“Spirit science” and holistic health are big trends right now, and the widespread normalization of cannabis is playing to that piqued interest in the mind-body connection.
Through visionary art and films, meditation practices, and herbal medicine, people everywhere are looking for ways to enhance their spirituality, and become healthier as a result.
About a month ago, popular internet blog BoingBoing shared a detailed infographic outlining the seven chakras, along with the types of cannabis strains that can activate each one, ranging from “clear sativas” to “heavy indicas.” The chart was created by artist Jody Radzik for Berkeley Patients Care Collective, one of the Bay Area’s largest dispensaries, and has been shared widely as a source of new information for health-conscious cannabis users.
Using cannabis definitely can be a spiritual experience, but can specific strains really have measurable effects on the seven chakras? Lots of readers asked me about the validity of the chart, so I decided to ask an expert.
Seeta Narsai is a Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine, and I knew she would have some answers as to the spiritual properties of various strains. She has been practicing Indian medicine for years and is currently writing a book related to the physical and spiritual properties of cannabis.
MERRY JANE: What exactly are the chakras, and how are they typically activated?
Seeta Narsai: The chakras are the seven energetic centers of the body. They can be activated through a variety of means: meditation, mantras, intention, prayer, and also food and lifestyle. Herbs—and cannabis—are a big part of that.
Looking at the chart, the chakra-activating effects seem to be related directly to the typical terpene profiles of different strains. Many cannabis terpenes are also found in herbs and essential oils, which have been used therapeutically since ancient times. What does Ayurvedic medicine have to say about the effects of these phytochemicals on the chakras?
If anything, terpenes will relate to the first and second chakras—the ones that control the realms of smell and taste, respectively. In Ayurvedic medicine, herbs are not the end-all; it all comes down to intent. The effect of a strain depends on the intention of the grower, the processors, the retailer, and ultimately the consumer and what they want their results to be.
Do you think this graphic is accurate? Should people utilize these guidelines for activating their chakras?
I don’t necessarily agree with the chart. It’s an oversimplification, though I hope we can continue this exploration, because I do believe in the potential. Cannabis has a dualistic nature. It can do two things: help you feel grounded and balanced, or ground you too much, causing sluggishness, fatigue, or anxiety. Generally, yes—an indica will cause sleepiness, so it may be said to activate the first chakra, keeping us grounded. However, someone who is already a bit of a sloth may experience a disturbance from a heavy indica strain.
Based on what we know now, how cannabis affects every individual is a very individualized experience. Ayurveda teaches that there are several different manifestations of cosmic energy, and no one substance or technique can work the same for everyone. Therapeutic benefits of cannabis are directly correlated to our intention—and this has been measured as a placebo effect. The spiritual aspect of using cannabis, which has been used medicinally for thousands of years, cannot be ignored.