Not only do both practices go hand in hand, each of these practices are ancient and sacred to humans. In this article, I will be going over the strong link between Cannabis and meditation. When we look back into history, we can see there is a long and rather complex relationship between meditation and Cannabis. Let’s explore this relationship after we go over the basics.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a mental practice which can alleviate frustration, brain fog, anxiety, stress, suffering and so much more. It is also known to boost brain function and increase mindfulness in day-to-day life. This is an extremely old practice which originated in ancient India.
Meditation is for everyone! You can do it in many places as all you only need is a peaceful place where you can relax and focus, preferably away from visual and/or auditory distractions. For best results, performing some light stretches beforehand can help your body relax, thus allowing your mind to settle into a meditative state with less effort.
What it means to meditate seems to differ from person to person, however, it is ultimately a focus method that results in many positive benefits for the mind and body. Many individuals think that you must stop thinking in order to meditate, however, this is far from fact. If you are new to meditating then look at meditation as the act of keeping your mind in one place for a bit longer than usual. This will get you much further than trying to make yourself ‘‘stop thinking’’, which only really happens when we die. The truth is you cannot stop your thoughts but you can be more aware of the nature of your thoughts. With said awareness, redirecting trains of thoughts becomes easier, as well. One of the main goals here is to keep the mind still, maintaining one point of focus while your thoughts go past like a slow train in the distance.
Meditating doesn’t always have to be sitting in a cross-legged position like Buddha did. It can also be achieved through the state of flow. If you are performing an activity, such as running on a trail, dancing, painting, or anything else that allows you to access the flow state, then you are indeed meditating!
The flow state is where time seizes to exist and nothing else in the world matters except for you and the activity that you are performing. When you are in this state, there is no past or future, there is only the now. To me, being in this kind of mind-state is meditation.
Anyway, I am sure you get the gist of this. Let’s move on to Cannabis!
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis, also known as weed, pot, marijuana and many other names, is a psychoactive plant; the Cannabis plant. Native to South and Central Asia, this magical plant has been used as a drug for recreational, spiritual and entheogenic purposes in a large variety of traditional medicines. Humans have been using this sacred plant for centuries, applying it in many ways to receive different outcomes.
The primary compound in this plant that grants us the famous Cannabis high is THC, also known as Tetrahydrocannabinol. With over 100 different cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, THC seems to be the only one that has seriously psychoactive properties! Without THC present in this plant, Cannabis would have played a very different role in history.
While THC gets most of the glory, there is another very helpful cannabinoid that can be found in Cannabis; CBD. Essentially, CBD, or Cannabidiol, appears that it may be responsible for many of the healing properties that Cannabis is known for. While THC provides a very distinctive high, CBD, on the other hand, is known to be non-psychoactive. In some clinical studies, CBD has successfully demonstrated its ability to minimize symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain and many other mental and physical complications.
Over time, we have experimented a lot with this plant and crossbreeding to develop new strains of Cannabis. There are currently over 700 different strains of Cannabis, making it a very complex and exciting plant! Some strains are bred to have higher contents of CBD than THC, and vice versa. Despite its mental and physical healing abilities, this plant has had a long and tiring battle with the law. However, we are beginning to open up to the realisation that Cannabis can be a helpful treatment and minimize the suffering of many. One day, this plant will likely be more accepted, hopefully become more normalised and prescribed more freely.
Cannabis and Meditation: A love story
Although there is a lot of essentially undeniable proof that our ancestors were not only using Cannabis but also using it as a meditation enhancement, we are missing a lot of details as to exactly how they utilised both practices synergistically. That being said, we will take a more modern approach to this section of the article.
Nowadays, Cannabis is much, much more potent than it used to be. Growers are doing their best to boost the THC contents in their crops because, quite frankly, that is what the people seem to want! And they are definitely succeeding. To better understand how smoking/consuming Cannabis can enhance your meditation practice, it is helpful to familiarise yourself with the psychoactive effects of Cannabis.
When you consume Cannabis, you are provided with an elevated sense of awareness. You could say you become hyper-aware of yourself, those around you, your thoughts, your body, your surroundings, etc. This is one of the reasons why Cannabis can be overwhelming for many individuals. You may become aware of yourself and what/who is around you to the point of discomfort. However, if you can either master your dosage (there is often a fine line between high and too high) then this can be a massive advantage to meditation! Heightening your level of awareness to such a ‘‘high’’ extent (pun intended) can really enhance your ability to narrow your focus.
Additionally, many Cannabis users report a boosted awareness of their bodies after consuming the psychoactive plant, which can be of assistance during a meditation session. In traditional meditation practices, one is often suggested to focus on their heartbeat, breath, or other bodily sensations. Focusing on the breath, for example, can help you meditate because it is drawing all of your awareness to a single point. Consistent points of focus, such as the breath, are your best friend during your sessions! Try focusing on something, like your breath or candlelight, and it will help you tremendously.
Another thing that is important to note is that this is not a one-size-fits-all method. Not everyone who enjoys Cannabis will see it as a helpful tool for meditation. In fact, it could make it more difficult for an indiviual to get to a mind state of stillness after consuming Cannabis. If this is the case for you, then maybe save your Cannabis ventures for another time. Like many substances, they are best used when optimized to your personal desires and preferences. Pay attention to what your mind and body are telling you when you experiment with Cannabis and meditation simultaneously.
What kind of strain you are using during your sessions is also vital. Every strain of Cannabis falls into one of the following 3 categories; Sativa, Indica and hybrid. In short, Sativa is more of a head high while Indica is more of a body high. Some may look at it like this: Sativa speeds things up while Indica slows things down! A hybrid strain is what you may have guessed: a combination of both Sativa and Indica which results in a more ‘balanced’ experience. You can tell the difference between these by the physical aspects of the plant. In many cases, using Indica generates better results for meditation practices. Individuals often get further with their practice by using an Indica strain that is more on the mild side… But each to their own!
Something I find really special about Cannabis and meditation is the similarities between the two and the fact that they share a few of the same benefits on their lists of advantages. Here is a short list of a few things that you may get out of your meditation practices when using Cannabis as an enhancement method:
- Boosted focus
- Expanded awareness
- Improved well-being
- Decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Thinking outside of the box (boosted creativity)
- Minimized symptoms of stress
- Higher quality sleep
- Deeper relationships with those in your life
- Decreased inflammation and pain
- Decreased brain fog
Really, the list only goes on but let’s wrap this up.
Not only will you likely gain more than one of the above benefits but you will probably expand your relationship with yourself along the way. Both Cannabis and meditation (separately and as a unit) allow you to tune into your mind and body. This can cement the link between the mind and body, allowing you to live in greater harmony with yourself as a whole. Mastering listening to the mind and body is a high form of self-care. When you continue to discover yourself on a deeper level as you walk your life path, you are able to get to where you need/want to be with a bit more grace.
As always, do your research, experiment with different methods and listen to your body! Your body is constantly sending your messages and signals, hoping that you will hear them. Using Cannabis alongside meditation is a great tool for hearing these messages loud and clear while expanding internally and externally in the same blissful moment.
Smoke a joint, meditate, open your mind and thank me later!