The Sanskrit term chakra refers to the seven “wheels” or energy centers spanning from the root of the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra is associated with certain qualities in body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Bringing the chakras into their balanced expressions can mean better health, as well as greater self-awareness—two goals on the path of yoga.
In ayurveda (India’s system of traditional medicine), Sarva-Rogini, one of the Sanskrit names for cannabis, means "curer of all diseases," explains Dr. Seeta Narsai, a Los Angeles-based Ayurvedic doctor. "With a name like that, you get an idea of how this plant was revered in ancient India.” She adds, "there’s a long history of using cannabis for spiritual evolution in India by certain sects of Shiva devotees.” Because cannabis is closely associated with the Hindu deity Shiva, devotees use the herb as a sacrament to aid in prayer and meditation. Bhang, an Indian drink made from cannabis, is used in parts of India to treat fever, digestive issues, sunstroke and dysentery, as well as to increase libido. Ayurvedic practitioners can use cannabis to treat high blood pressure and glaucoma, as well as to treat infections and pain, increase appetite and digestion, and stimulate the nervous system.
While many yogis today refrain from using mind-altering substances in order to attain the ideal state of harmony, otherwise known as sattva, others find that conscious cannabis consumption, along with practices like yoga and meditation, can aid in the sincere intention to heal and balance the body.
Here’s a guide to the seven chakras with specific practices and cannabis recommendations to pair with each of them.
Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The root chakra is described as ruby red in color and governs the most basic of human needs, such as for water, food, shelter, and safety from harm. When your root chakra is balanced, you feel safe in the world and present in your body. An imbalanced root chakra can lead to feelings of instability or anxiety. You may suffer from nightmares and persistent fears, or experience physical issues with the digestive organs, lower back, legs or feet. Malasana, a deep squat, helps ground and stabilize the physical body. If you’re struggling with anxiety and fear, heavier indica strains like Midnight and Grand Daddy Purple can help. Because muladhara is also associated with the sense of smell, an indica strain with the aromatic terpene linalool, the same compound that gives lavender its fragrance, can help you access that mellow first-chakra vibe.
Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
Located between the navel and the pubic bone, the second, or sacral chakra is associated with emotion, sexuality and creativity. It governs the reproductive organs, as well as your ability to feel fully alive. Its color is vibrant orange. When the sacral chakra is out of balance, you may feel depressed or emotionally stuck, suffer from addictions, or experience sexual dysfunction. Play and creative exploration in areas like visual arts, music, gardening and cooking nourish the sacral chakra, as does recognizing and accepting your feelings—even the difficult ones. The yoga postures Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle) and Bhujangasana (Cobra) can help bring energy to this area. A relaxing indica strain that also promotes creativity, such as Berry White, could be a good entryway to the second chakra’s flow.
Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
Manipura, or Lustrous Gem, shines from just behind the navel as a sunny, golden yellow. It governs willpower, discipline and confidence. When balanced, you have direction and healthy drive. When imbalanced, you may be goal-oriented at the expense of all else, or—on the opposite end of the spectrum—you may lack ambition and follow-through. Because of its fiery qualities, third chakra energy is stoked by strengthening the body via core work such as Plank, or Navasana (Boat). Trusting your instincts, or gut feelings, is another important third-chakra skill. Productivity-boosting strains such as the hybrid XJ-13, or the sativa-dominant Green Crack may help channel willpower and energy toward achieving your goals.
Heart Chakra (Anahata)
Clear, emerald green is the color of the heart chakra. Unsurprisingly, the qualities associated with balance here include compassion, openness, and the ability to forgive. Love and self-acceptance are at its center. A closed heart chakra can mean difficulty with self-love and relationships, as well as feelings of hatred and rage. The health of the heart and lungs are also thought to relate to this chakra. Backbends like Ustrasana (Camel) and Natarajasana (Dancer) help stretch the muscles of the chest and let the heart chakra shine. Many enthusiasts also say that cannabis opens the heart like no other plant medicine, helping you let go of past grievances and embrace life as it is in the present. The northern California dispensary, Patients Care Collective, recommends what they call “even hybrids” for heart chakra-balancing, such as Sage and Blue Bubble. Cannabis rapper and activist MC Flow talks about a woman she knows who's a long-time meditator: “Meditation helped her mind tremendously... but it wasn’t until she started incorporating cannabis that she could access her heart and emotions that had been blocked for years.”
Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
When balanced, the sky-blue throat chakra allows you to know your truth and communicate it in a clear and kind way. Communication requires input from others, so healthy throat chakra energy also means respectful listening. Lacking balance here, you may be afraid to speak your mind or ask for what you want. Or, you may dominate the conversation without tact. Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) is a powerful pose for stimulating and freeing the throat chakra’s power. Pranayama (breathing exercises) such as ujjayi, produced by slightly constricting the back of the throat to create a whisper or ocean sound, and the open-mouthed lion’s breath can also help recalibrate your verbal expression. A stimulating strain that promotes clear and direct communication, like the hybrid White Widow, could be considered a conscious choice for bringing greater freedom to the throat chakra.
Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna)
The third-eye chakra relates to internal sight—otherwise known as wisdom and intuition. A resonant indigo in color, the third-eye chakra is balanced when you feel connected to your highest source of guidance, and imbalanced when you feel confused, foggy, and unsure. A more spiritual or esoteric chakra, it is nourished by meditation and by postures that place subtle pressure on the space between the eyebrows, such as the gentle Balasana (Child’s pose). Some would say that a more psychoactive strain with higher THC, like Sour Diesel, might aid in the processes of envisioning, imagining, and tapping into your inner guidance. Others might try Harlequin, a balancing and calming strain with low THC and high CBD, that can allow you to tune in without the heady high of a more potent strain.
Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
The crown chakra, described as a thousand-petaled lotus, sits atop the crown of the head and opens skyward as a reminder that liberation means recognizing your connection to all that is. The most spiritual and subtle of all the chakras, its color is described as violet, or colorless—light itself. It signifies pure consciousness, pure being, pure potentiality. Sirsasana (Headstand), Nadhi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing), and meditation are all said to bring the crown chakra to its clearest, most balanced state. The practice of cultivating periodic silence, such as on a silent retreat, nourishes the crown chakra. Euphoric and clear-headed strains, like Jack Herer, could help access that more elevated state. Alternatively, you could pair a crown chakra meditation with CBD alone, for an ultra-clear experience.
Dr. Seeta says that "the idea of balancing chakras with marijuana is a complex one. No chakra stands alone, these energetic centers are dynamic and interconnected.” It’s also important to consider that chakras can be underactive or overactive, which can lead to very different—and equally unhealthy—manifestations. Thus, a personalized approach to balancing the chakras is always best. Consulting an ayurvedic practitioner who is open to cannabis as plant medicine can be a good start.
Or, follow your intuition. “I think a lot comes down to intention,” says MC Flow. “It’s about using cannabis mindfully, as a tool for exploring oneself.”
Danielle Simone Brand writes about parenting, yoga, cannabis, and pop culture. She has been a yoga teacher for over a decade, and currently teaches people of all ages across San Diego. When not writing or teaching yoga, you can find Danielle playing with her two kids and puppy.