As cannabis continues to move deeper into the mainstream, a grateful public is finding all sorts of new—or should we say old?—uses for this ancient plant medicine. And beyond safe, gentle, and sustainable relief for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety, and other symptoms, many of us are finding that cannabis and meditation are a powerful addition to their self-care and wellness regimens.
Cannabis and Meditation: Historical Precedents
Cannabis and meditation have a long and mutually supportive relationship. For one thing, we know that as long ago as the third millennium BCE, it played a role in Chinese medicine. It’s important to note that in many ancient cultures, physicians played as much a spiritual role as they did a strictly medical one. In other words, the practice of healthcare had a more holistic or integrated aim than is true in Western medicine today.
By the second century AD, the Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica—one of the foundational texts of Chinese medicine—posited that cannabis consumption “frees the spirit light and lightens the body.” It sounds a lot like a textbook description of the goals of meditation, and a perfect opportunity to talk about how cannabis and meditation can work together in your life today.
Cannabis and Meditation: The Power of Intention
In the past, a common stereotype about those who enjoyed cannabis was that they used it to “tune out.” So how do we harness its unique qualities to “tune in” more deeply to our self-awareness and our bodies? A good place to start is by asking about our intentions.
We’re all familiar with the concept of intentions: The aims or plans we believe will help us align with and reach our goals. They’re a vital part of meditation or any other self-care practice, and they apply to our use of cannabis as well.
While cannabis—or any other medicine—can help give us relief from uncomfortable feelings or sensations like pain and anxiety, we want to gently suggest that in the context of meditation, you set your intentions on harnessing its ability to heighten your awareness and focus, not decrease it.
There are many different styles and traditions of meditation, and it’s up to us to develop our own routines and practices. But no matter the style, at its heart, any act of meditation is about tuning in to what’s happening in your body in the present moment, and cannabis can serve as a powerful partner in keeping your attention turned inwards.
Cannabis and Meditation: Practical Advice
Just as it’s important to set your intentions about cannabis and meditation beforehand, there are some practical tips that will help you deepen into your practice.
As with any use of cannabis, we recommend you “start low and go slow.” Take only a small amount of cannabis—just enough so that you begin to feel its effects—and remembering that with some administration methods, such as tinctures, there will be a delay between taking the medicine and its effects becoming apparent.
Begin your meditation practice, using the heightened focus imparted by the medicine to turn your attention inwards. If you feel your mind wandering, that’s okay: Just gently return your focus to your body as it is in the present moment. It’s not a competition, and you can’t fail. Meditation is a long-term pursuit, and it’s normal to feel your mind wandering and distracted at times.
Over time, you’ll begin to develop your own best practices around cannabis and meditation, finding the strains, administration methods and dosages that work best for your body, your mind and your personal goals. As always, feel free to reach out to us for practical advice on integrating cannabis and meditation. We’d love to help you reach your absolute peak of wellness!