In my last article on CBD and yoga, I mentioned that 29 states plus D.C. had legalized medical marijuana. Now that number has risen to 33, plus D.C. In addition, eight states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming – have passed restricted-use laws for medical marijuana.

Obviously, there is a huge groundswell happening in the U.S., partly because so many people report positive health benefits from CBD and partly because of huge profit margins and state tax revenue. Did you know that Colorado’s state budget has been in the green ever since legalization?

Before jumping on the canna bandwagon, here are five important things to consider:

1) What’s Your Big Why?

Does CBD and yoga make sense for your studio and local community? As a studio owner, is the use of CBD in line with your personal beliefs, values and practices? Do you want to become known as a “420 Friendly” yoga studio? Is your community open-minded to new experiences and would they embrace such a change? 

Make sure you understand the reasons why you want to add CBD/yoga pairing. Definitely avoid CBD offerings just to be the ‘first studio on the block’ to embrace this budding new fad as there are always pros and cons for every decision you make.

2) Check State and Federal Regulations

Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but legal under many state laws. Hemp-derived CBD products – those with less than 0.3% THC – are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws before you offer CBD/yoga and keep abreast of the ever-changing legal policies around cannabis. 

FYI: There’s been recent buzz about negative side effects of vaping oils. Massachusetts’ governor put a temporary ban on the brick and mortar sale of those products. In this booming industry, you never know what may happen next.

3) Test Pairings and Dosages Yourself

To get started, use both topical and oral CBD products in your personal practice, to experience both effects and effectiveness. What pairings do you most enjoy? Start with recommended dosage on the product package and experiment. Start small and build up. What amount gets you in your peaceful Zen zone? When you have a feel for CBD and yoga, invite your teachers, and perhaps a few students, to several free classes and ask for their honest feedback. Not everyone benefits from CBD; sometimes people dislike the effects, other times people don’t feel anything.

4) Trial Period

If you decide affirmatively, offer a time limited trial period – say three months – where you introduce a new CBD/yoga class pairing. CBD and Restorative Yoga or CBD and Meditation are both great starts, unless your studio never offers these classes. If all goes well, and both teacher and students are happy, make the class a permanent addition to your studio menu. If something goes array, you can always discontinue the class at the end of the trial period.  

When I taught yoga at a local community college, two decades before marijuana was legalized in my home state, a few students arrived so stoned they couldn’t focus on my instructions. Needless to say, they were a big distraction to the other students. I had to let them know that yoga was a way to check into the body-mind-spirit, not out, and they should refrain from smoking right before class.

My point in sharing this story is to say that by offering CBD and Yoga pairings you “open the door” and potentially appear in favor of students coming to class high. But who knows, perhaps they already do.

5) Buyer Beware

Know what you are buying and for what purpose or use.

Keep in mind that non-prescription CBD products are not FDA-approved and may be inaccurately labeled. There is a huge black market for “weed” products. Some are produced overseas, and others are synthetic. In the cannabis industry, quality varies widely, and that’s no understatement. I’d recommend you research products thoroughly. Look for businesses who offer “seed to sale” products or at least look for companies who grow and process their own hemp plants, and make and sell their own “farm to store” products. These businesses have more quality control than companies who purchase ready-made CBD oils and add them as an ingredient to a product. Do read ingredient labels. Buy organic and minimally processed CBD products. 

My rule of thumb for CBD topical products is this: If I won’t eat a specific ingredient, I’m not going to rub that product into my skin. Lastly, do what feels most in alignment with your studio’s overarching mission, because authenticity is what keeps your students coming back for more.