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Cannabis Wellness: Does Marijuana Help with Meditation

can weed help with meditation?
Meditation has become an increasingly popular wellness practice in recent years. With its proven benefits for reducing stress, improving focus, and promoting mindfulness, meditation can be a powerful tool for overall health and well-being. Some meditators are now exploring whether combining marijuana with meditation can enhance their practice and take them to deeper states of awareness.  In this article, we’ll examine the potential synergies of cannabis and meditation and look at the pros and cons of mixing the two.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and focusing awareness. The goal is to cultivate a state of tranquil, non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. Meditation typically involves assuming a comfortable seated posture, closing the eyes, and focusing the attention on the breath, a mantra, or specific body sensations. As distracting thoughts and feelings arise, the meditator gently lets them go and redirects their attention back to the meditative focal point. With regular practice, meditation can induce profound states of relaxation and expanded consciousness. Research shows it can reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep, support focus and concentration, and foster positive mental health. The calming effects of meditation can also lower blood pressure and support cardiovascular health.

How Does Marijuana Work in the Body?

Cannabis contains hundreds of active compounds called cannabinoids. The two most prominent cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana. CBD is non-psychoactive and offers more therapeutic benefits. When consumed, cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system regulates various functions, including sleep, pain, mood, and appetite. Cannabis can relax the body, relieve pain, enhance pleasure, and alter perception of time. It acts on parts of the brain responsible for thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, and sensory perception. The unique effects of cannabis make some wonder if it could complement and deepen the meditation experience. Let’s explore that question next.

Can Marijuana Enhance Meditation?

For some people, marijuana may feel like a portal to help them drop into meditative states more readily. There are a few key reasons why marijuana and meditation are thought to complement each other:

Promotes Relaxation

Cannabis is well-known for its relaxing properties. Indica strains, in particular, can induce a sense of bodily relaxation perfect for settling into long meditation sessions. The relaxing effect can help quiet the mind, relieving an anxious “monkey mind” that distracts from meditation.

Alters Sense of Time

Many meditators aim to enter a space of “timelessness” where they become fully immersed in the present moment. Marijuana can alter one’s perception of time by making it seem to pass more slowly. This slowing-down effect can promote mindfulness and presence.

Reduces Aches and Pains

For those dealing with physical pain in meditation, cannabis used medicinally may relieve muscle tension, arthritis, and other discomforts, allowing for greater stillness. This can be especially beneficial during long sits of 30 minutes or more.

Heightens Sensory Awareness

A meditation practice aims to cultivate greater attention to physical and emotional sensations vs. getting caught up in thoughts. Cannabis is known to heighten sensory awareness and perception, allowing some users to become more attuned to subtle sensations that arise during meditation.

Promotes Creativity and Insight

Some forms of meditation are intended to produce insights into oneself or reality. Cannabis can promote creativity, unconstrained thinking, and introspection that, for some, may engender the “aha” moments meditators seek.

Fosters Spirituality

Particularly at higher doses, cannabis can induce mystical states and fresh perspectives on life reminiscent of spiritual revelations. For this reason, cannabis has historically been linked to spiritual practice across many cultures. Meditation pursued alongside cannabis may also lead some to feel greater connectedness and meaning.

Potential Risks of Mixing Marijuana and Meditation

While the synergies can be substantial, there are also some potential downsides of combining cannabis and meditation:

Impairs Focus

While cannabis may quiet mental chatter initially, at higher doses, it can become distracting and undermine the goal of sustained concentration in meditation. THC intoxication can manifest as scattered thinking that pulls attention away from the breath or mantra.

Heightens Anxiety or Paranoia

An unpleasant side effect of high-THC cannabis for some is increased anxiety or paranoia. This could lead to an unsettling meditation experience and counteract the intention of cultivating tranquility through practice.

Dependency

Some daily meditators worry that using cannabis routinely could lead to becoming psychologically dependent on it to reach desired meditation states. This may hamper experiencing those states naturally through regular sober practice.

Dulls Consciousness

Meditation aims at heightened conscious awareness. However, excess cannabis could dull or numb consciousness rather than sharpen it. With regular use, the novelty effects wear off as tolerance increases. Higher doses may not lead to deeper meditation breakthroughs.

Guidelines for Marijuana and Meditation

For those who wish to explore the combination of cannabis and meditation, here are some suggested guidelines:
  • Start low, go slow: Try microdosing first to assess how cannabis affects your meditation experience and mindset. Gradually increase dosage as needed.
  • Choose natural methods: Opt for dry herb vaporizers, edibles, or tinctures over smoking for a healthier experience.
  • Pick complementary strains: Indica or Indica-dominant hybrid strains tend to work better than pure sativas before meditating.
  • Avoid cannabis over-reliance: Stay mindful that cannabis should complement, not replace, natural meditation practice. Tolerance breaks help retain sensitivity to cannabis’ effects.
  • Be aware of legality: While many states have legalized recreational or medical cannabis, it remains prohibited federally and in some states. Know your local laws.
  • Listen to your body: Pay close attention to how cannabis affects your mind and body during meditation. Discontinue use if any unpleasant side effects arise.
  • Practice safely: Be especially cautious mixing cannabis and meditation if you have a pre-existing mental health condition. Have a meditation mentor or guide if possible.

Incorporating Marijuana Consciously

While cannabis and meditation can be complementary practices, combining them requires careful self-awareness and moderation. But with a conscious approach, cannabis could help certain meditators reduce obstacles, deepen their practice, and expand contemplative states.  Interested in learning more about incorporating cannabis into your wellness practices? Read our blog on combining yoga and marijuana. As more research emerges, we will learn more about how these two ancient plant-based practices can synergize. In the meantime, individuals will decide for themselves if cannabis-enhanced meditation has value in their wellness journey.
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