hot yoga or power yoga. Overall, cannabis yoga can be a soothing form of mind-body medicine when done safely and consciously.

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