You are the Yin to my Yang
Anytime I research holistic solutions for specific health conditions, I always start with Traditional Chinese Medicine’s approach. TCM targets the root cause of the condition, in lieu of treating the symptoms, caused by the condition. TCM also follows a Yin-Yang philosophy, when diagnosing conditions and treating them with exercise, acupuncture, food, herbs & spices. The Yin-Yang Philosophy is a complex concept, but this article by the Acupuncture and Massage College, Miami, FL does a nice job of breaking it down and simplifying the overall idea.
Knowing the importance of the Yin-Yang balance to TCM philosophies, it comes as no surprise that cannabis has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. According to this article in Frontiers in Pharmacology, “Cannabis has been continually documented in Chinese medicine for ~1800 years. In the modern era, its achenes (commonly referred to as “seeds” and known in TCM as huomaren 火麻仁) are frequently used as a moistening laxative and are official in the Chinese Pharmacopeia (CP, 2015). All parts of the cannabis plant have been recorded in historical Chinese medical texts, including the achene (seed), female inflorescence, leaf, and root, as well as the cortex of the stalk and the water used to process the stalk into fiber. However, only the achenes (seeds) are currently used in clinical practice (Brand and Wiseman, 2008).”
Aligning with TCM beliefs, cannabis not only helps to achieve homeostasis (balance) in our bodies, by igniting our endocannabinoid system, but the herb has Yin-Yang balance within its compounds. For example, CBD is a Yin cannabinoid and THC is a Yang cannabinoid. This concept fits the argument that full-spectrum hemp/cannabis oil has more therapeutic properties than isolates, because of the entourage and synergy of all the cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant. They all work together to balance each other as well as balance your body.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Although the herb has both Yin and Yang properties within its compounds, the plant as a whole is considered a Yin herb, which means it strengthens your body’s Yin. To balance, you should combine cannabis with Yang strengthening activity, food, herbs or spices. It is important to always maintain a Yin-Yang balance within your food and activities and according to this article in The Cannabis Reporter, “Cannabis is said to strengthen the Yin, but it is rarely used on its own because using cannabis alone is considered unhealthy and toxic in TCM, as it may cause imbalances in the body. TCM practitioners do believe however, that excessive cannabis use can cause a deficiency of vitality, overtaxing the liver and costing the body its Yin energy.”
If you consume cannabis daily, that’s okay, just balance with Yang strengthening activity and diet. Exercise, including walking & yoga, is a great way to strengthen your Yang. This type of activity is also a great boost to your endocannabinoid system, driving homeostasis. Perhaps you are using cannabis daily because of chronic pain, which may not allow you to exercise, and that’s okay too. There are many Yang strengthening herbs and spices, like ginger, ginseng, cinnamon and garlic, which will help to balance your Yin-loving cannabis herb.
And let’s not forget the power of meditation. Cannabis and meditation have their own Yin-Yang synergy and have been used in tandem for centuries.