Increasing the health benefits of cannabis is possible through breathing exercises
Breathwork consists mainly of overcoming the elastic resistance and opposing forces to the flow of the thorax and lungs. At rest, the respiratory muscles require about 0.5-1 ml of oxygen per liter of ventilation. As ventilation increases, the oxygen cost per unit of ventilation becomes progressively greater. Many believe that combining breathing with marijuana can induce a deep awareness of the body, elevating the mind to a state of relaxation.
Within minutes of inhaling marijuana smoke, the heart rate speeds up a bit, the airways relax and expand, and the mind is brought into a de-stressed state. According to Dr. Simi Kaur Burns PharmD, a cannabis pharmacist and yoga teacher, many people do breathwork for the same reasons they use cannabis. Both activities stimulate sleep and end post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, pain and inflammation.
She adds, “Cannabis helps some people slow down, stay present in the moment, and experience heightened sensory or emotional awareness-all of which support breathwork.” While breathwork practices vary, they all share common elements.
Experts indicate that a primary focus is breath-holding, which can improve cognitive function and boost the immune system. This, when combined with cannabis, helps the state of mind become much more focused on the goals each person wants to achieve.
Modern research suggests that the various compounds in cannabis dilate the airways by activating cannabinoid receptors in the lungs, which in turn relax the bronchial muscles. This may be a concise explanation as to why marijuana has been used as a treatment for asthma. Similarly, the anxiety-calming properties of cannabidiol (CBD) are able to help people relax and dive deeper into breathing practice, leading to a more profound experience.