Yoga has gained massive popularity over the years, as more people continue to adopt yoga practices at an exponential rate. According to (Yoga Journal, Yoga Alliance, 2016), in 2016, an estimated 37 million people practiced yoga in America compared to the estimated 20 million count in 2012. This implies that, more people are beginning to realize the possible benefits of practicing yoga. As the popularity of yoga continues to grow into a multi-billion-dollar industry, manufacturers and Yogis alike seek ways to improve yoga practices, enhance yoga practice experience as market share are chopped up between industry players alike.
The Cannabinoid (CBD) industry, which already offers CBD as anti-anxiety, anti-pain and in other product variations, has been “pitching” the combination of yoga and CBD as a profound way for achieving enhanced yoga practice via online blogs, stores and paid articles. However, establishing facts and findings that CBD does actually enhance yoga practices could be appropriated to individual personal experiences. There are almost none to fewer research works affirming the fact that CBD intake can enhance yoga experience. However, understanding the connection between CBD and Yoga is paramount to consumer decision making.
The Influencer and Aggressive Marketing Effect
The advent of social media platforms and aggressive marketing tactics has resulted in the birth of what is now known as “Influencer marketing”. Influencers are individuals with a substantial amount of social media platform followers. They are “influencers” because they have the capacity to influence a substantial amount of their online followers anywhere in the world via their opinion on vast arrays of subject matters, including products and services (wright et al., 2010). Marketers and marketing agencies alike often approach so called “influencers” to advertise specific services and/or products to their social media audience. Keep in mind that one can hire a social media influencer on any social media platform. One may also dictate what is to be said or done to promote a product or service to an influencer. If the fee is right and the social media influencer is not bothered by the context of what is needed to be done, then the deal could be done and over with.
There is an endless stream of marketing possibilities associated with niche-specific social media influencers who could be approached by CBD marketers with a proposal to promote CBD products to their audience. Such possibilities are not always ethical and correct. These days, a pitch that targets the ever growing Yoga community via online blogs and social media influencers could be the perfect match for promoting CBD as a yoga experience enhancer might not be far-fetched. Such a pitch can easily and gradually become a new norm among yoga practitioners. Such practices could result in bogus and unethical advertisement claims, and misleading claims. Social media marketing trends of this nature are mostly based upon the opinion that consumers will not buy a product or service unless they are forced to do so via advertising. A study was conducted by the Publications Office of the European Union, in 2016 to look into aggressive marketing tactics targeting children and adolescents with respect to marketing online games and their impact on the behavior of the targeted consumer – children. In the study, (Theben et al., 2016) confirmed the fact that a specific group of people could be vulnerable to different aggressive and misleading marketing tactics based on their interests. The subject matter in (Theben et al., 2016) study were children, and the product were online games and gaming apps.
“Proof” That CBD Can Enhance Yoga Experience
Since this article focuses on CBD as a Yoga experience enhancer, the search for academic research papers confirming CBD as a Yoga enhancer is crucial. During our search for academic studies and research papers with a full grasp on the topic, we came across a vast array of claims and information stemming from the blogs of CBD online stores and some yoga practitioners. However, we found no studies or an academic research paper – neither qualitative nor quantitative, which provides proof that CBD actually enhances Yoga experience. Probably there are on-going studies that could shed more light on the use of CBD products as a yoga experience enhancer in the future. As indicated earlier, a “CBD and yoga” and “studies on CBD and Yoga” Google search resulted in information emanating from websites of so called “yoga gurus”, “yoga instructors” cannabis blogs, yoga studios probably looking to sell subscriptions and online CBD stores, looking to sell some CBD products. Please find screenshots below.
We live in a world where making money is continuously prioritized over telling the truth. As such misleading and aggressive marketing tactics can be good for business but not always best for healthy decisions. The lack of substantial studies and proof that CBD does as much industry practitioners claims it does is probably the same reason why the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), is not in a hurry to approve all CBD or cannabis- derived products as medications with healing properties except a few proven ones.
Subsequently this begs the questions – “who should we believe?” Peer reviewed journals, scientific researches or yoga Practitioners and CBD mongers?
The Beauty of Yoga and CBD
Undoubtedly, yoga is awesome. Judging from the continuous increase in yoga practitioners all around the world and the wonderful testimonials shared by people who practice yoga (Yoga Journal, Yoga Alliance, 2016). Yoga has been portrayed and confirmed by some extensive research to help improve both mental and physical wellness (Büssing,et al., 2012), (Jill Fuselier, Psy.D, N.D.), (Rinirose and Udhayakumar, N.D). Although none of the studies and research finding referenced in this article points to CBD being a great yoga experience enhancer, the authors all agree on the fact that yoga can have a positive in impact on one’s physical and mental wellbeing. Thus, indicating that yoga can still be beneficial without the incorporation of any other substance such as CBD.
CBD and other Cannabis derived products do have great potentials as natural herbal products. Some of such potentials have been discovered, while some of them are yet to be discovered. However, mislabeling and false advertisement has done more harm than good and will continue to do so if industry practitioners do not restrain from portraying CBD products as the almighty healer of all. It is also important for CBD marketers to market CBD products from a stance point that enables people to see the true potential of CBD, Cannabinol and other cannabis-derived products for what they are, rather than embracing speculative marketing tactics. The more misinformation consumers will eventually discover in relation to CBD products the more withdrawn they are likely to become.
CBD Practitioners and CBD promoters/marketers owes the general public a great deal of transparency that creates trust within and towards the industry players. The hype will eventually fade out at some point, but the real deal will remain. Most importantly, an industries infested with misinformation will definitely attract fraudsters, as such, a wave of fake products, and false hope. Such an outcome will make it even more difficult to sell CBD products than it already is. Currently, tech-media giants such as Facebook and Google do not allow the direct advertisement of CBD products on their platforms. On the other hand, there are few or no legislative structures in place to help the industry thrive in many countries around the world.
In conclusion, it is hard to say for sure that CBD enhances yoga experience. At this time, we found no scientific evidence backing such claims. Regardless, such claims exist and are made by different sources for different reasons, or intent. Furthermore, the existence of such claims does not essentially confirm that they are true until proven as such. The CBD industry needs more academic and scientific researchers to get involved with the industry. The more proven truth is made available for consumer decision –making, the easier it will be for legislative bodies and government regulators to help create an economically thriving and safe industry for consumers and CBD industry practitioners alike.
Alexandra Theben, Francisco Lupiáñez-Villanueva, George Gaskell, Giuseppe Veltri, Frans Folkford, Luca Bonatti, Francesco Bogliacino, Llüisa Fernández and Cristiano Codagnone. (2016). Study on The Impact of Marketing through Social Media, Online Games and Mobile Applications On Children’s Behaviour. European Commission. Produced by Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), On Behalf of Directorate-General for Justice and Consumer, Directorate E – Consumers Unit E.1 (Consumer Markets); Doi:10.2818/917506
Büssing, Arndt, Andreas Michalsen, Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Shirley Telles, and Karen J. Sherman. (2012). Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health: A Short Summary of Reviews. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM 2012.(doi:10.1155/2012/165410). https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/10436227/3447533.pdf?sequence=1
Elizabeth Wright, Nile M. Khanfar, Catherine Harrington, Nova Southeastern University, USA., and Lee E. Kizer, Southern Wesleyan University, USA.( November, 2010). The Lasting Effects of Social Media Trends on Advertising. Journal of Business & Economics Research, Volume 8, Number 11. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/268111288.pdf
Jill Fuselier, Psy.D. N.D. Yoga and Meditation for Enhanced Mood and Well-Being. Counseling & Psychological Services University of California, Santa Cruz.
Rinirose Simon and Udhayakumar C. S., (N.D.). A Study On The Impact Of Yoga And Meditation On Health And Its Benefits. Amrita School of Business, Coimbatore, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amrita University, India.
Yoga Journal, Yoga Alliance, (January, 2016). The 2016 Yoga in America Study. Ipsos Public Affairs.