I’m not into making bold predictions, and I don’t mean to be cynical, but fads are always replaced by new fads. Unfortunately, for many, I fear mindfulness practice is about to fall to CBD as the “in” means of stress relief.
A search of CBD and mindfulness lists post after post about how CBD can enhance meditation. It’s not too much of a leap from there to see CBD overtaking meditation entirely as people seek to reduce anxiety or sleep better.
Meditation is as old as humans. So it’s certainly not a fad. It can yield well-documented benefits to practitioners, including those managing mood disorders. But most of the research documenting the results of mindfulness practice focuses on subjects who meditate for at least 20 minutes a day over an eight week period.
A few minutes of directed breathing guided by an app just won’t cut it. But those few minutes will help someone relax, and that’s what many seek from mindfulness.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a short meditation to help someone calm down. However, three minutes of sitting still will barely help with anxiety or sleep. Unfortunately, that’s what the mindfulness industry has been selling people, and many people have not experienced the results promised.
That’s where CBD comes in.
In the right dose at the right time (this stuff is still unregulated, so determining the right dose is tricky) CBD can help with anxious feelings or pain relief. Reports on improved sleep are almost universal.
So why would anyone take the time and discomfort to meditate when the desired outcome is achieved much more easily by a simple tincture squirted from an eye-dropper – even onto ice cream, as one bar in my neighborhood sells it?
I’ve stated many times that the positive effects of mindfulness have been oversold for too little effort. Of course, the same is happening to CBD.
But CBD produces almost immediate results. True mindfulness take lots of practice over a significant period of time. And you have to keep doing it to maintain the results.
Sure, there will always be people who meditate for deep reasons. People willing to work through the waves of emotions and body sensations that arise during practice. Meditation enables one to approach mental health the way no OTC drug ever will. I’m doubtful that CBD can impact a person with the same positive effects of a regular, dedicated meditation practice.
But CBD also avoids the barrage of thoughts and sometimes unpleasant experience that meditation can present from time to time.
So for people out for quick stress relief, or a nap, CBD will push mindfulness from the promising public place mindfulness has occupied for a few years. CBD is so simple to use, and for industry there’s an awful lot of potential money in it.
I don’t think we’re going to see corporate sponsored CBD programs, the way many companies have jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon. But CBD is on the back cover of the Bed, Bath and Beyond mailing that came this week. It has taken off as the new self-help fad.
Meditation has eons of experiences behind it. CBD only a few short years. And we have no idea what the long-term impact of CBD use might be, whereas we know that, for most people, meditation produces boundless good.
But CBD is so easy to use and so trendy. It’s inevitable that many, many people will give up their Headspace or Insight Timer and reach for a bottle of what they think is harmless relief. And it might be.
Mindfulness had its moment. Too bad it is so easily replaced by a vial of untested drops in our instant results-oriented world.