An Ayurvedic Approach to the use of Cannabis to treat Anxiety By: Danielle Bertoia

At (approximately) nearly 5000 years old, Ayurveda is touted as being one of, if not the oldest healing modality on the planet. The word Ayurveda translates from Sanskrit to “The Science of Life” and is based on the theory that each of us are a unique blend of the 5 elements that make up the known Universe and our planet. Earth, air, fire, water and ether all combine together to create our physical form. When living in harmony with the rhythms of nature and in accordance to our unique constitution, health prevails. When we step outside of our nature by eating foods that are not appropriate, exposing ourselves to outside stressors, and by ignoring the power of our internal knowing, we then leave ourselves vulnerable to dis-ease.

Doshic theory reveals to us that these 5 elements then combine with one another to create 3 Doshas. Air and Ether come together to create Vata, Fire and Water to create Pitta and Earth and Water to create Kapha. As we take our first breath upon birth, we settle into our Primary, Secondary and Tertiary doshas, also known as our Prakruti. This becomes our initial blueprint, our Health Touchstone if you will, which we will spend our lifetimes endeavoring to preserve. As time and experience march on, we may begin to experience a distancing from this initial blueprint, a disconnect from our true health, also known as our Vikruti. Outside stress, incorrect food choices, our personal karma and incorrect seasonal diet can all contribute to an imbalanced state within the doshas. By then looking to the qualities of the imbalance we can apply opposing qualities to draw the doshas back into harmony.

When looking specifically to Anxiety and seeking to treat it medicinally with Cannabis, we must first understand the nature of Vata dosha, as well as it’s 5 vayus. Vata dosha is comprised of Air and Ether, is cold, light, dry, mobile, rough, subtle and clear. Vata is responsible for movement, motor function, circulation, respiration and sensory function. Each of these functions are assigned to a particular Vayu, or sub-dosha of Vata. To understand Anxiety more clearly from an Ayurvedic perspective, we examine both Vyana and Prana vayu for disturbances.

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