Good health is the greatest treasure any of us can hope to maintain in life. All over the world, people have ways of staying fit, eating right and nurturing their spirituality. One method in particular has recently been gaining popularity, but it’s nothing new—in fact it’s ancient, and by most accounts at least 2000 years old. It’s called Ayurveda.
An Ancient Method of Balance
Ayurveda is all about balance. It’s an ancient system of keeping the mind and body in harmony to achieve and maintain health. In addition to simple lifestyle guidelines, it also utilizes many herbs, including cannabis, to help and to heal. The name Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit word “ayu” which means life, and “veda” which translates to knowledge. It was initially practiced in India, but this ancient method of well-being is now practiced all around the world and has helped many on their journey to health.
According to Ayurveda, the universe and everything in it is comprised of five essential elements: Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. These elements are combined to form “doshas,” or categories, comprised of Vata: air and ether; Pitta: water and fire; Kapha: earth and water. These doshas are present in all of us and determine our personality, body type and our own personal path to wellness, depending on which qualities are dominant. There is no standard method of wellness in Ayurveda; instead each individual has their own path to maintain personal balance. Ayurveda doesn’t tell you to “do this,” or “abstain from that,” and instead takes into account each individual’s unique needs. Even an individual’s cannabis consumption is connected to their dominant doshas.
Cannabis and Ayurveda
To find out more about Ayurveda and cannabis I spoke with Eden Tosch, teacher of Ayurveda and creator of Swerve Confections, an edibles company that utilizes Ayurvedic herbs in their recipes. “I’m very pro-cannabis—I just want to put that out there,” Tosch tells me. “But cannabis is considered by Ayurveda to be a visha, or ‘poison,’ and it is considered to be aggravating to all three of the doshas. Ayurveda does not have, at least classical Ayurveda does not have, the stance that cannabis is just this easy harmless herb that anybody can use at any point. Ayurveda takes a cautious approach when it comes to cannabis.”
According to Ayurveda, cannabis has drying and heating effects on our bodies, which need to be counteracted in some way to avoid creating an imbalance. She also said that many remedies in Ayurveda use cannabis, but only in conjunction with other herbs, and it is treated with cold, running water. The Ayurvedic remedies created at Swerve use ice-water hash in conjunction with other herbs to create different formulas, depending on what needs balancing. These include remedies for energy, sleep and even intimacy. Tosch tells me, “I like to think the other herbs are pointing you in the direction you’re going to get the effects from, and the cannabis—the hash—is sort of the fuel.”
This holistic and ancient practice is at once simple and complex, and certainly has more wisdom to it than can be conveyed here. But what can be taken away from this brief introduction is that your journey to health is unique to your personal circumstance. Ayurveda is simply a method, a tool for understanding what that health might look like. If you’re searching for balance in your life and in your cannabis use, Ayurveda may be an excellent option on your journey to wellness.