Wellness is a goal that has always been sought after, the desire to achieve the perfect balance of the body and mind. In recent years, plant-based wellness has gained a lot of traction, reaching a seemingly cult-like status. However, the aspiration for good health isn’t a modern trend. Years of ancient history prove that achieving wellbeing has always been considered valuable.
Like the age-old system of medicine known as Ayurveda. A traditional system founded in the Indian subcontinent, it combines the natural synergy of plant extracts and holistic remedies as a way to resolve and rebalance ailments of the body. And it is this very system that has inspired the modern way of plant-based wellbeing.
The revival of this ancient form of wellbeing has also brought with it its vast roster of remedies, rituals and ancient herbs. In this list of native, power-packed herbs, there is one ancient plant that finds itself at the centre of modern wellness trends, Cannabis. The leafy plant that was often widely stigmatised is now at the helm of the growing world of wellbeing and has carved its way to becoming a valuable herb for wellness and health. And with good reason.
With every single part of the plant essential in one way or another, it is no surprise why Cannabis is the most talked about. The treasure trove of teachings in the Vedas is rife with remedies and tips that make use of Cannabis in a variety of different ways and forms. Through these vast teachings of Ayurveda, it was able to cement itself as a vital medicinal herb used in traditional remedies for centuries.
From nutrition to wellness, the avenues of wellbeing with Cannabis are plenty. Widely, Cannabis/Hemp based products have two distinct sources - Seed based and Leaf-based. The main differentiating aspect here is the part of the plant they are sourced from, such as the seeds of the plant or from the leaf. So while they may originate from the same plant, they all widely differ in their composition and the effect they have.
As extensive as it is, the vast roster of Cannabis and its various forms can often feel daunting to approach and explore. But with our simple guide, we hope to quash this apprehension and introduce you to the wonderful world of wellbeing powered by this miracle plant.
Nubs of Nutrition and Nourishment
One of the major qualities that set hemp seeds apart from the leaf is their composition. Unlike the extracts of the leaf, Hemp seeds are devoid of any psychoactive or mood-altering compounds such as THC and are in fact known for their powerful nutritional value. A quality that made Hemp a common ingredient in the Himalayan households and communities it is native to.
Hemp Seeds are packed with essential omega fatty acids and are considered one of the richest plant-based sources of omega 3 and omega 6. They also boast of having the ideal 3:1 golden ratio of omega 3: omega 6. These little seeds are also packed with fibre and protein including all 9 essential amino acids.
Another versatile yet nutritionally rich way to include the power of hemp seeds in everyday life is with Hemp Seed Oil. Cold-pressed to preserve its nutritional integrity, this lightweight yet luxurious feeling oil is truly an ace at building health from the inside and out. As a part of a diet, it is an excellent nutritional garnish, while topically it is a soothing salve for dry, irritated skin.
While they may be minuscule, Hemp seeds hold a nutritional profile that rivals some of the more generically well-known superfoods and seeds.
The Leaf and its Concentrates
Apart from being a nutritive superhero, Cannabis is also adept in the world of healing and wellness, being the star ingredient of many ayurvedic concoctions and blends. Several compositions of the ancient texts feature remedies using the natural extracts from the crushed leaves of the Cannabis plant. This potent mix was used as an anti-inflammatory and antipyretic medicine. Due to its soothing and calming properties, it was even used to create anaesthetics for surgery.
The reason why it is such a powerful holistic remedy is due to its ability to function with the body’s natural systems. Cannabis extract is rich in a compound called CBD or cannabidiol which is similar to the endocannabinoids present in the body. When consumed, it can help replenish the endocannabinoids reserves, helping bring the body back to its optimal state of functioning.
From mild inflammation and physical discomfort to chronic disorders of pain, sleep and anxiety, Cannabis extract can be used to regulate the body’s natural balance and promote a healthy recovery from several chronic ailments.
When it comes to the leaf of the Cannabis plant, there is an entire spectrum of varying concentrations and compositions. What makes each of these various types unique is how they differ in their effect due to the presence or absence of certain compounds.
There are three commonly known concentrates of Cannabis extract namely Isolates, Broad Spectrum and Full spectrum.
Isolated Concentrates, commonly known as CBD Isolate
The leaf of the Cannabis plants is composed of a variety of different compounds. From this mix of complex molecules, CBD or Cannabidiol is considered the most beneficial due to its affinity to supporting the natural endocannabinoid system.
To obtain the highest concentration of available CBD, the extracts of the leaf are synthetically purified which results in a strain of pure CBD. This is known as CBD Isolates or Isolated CBD. They are beneficial in many cases, especially those looking for only CBD based solutions for relief from a variety of ailments ranging from inflammation, pain to even anxiety. However, being a CBD only solution created through synthetic processing it is not considered a holistic or Ayurvedic remedy and often lacks the positive benefits brought about by the several other Cannabis compounds found in the leaf.
Broad Spectrum Cannabis
Unlike Isolated CBD, the broad-spectrum extracts are a much more complex mixture. Broad-spectrum extracts feature CBD along with a few other compounds such as phenols and terpenes but are devoid of any presence of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Created using specialised extraction techniques it features a wider spectrum of compounds as compared to Isolates and hence has several extra benefits as compared to the Isolated CBD. However, its specialised composition and alternative processing techniques limit this extract to not be used as a part of any Ayurvedic remedies and medicines.
The Full Spectrum of Cannabis
When the extract is left to its natural composition without any alteration, it results in an all-encompassing concentrate known as Full spectrum Cannabis extract. As the name suggests this extract features the entire profile of Cannabis leaf compounds including CBD, terpenes, flavonoids as well as THC.
This collective composition creates a unique synergy resulting in more powerful and potent therapeutic effects also known as the entourage effect. Full Spectrum extracts follow the Ayurvedic principle of maintaining the plant's natural integrity and this is what makes Full Spectrum cannabis extract as one of the most efficient Cannabis-derived medicinal extracts.
The roster for Cannabis-based solutions is constantly growing, creating an endless pool of solutions to pick from. Yet, there is a certain advantage to the traditional homegrown principles of Ayurvedic remedies.
While they may be ancient, they work on the simple philosophy of utilising the body’s synergy with nature. Unlike modern solutions, traditional remedies adapt to our body’s natural rhythm and heal from the inside out, working in tandem with the body and making them a holistic all-rounded solution.
Hence Ayurvedic remedies have been known to rely on the natural synergy of full-spectrum Cannabis as a powerfully potent yet extremely gentle way to make the most of the plant’s natural capabilities in a way that is familiar to the body.
There is much more to be discovered when it comes to unlocking the full potential of this plant. Cannabis continues to grow in popularity yet still finds itself hidden behind a cloud of stigma and misinformation. With the right education and understanding, Cannabis can aid and enrich an even larger spectrum of ailments and issues.
Only when this positive mindset is paired with the plant’s innate versatility can Cannabis continue to pave the way for a greener and healthier future. And like the unchanging teachings of Ayurveda, the ancient plant of Cannabis can become the powerhouse that enriches everyday life.
Written by Shamooda Amrelia, Doorbeen Creatives