Everywhere you look nowadays, CBD seems to be there, with studies telling us that by 2023 the CBD industry will, most likely, grow to 23 billion dollars. The reason for this popularity paints a picture of our global society searching for a sense of balance.
This is best shown by CBD’s meteoric rise in popularity was accompanied by a separate wildfire-hype around herbs. The WHO reports that between 1999 and 2018, more than 50% of 194 Member States had a national policy on alternative medical practice- also known as Traditional and Complementary Medicine. Alternative therapeutic approaches such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, breathwork, herbalism, massages, and dietary practice are all recognised as important (at the very least) according to some lines of thought. Alongside the rise of alternative medicine comes a new way of thinking about wellbeing. The increase in popularity of holisticism and spirituality has shifted public perceptions of wellness. While there may not be specific scientific studies on the effects of alternative medicine, the popularity, fervour, and devotion surrounding it cannot be denied.
Happy Vagina, Happy Life?
Alongside an expansion of alternative medicine, breathwork, pranayama and, of course, CBD, there has come a new focus on the way our genitals reflect overall health and wellness. The introduction of new types of ways of thinking about our respective wellbeings has also brought about a new way of looking at the female reproductive system and its impact on the body as a whole. Where western medicine tends to look at the vagina as a separate entity to the rest of the body, resulting in patients feeling uneasy when it comes to reporting vaginal symptoms, alternative medicine (namely Ayurveda) has no problem prioritising on vaginal health. From Kegels during breathwork, to holding specific asanas, ancient Indians were continually ruminating on the sanctity of a happy vagina.
Since then, more knowledge about the way the vagina impacts, and is impacted by, other factors in the body has come to the surface over the years. More people have become aware of the impact and importance of the vagina- no longer is it a shameful, hidden little thing which could possibly be the source for hysteria, orgasmic contractions, or both. Now, it’s been found, the vagina is the hub of the body, and may even reflect the overall status of health. It changes in odour, pH, lubrication, and even curvature and shape according to diet, age, hydration-levels, and the menstruation cycle. The vagina is an essential indicator for how the body is feeling, controlled and monitored by a potent cocktail of hormones which influence pretty much everything from mood to bowel movements, and an important factor when we look at the wellness of mind and body. Not to mention, it is the heart of the reproductive system!
Holisticism and The Vagina
Ayurveda has long since been renowned for its effectiveness in treating yeast infections and vaginosis via the use of herbs. Neem and pradrantak capsules are often administered by practitioners, as well as nirgundi oil and purified sulphur tablets- all for oral consumption. An ayurvedic diet is also considered to potentially keep the vagina’s pH balanced and lubricated. Soups, juices, and water diets are often administered alongside herbs such as fenugreek.
There is undoubtedly a sanctity in the power of balance, which we here at MANTLE understand when we look at CBD. The whole body relies on remaining balanced, and anything off-kilter sets precedent to a host of issues and problems. Above all, we can certainly admit that people nowadays are more willing to try new ways to feel good and centred. And what better way to begin to feel balanced than by focusing on the very centre of the female reproductive system?
Tantricism, CBD and Sexual Pleasure
Since a host of health concerns have been discovered to centre around what can happen within the vagina, holisticism has attempted to tackle this with a range of methods. The controversial technique of vaginal steaming, for example, brings together herbs like mugwort, calendula, and wormwood to ‘steam’ the uterus. It’s said to potentially aid menstruation pain, increase fertility, and even ease tension, headaches, and even symptoms of depression; it’s the hybrid, womb-obsessed love-child of TCM and Ayurveda (and of course Gwyneth Paltrow swore by it in her one, now deleted, blog post). You might have heard of holistic vaginal massage therapy, which is said to draw on the practice of tantra- the belief that the physical and spiritual are connected to gain a better sense of self. And what better way to discover the self than to communicate with the most sensational parts of the body?
How does CBD come into all this? Well, much like tantrism, ingesting or topically applying CBD allows you to connect your physicality, even as you are centring yourself. Through the act of taking CBD, you are prioritising your body, and taking a few moments to yourself. Taking or applying CBD can incite a sense of balance. In a similar (though distinct) way, the tantrists drew on the idea of balancing the self, as tantrism mainly focuses on balancing the body and mind through ‘shocking’ it into sensual acts, such as experiencing sexual pleasure. Through this transgressive ‘shock’, the yogi can overcome his/her sense of disgust, defy norms and strictures, and achieve a higher state of self. While CBD products are not spiritually-lifting in themselves, they may have us achieving a sense of balance.
Talking of tantra, it’s been said that 4000 years ago, the Aryans (also known as Indo-Persians) brought cannabis to India from China. According to reports, this was the best thing they ever did. Bhanga, a drink made from dried cannabis leaves, was taken particularly for its balancing effects, which were considered particularly special to the ancient Indians, who treated Bhanga as particularly sacred and centring. Tantrism and cannabis were, in ancient India, seen as going hand-in-hand, and tradition in India even mythologised that hemp was sent to earth for humans to enjoy. In the 1992 account, The Nectar of Delight from Plants of The Gods, Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hoffman wrote that ‘when nectar or Amrita dropped down from heaven, cannabis sprouted from it’.
Much like how the tantrists used bhanga to singularly focus on pleasurable acts, we, too, can use CBD to balance ourselves and reap the rewards of feeling centred. It’s all full-circle.
CBD Products For Your Intimate Parts
The rise in CBD products- from more conventional products like premium organic oils, to chewy ingestibles, to creamy, sweet-smelling skin care products- must, naturally, accompany versatility and expansion. You might even be seeing CBD products directly marketed for your vagina. In fact, there’s such a large variety of products out there that it’s hard to discern which products are safe and effective and which aren’t. Regardless, from tampons to lube, there’s a wealth of products (and brands) who are using CBD as a main ingredient for your vaginal sense of balance.
Lube is a CBD product growing in popularity due to its supposed balancing properties. While non-CBD lube is supposed to help with lubrication during sexual penetration (whether it’s with a partner or a sex toy) to ensure ease, less pain, and friction, and more enjoyment, adding CBD’s potential to allow you to find balance can ensure a full-focused approach to sexual pleasure.
Why Are Lubricants Used During Sexual Activity?
Lube is generally used to make sexual activity more pleasurable. So, if you’re thinking lube’s just for dry vaginas and anal sex, you’re wrong!
Whether your desire to use lube is due to the vagina being unable to lubricate itself enough to allow comfortable penetration (which can be common, particularly for menopausal women), time-sensitivity (sometimes you just don’t have the patience to wait for your body to do its thing!), tense muscles, a need for less friction, anal sex, or just a general, whole-hearted desire for more slip and slide, lube can be a miracle product for anyone. Also, if you’re using lube to have sex with a male partner, its viscous nature can help him last longer, since friction is decreased: that’s usually a win-win for all parties.
The Different Types of CBD Lube
There’s a variety of CBD-infused lube you can get, just like with the regular stuff:
This is usually one of the better options, since water-based lubricants won’t break apart any condoms, are vaginal pH neutral, and won’t ruin any silicone-based sex toys.
This type of lube is always great for sensitive skin, as it’s hypoallergenic, as well as being great for vaginal pH. It also lasts a long time. However, be aware that silicone-based lubes can damage the surface of your silicone sex toys, creating little abrasions for bacteria to grow. This can render your sex toys unsanitary and can result in infections if toys are not cleaned properly.
A hybrid lube will almost always be a water and silicone mix, in varying ratios. Usually, this is to ensure neutral pH, and make the lube as hypoallergenic as possible without the silicone being too damaging to sex toys.
This type of lube lasts ages, and can double as a massage oil too (remember that vaginal massage we were talking about?). However, there are some downsides to oil-based lube that can’t be ignored: they can rip condoms, are typically associated with higher rates of vaginal infections, and can be very difficult to clean off your sheets and clothes (they have a tendency to stain).
It’s important to note that CBD lube isn’t necessarily oil-based, just because CBD oil exists. The two are two very different things. CBD lube is typically made by infusing the cannabinoid into a water/silicone/oil/hybrid component, allowing you to choose what’s best for you.
A lot of CBD-infused lubes will also contain other cannabinoids, usually terpenes, which are cannabinoids found on the surface of the cannabis Sativa plant. Much like CBD, terpenes have a potential to balance and centre you (plus they smell great, which can help set the mood!).
CBD-infused tampons are a new way of bringing balance to what can be a very turbulent time in the monthly routines of most women. Periods can be rough, with cramps, mood swings, and general malaise being some of the symptoms people can experience. CBD tampons are a relatively new phenomenon, but there’s already a range out there offering varying CBD dosage according to these factors:
CBD concentration will usually vary according to blood-flow as this affects the size of the tampon, which, in turn, must affect how much CBD is going into said tampon. Quite a logical idea to wrap one’s head around!
- Body Chemistry
CBD acts by balancing us, but this may vary from person to person. Individual body chemistry can vary, and some people are more receptive to the potential balancing effect of CBD than others. It’s essential to work your way up through dosages to see what’s right for you.
- CBD Concentration
Again, reiterating the point above, CBD concentration is an important factor to consider when choosing the right CBD-infused tampons for you. If you’ve never tried a CBD product before, it’s important to consider starting off with a low dosage, and working your way up.
- Dealing with Your Period in a New Way
While tampons may be far from a new invention, CBD-infused tampons provide the opportunity to bring balance into a turbulent time for most young women; not to mention it can be quite a novel way of taking CBD! As with all menstrual products, it’s essential to read labels, scan for possible side-effects before you purchase and (since this is a CBD product) discuss it all beforehand with your doctor or a medical professional.
- Is Your Body Used To CBD?
If your body isn’t used to the effects of CBD, then you may want to start with a smaller dose and work your way up. Conversely, if you have incorporated CBD into your lifestyle already, it might be important to confer with a medical professional and work out the overall daily dosage of CBD you are taking in a day. This is just to be safe, as you don’t want to overdo it with the CBD levels.
CBD Vaginal Suppositories
Vaginal CBD suppositories are pill-sized, and can be inserted into the vagina to promote balancing and centring in the whole body. As with any other suppository, this melts inside the vagina; this method is said to be more effective at balancing the body than through ingestibles or topical products. It’s similar to the CBD-infused tampons; however, suppositories can be used anytime of the month for their balancing effects.
How Are Vaginal Suppositories Inserted?
- Use a clean towel to wash the vulva and the area around it. Use warm water, alone, no soap (this is because most soaps can be harmful to the PH balance of your vagina).
- Remove suppository from its wrapping
- Some suppositories come in pre-filled applicators. With others, you will need to place the suppository in the applicator yourself. In both cases, make sure you’re holding the end of the applicator, which is the opposite side to where the suppository is.
- Get into your position of either standing with knees bent or lying back with knees bent.
- Insert the applicator into the vagina as far as is comfortable. Usually, a clear indicator that you’ve reached far enough is when the knuckle hits the skin.
- Press the applicator’s plunger down, which will push the suppository into your vagina.
- Remove the applicator.
After you’ve finished up, either clean the applicator (if it’s reusable) or dispose of it responsibly. Make sure you wash your hands before and after inserting the suppository into your vagina. Some people find that their suppositories have a tendency to leak after, so many choose to insert before bed, so they remain laying down in a prone position. A sanitary pad might also help keep your bed linens or clothing clean afterwards.
Caring For Your Sex Centre
If there’s one piece of information you can take from this article, it’s that we, at MANTLE, are all for helping you maintain feminine balance. The vagina is vital for the body’s overall balance and wellness. It’s the source of a lot of important biological miracles, from shedding the lining of the womb to hosting orgasms to keeping itself clean. It’s essential to care for your vagina, make sure it’s looked after, well-nourished and paid attention to. And while you’re at it, why not experiment with the addition of the balancing, moisturising effects of CBD?