Meditate on This
There’s no doubt meditation is good for mind, body and soul. The research is strong and extensive. There’s also clinical proof of the health benefits of ingesting cannabis. Many people are starting to put the two together and finding they magnify the benefits of each other.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a technique for clearing the mind, a purposeful attempt to focus on nothing except the moment you’re in. It’s harder than it sounds. The benefits, however, are so numerous and clear, it’s worth the effort: meditating has been shown to reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
There are different types of meditation, but they all require you to harness your attention and quiet your mind. See where cannabis might come in? Some disciplines have you focus on an object, and try to push out all thoughts except that object. Sometimes the focus is a mantra – a few words that are important or meaningful to you or even words that you don’t understand. By repeating them out loud, you have somewhere to put your attention. Sometimes the focus is your breath. By monitoring, regulating and listening to your breathing, you can push other thoughts to the side.
Mindfulness meditation is a common form of meditating. With this practice, the focus isn’t on eliminating thoughts, but on recognizing them – the good, the bad and the ugly ones – then accepting them and letting them go.
Photo by Brooke Cagle
How does cannabis help meditation?
Meditation is difficult because rather than being in the moment, we tend to focus on the past or fret about the future. Our brains are always on and random thoughts are always floating in. Cannabis helps quiet the mind. It can make it easier to focus.
Of course, you have to choose the right strain and you may have to experiment. Different people experience different effects from cannabis, and the same person can experience different effects at different times.
If you’re planning to introduce cannabis into your meditation practice, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Indicas are known to have a more sedating effect than Sativa strains. That makes them better for meditating.
Vaping or smoking is probably better than edibles: the effects kick in more quickly (almost immediately), than with edibles (they can take hours).
How do you meditate?
Most often people sit or lie down; you need to be relaxed. Breathe naturally. Close your eyes if you want to. Try to “empty your mind,” a common expression in meditation.
Photo by Motoki Tonn
Your thoughts will wander – to the fight you had with your friend, to your job, family and fears, or maybe to positive things like a celebration or vacation…your goal is to get past all that mental noise.
When a distracting thought drifts in, turn your attention to your mantra, your breath or your object. Meditation requires clearing your head of all thoughts, of sitting in a mentally empty space for as long as you can. That discipline is what brings health benefits.
Building mental strength this way is no different than working out your body: it takes time to see changes. But those changes will improve almost every aspect of your life.