Breathing Exercises for Mental & Physical Wellness

Breathing Exercises for wellness

Some of you may be familiar with the increasing popularity of meditation and breathing exercises. It’s no surprise these practices have become more well known as things such as the pandemic have heightened stress, anxiety and depression in our society over the past couple years! There is an incredible book, “Breath” by James Nester for anyone who’d like to dive a little deeper into the history of breathwork and the science behind it. Today we’ll walk through several benefits that come with breathwork and I’ll include a link for some fantastic guided videos to get you started in your own practice of mindful breathing exercises!

Calms Anxiety

Many therapists swear by slow, deep breathing exercises to tackle anxiety attacks and it’s even better when used as long term treatment. Often during an anxiety attack when you feel you aren’t getting enough oxygen and start to hyperventilate, your breathing becomes rapid, short and shallow creating an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Slow deep breaths will regulate that imbalance versus contributing to it like the short shallow breaths will. Deep breathing helps regulate your heart rate and increase oxygen levels and allow toxins to leave the body with carbon dioxide. This helps signal the brain to relax, regular deep breathing exercises will help balance hormones releasing endorphins into the body.

Decreases Toxicity In The Body

Daily stress, bad eating habits, lack of sleep and shallow breathing creates an acidic internal environment. With deep breathing toxins are released with carbon dioxide allowing the body to return to a more alkaline state. It could essentially be considered detoxifying. 

Improves Digestive Health

By increasing oxygen in the digestive system through deep breathing it allows the organs to perform better helping relieve gastrointestinal issues like constipation, indigestion and so on. A healthy digestive system and gut biome is essential to overall health!

Great for Cardiovascular Health

Regular deep breathing strengthens the cardiovascular system and muscles helping improve blood pressure, decreasing risk of stroke and even stimulates the vagus nerve which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response which is what tends to flare up during things like a panic attack, anxiety or nervous situations.

These are just a few of the ways that breathing exercises can dramatically improve your quality of life! It seems so simple but the proof is in the pudding. Try doing a breathing exercise twice a day for a week…one solid week and see what it does for you. It just might blow your mind! The link below leads to James Nestors website where you can find his book but specifically several videos for breathing exercises that you can follow along, now some of the videos are a bit advanced so if you struggle with weaker lungs currently just opt for 5 minutes of slow deep breathing twice a day as your lungs build strength! 

https://www.mrjamesnestor.com/breath-vids

 

Tips For Managing Occasional Stress

Tips for Managing Stress

Today’s world is full of stressors, triggers, to do lists, the list goes on and on. Sometimes it’s really almost too much to manage! So we’re going to take a step back from cannabinoid education today and focus on some natural tips to manage daily stress and hopefully bring a little peace and sunshine to your world!

Stay Active!

Exercise is not only great for the body but great for the mind as well! Building muscle among many other things helps burn fat, enhance joint stability and increase bone density which will help you tremendously later in life but aside from the physical benefits your mind has just as much to gain from a solid sweat sesh. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin…that’s four different happy hormones! On top of the release of these happy hormones you’re also releasing built up tension and adrenaline that’s causing you to feel “on edge”. Exercise works as well if not better than medication for many people.

Ditch the Caffeine

I know, no coffee…wild concept right? Well the good news is that caffeine doesn’t have a negative effect on everyone. BUT as we know it is a stimulant so whether we like it or not, it’s totally plausible that caffeine could be leaving you feeling a little more on edge than necessary. Research has shown that caffeine may worsen anxiety disorders, cause the jitters, nervousness and can even cause panic attacks in some people. Yikes! Now I’m not saying you can never have caffeine, just get to know your body and do what serves you best!

Meditate

Meditation is by far a favorite of mine. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to experience and learn more about the practice of meditation, it can seem a little “out there” or even trendy as of lately. The reality is meditation is not what many people think. Many assume it’s solely a practice that requires you to empty your mind and if you’re not being perfectly still and thoughtless then you’re doing it wrong. Well I’m happy to tell you that is incorrect. Meditation is a mindfulness practice and there are many many different styles of meditation. The goal is not to ignore and shut out all thoughts, it’s to find a place of stillness and grounding where you can allow the thoughts to flow. Allow them to enter your mind, acknowledge them and allow them to leave, it’s the awareness of your thoughts and the ability to approach them in a more objective manner. Sure, eventually you can achieve the quiet place of stillness so many refer to but that’s after much practice! Check out the app “Waking Up” by Sam Harris if you’d like some tasteful guidance! 

Sleep

Don’t you wish there were more hours in the day? I know I do! With life throwing curve balls right and left it’s hard enough to keep up some days much less stay ahead, and if you’re trying to do it on inadequate sleep you’re in for a rough ride. Sleep is essential for literally countless reasons. Your mind and body can’t meet their potential without the time to recharge, reset and repair. Poor sleep is linked to depression, higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, inflammation and so much more. Do yourself a favor and spend a week truly focusing on getting not only enough but adequate sleep (no sleeping with the tv on!) and see what it does for your overall performance in life.

I could ramble about healthy habits and natural tips and tricks for days, especially when it comes to dealing with stress/anxiety/depression as these are things I’ve been studying for the better half of my life, but I’ll save you the lengthy read and save that for another day. Habits can be very hard to change, habits become a lifestyle but it’s the small changes that gain momentum and change your life. We hope these tips will help some of you out there!

Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

There are so many questions surrounding CBD and because we hear the same questions often, we felt it the perfect opportunity to share a list of the more introductory questions we come across. We’ll do our best to keep it short, sweet and to the point!

What does CBD stand for?

Cannabidiol

What is CBD?

A chemical compound found in cannabis plants and tends to be most abundant in the hemp plant.

What does CBD do?

The short answer is that CBD works with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help maintain internal balance despite external factors.

Will I fail a drug test from using CBD?

CBD on it’s own will not cause a failed drug test but if you are taking a full spectrum product (all cannabinoids including <0.3%THC) it is possible to test positive. If you are using a broad spectrum product it is very rare but possible to have a false positive drug test. This is due to the CBN content, typical drug tests struggle to differentiate between THC and CBN.

Will I experience side effects?

A common question with a complicated answer. The majority of people will not experience any side effects, it is very rare but has not been studied long enough to give a direct yes or no. If you are concerned about a drug interaction always consult your physician prior to starting a CBD regime.

How long does CBD stay in your system?

For the majority of people, 2-5 days. But keep in mind every body is different and can vary depending on individual factors such as metabolism, etc…

How will CBD make me feel?

The beauty of CBD is it’s not what you feel, it’s what you don’t feel! CBD does not have intoxicating effects such as THC. Some will feel a noticeable sense of calm, many will feel a sense of relief from things such as joint/muscle discomfort, symptoms of stress and more. 

Will CBD get me high?

No. CBD is not an intoxicating compound.

Where does CBD come from?

CBD is found in all cannabis plants but is most abundant in the hemp plant. 

What are the different ways I can take/consume CBD?

So many options! Oils that are taken orally, edibles, drinks, topicals, capsules, vapes, concentrates, and flower(actual hemp plant buds to be smoked) are super common! 

Are CBD and marijuana the same thing?

No. CBD is a chemical compound found in cannabis plants. Marijuana is one of the plants in the cannabis family.

Is CBD legal?

Yes! CBD has been legal in the US since 2018.

Can you travel with CBD?

Yes! Be mindful when traveling with full spectrum products but as for isolate and broad spectrum products you should have no issues!

How do I find trustworthy brands to purchase my CBD products from?

Ahh, the cardinal question. Because this industry is unregulated you do have to be very vigilant in choosing your products and company. Always look for companies that are third party tested, come from a cGMP facility and are open with where their extract comes from. Also keep in mind that many brands will use cheap fillers to pump out more product so watch the ingredient list and fact panel! Kao Naturals is dedicated to providing you with the most transparent, efficacious, science backed products that you can trust and believe in.

Hopefully we’ve answered either some of your own questions or maybe even questions your loved ones have had! These are only a handful of curiosities we’ve encountered thus far so we’ll dive into some more intricate questions in upcoming blogs so be sure to check back in!

A deeper look into the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Deep Dive into Endocannabinoid System

As promised in our “Into to the Endocannabinoid System” blog, we’re back with a slightly deeper look into the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)! Today we’ll go into slightly more detail on how the ECS works as well as endocannabinoids, receptors and enzymes.

So how does our ECS work?

The ECS plays a role in regulating a plethora of vital functions from appetite and mood to memory retention and perception of pain. I won’t say the list is “endless” but let’s just say it’s very, very lengthy. Even if you’ve never used a cannabinoid product in your life, your ECS system is still working for you even at this very moment. The ECS helps you maintain homeostasis or internal balance despite ever changing external factors, keeping you and your body functioning at its best. There are 3 vital pieces to this elaborate ECS puzzle: endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors and enzymes.

Endocannabinoids

The human body produces its own cannabinoids that are called endocannabinoids, an important function of the peripheral nervous system as well as the central nervous system. Currently anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol are the two known and studied endocannabinoids. They are produced naturally as needed to help communicate and send messages between cells. One of the important functions of endocannabinoids is to calm or essentially quiet over active cells. Some cells needlessly send too many signals causing imbalance, endocannabinoids travel to the targeted cells and bind to receptors helping to correct cell communication and ultimately support overall homeostasis.

Cannabinoid Receptors

We have two major cannabinoid receptors, CB1 & CB2. These aren’t the only receptors present within our ECS but they are the first discovered and have been most studied thus far. 

CB1 receptors tend to be the most abundant cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system, brain, and spinal cord. These receptors are what interact with THC and allow people to get that “high” feeling when using marijuana (keep in mind all of our products are hemp derived and will never contain more than .3% THC). CB1 receptors play an important role in memory, emotion, perception of pain, appetite and cognition.

CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the peripheral nervous system in places such as the immune system and especially the gastrointestinal system. But both types of receptors are found throughout the entire body. CB2 receptors may regulate inflammation and other immune responses, per research.

These receptors allow our body’s cells to detect cannabinoids, both endocannabinoids as well as phytocannabinoids from the plant such as CBD. Once detected, receptors send cells into action. Responses vary greatly depending on the type of cell and cannabinoid. 

Enzymes

So once cannabinoids have done their job and fulfilled their purpose, they’re broken down by specific enzymes. Currently there are two known types of enzymes that work with our ECS.

      • Fatty acid amide hydrolase – eliminates/breaks down anandamide
      • Monoacylglycerol acid lipase – eliminates/breaks down 2-arachidonoylglycerol

If cannabinoids were not broken down and eliminated after they have served their purpose there is a chance that the cannabinoids could re-trigger the same receptor or even multiple receptors after the need has passed which could potentially lead to negative side effects and limit proper communication between cells.

And those, my fellow wellness enthusiasts, are the 3 major components of the ECS and a bit of how each of them work together to support homeostasis and provide an overall wellness experience. Don’t forget to keep checking back in for more cannabinoid education and news! We’ll touch on bits of the ECS here and there over time to keep everyone informed and in the loop! As always #liveandlivewell

What are cannabinoids?

cannabinoids

With all the buzz around cannabis, CBD and cannabinoids I’m sure many of you have wondered…what exactly are cannabinoids? In this blog we’re going to quickly and simply break down what cannabinoids are to give you a better understanding that is clear and straight to the point!

Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that occur naturally in the human body (endocannabinoids) and in cannabis plants (phytocannabinoids). These compounds interact with our Endocannabinoid system (ECS) and trigger various physiological responses. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the most well-known compound due to its psychoactive or intoxicating effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) seems that it may play one of the most significant roles in the plant’s medicinal benefits. Some other key phytocannabinoids you may have already heard of or probably will very soon are:

      • Cannabigerol (CBG)
      • Cannabichromene (CBC)
      • Cannabinol (CBC)

CBD does not cause intoxicating effects, CBD is often isolated in some form for medicinal use but many studies suggest that other phytocannabinoids are mutually beneficial and provide the best results when utilized together such as in broad spectrum, full spectrum or whole plant form. CBN has been recently gaining more interest with medical researchers and has shown natural sedative properties that appear to potentially have analgesic, anti-swelling and anti-convulsive properties. CBG has been shown to help fight symptoms of swelling, discomforts, occasional nausea and some research has shown it may potentially reduce intraocular eye pressure caused by glaucoma. CBG also has promising research on it’s positive effects on digestive issues and mood support!

Endocannabinoids…

Endocannabinoids on the other hand are the cannabinoids we produce naturally within our own body including anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), they play roles in metabolism, food intake, memory, sensory perception, central nervous system development and more. 

Endocannabinoid system and receptors….

We have cannabinoid receptors throughout our body as a part of our Endocannabinoid System (ECS). These receptors (CB1 & CB2) are found all throughout from cell membranes to our central nervous and immune systems to various organs. As external environments and stress factors change the ECS helps the body maintain a stable internal environment or homeostasis. Phytocannabinoids work by imitating the endocannabinoids produced naturally in the body. Our receptors, when activated, trigger various chemical, natural and physiological effects on how we feel…mind, body and as some would say, spirit. 

Conclusion…

So in conclusion phytocannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in the cannabis or hemp plant and endocannabinoids are produced naturally by our body. There are well over 100 cannabinoids being studied today and the research will soon be endless, stay tuned for upcoming blogs diving deeper into the Endocannabinoid System and its importance in our daily lives!

Intro to the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Endocannabinoid system

For those who aren’t familiar with the endocannabinoid system and its role within the human body, this post just may provide a whole new perspective and appreciation for cannabinoids as well as the hemp/cannabis plant! I want to make this as easy to digest as possible so I’ll spare you the extra wordy approach and dive right in!

Cannabis has been known to have various effects and benefits depending on how it is consumed and which cannabinoids are utilized. Hemp and it’s beautiful cannabinoids wouldn’t have the therapeutic benefits it does if our bodies didn’t already have a biological system (ECS) specifically built for interacting with its chemical compounds/cannabinoids such as CBD, CBN, CBG, THC(<0.3%) and so many others.

The endocannabinoid system…

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered in the late 80’s and early 90’s and there is still so much research to be done, for my fellow canna-nerds and biochem enthusiasts out there, that’s pretty exciting! The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids, CB1 and CB2 receptors and enzymes that are believed to impact various functions such as sleep, mood, appetite, memory, perception of pain and discomforts, and the list just goes on and on. Overall the endocannabinoid system when cared for, helps to promote internal balance and homeostasis despite external factors. There are some key factors to consider when looking at the ECS..

Cannabinoid receptors…

Cannabinoid receptors are found on the surface of cells and essentially “listen” to conditions outside the cell. They then use that information to determine the changes that need to be made inside of the cell to accommodate the appropriate cellular response in order to help maintain homeostasis and balance. 

We have two major cannabinoid receptors, CB1 & CB2. These aren’t the only receptors present within our ECS but they are the first discovered and have been most studied thus far. 

CB1 receptors tend to be the most abundant cannabinoid receptors in the brain, these receptors are what interact with THC and allow people to get that “high” feeling when using marijuana (keep in mind all of our products are hemp derived and will never contain more than .3% THC). CB2 receptors are more commonly found outside of the nervous system in places such as the immune system but both types of receptors are found throughout the entire body.

So to wrap it all up…We’re all designed with a specific internal system that is built to work with cannabinoids both from the hemp or cannabis plant as well as the endocannabinoids we produce naturally within our body. One of the main purposes of our ECS system to help maintain internal balance despite external factors. Below is a chart giving a visual of our CB1 and CB2 receptors and where they are found throughout our body! Stay tuned for more of a deep dive into the intricacies of the ECS in upcoming blogs!

Endocannabinoid System Diagram