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How to Dissolve Stress & Anxiety with Cannabis & Meditation

Giovanny Bautista

Posted on August 02 2018

Written by Anna Cantwell

 

I gazed out onto the Pacific ocean from my cross-legged seat. I took a few breaths with the waves—in and out, in and out; I took a few slow pulls from a Cherry Pie pre-roll and closed my eyes. The next 30 minutes I spent blissed out, noticing my breath, in complete silence and stillness.

In the hectic world that is today, it’s no wonder that mindfulness and meditation have been found to spurn a host of physiological benefits. According to researchers at UCLA, practicing mindfulness reduces stress-related conditions, like heart disease and high blood pressure, in addition to boosting the immune system and the body’s natural ability to heal itself. While research is limited in both the realms of mindfulness and cannabis, smaller studies have associated cannabis with lower blood pressure and potentially decreased inflammation. I’ve experienced the benefits of cannabis for my chronic stomach pain, another commonly reported benefit. Scientists have even explored the benefits for people with PTSD, who tend to lack certain endocannabinoids, which include relief from anxiety and traumatic memories.

It may seem that medicated yoga and meditation are a recent phenomenon, but since yogis have been sitting and ohm-ing, they have been using cannabis as a portal to greater enlightenment and peace. In one sense, I see it as a shortcut to a more spiritual state of mind, as well as one of the best ways to get me to slow down. Sitting still is a rarity nowadays. We don’t often give ourselves the gift of time alone—especially without technology, without background noise, and with the company of our own minds.

If you’re new to the cushion, meditating is truly as easy as 1-2-3.

 

  1. Take your seat. You can sit cross-legged or on your shins up on a cushion. You can also sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. 
  2. Place your attention on the breath. Take long, full inhales and exhales through the nose. 
  3. When (not IF!) your mind wanders, label your thoughts “thinking,” and return to your breath. Eyes can be closed, or stay softly open. 
  4. The optional final step is to select your ideal cannabis strain, set your intention, and set a timer. If you tend toward anxiety, I recommend a strain with a greater ratio of CBD to THC. For timing yourself, I recommend an app called Insight Timer. They offer guided meditations, as well interval bells to let you know how long you’ve been in meditation.


If stress, anxiety, and a busy mind is the norm, I can’t recommend cannabis meditation enough. Reap all the benefits of mindfulness—present moment awareness, thickened prefrontal cortex, reduced stress, anxiety, depression, etc.—and couple that with the benefits and delights of cannabis to experience true release, relaxation, and calm.

If you’re not sure where to go from here, these are my top tips for starting a cannabis meditation practice.

1. Start small.


In both dose and length, starting small and working your way up is high-ly recommended. Especially if mediation is new, it can be a frustrating, even unpleasant experience at first. When I first began, I could only sit for a few minutes. Remember, a key tenant of meditation is compassion, so be kind to yourself as your brain works to build new neural pathways!

2. Practice with intention and compassion.


Part of the process is accessing new parts of the brain and this takes time and repetition. Build a routine, and let it be a special time, even if it’s 10 minutes. Set aside a quiet place and choose a one-word intention. Don’t beat yourself up when you miss one session, and commit to starting fresh the next day. The goal is not to clear your mind of thoughts, but to steer it back to your breath, intention, or mantra.

3. Focus on the breath.

Breath is how we direct our attention in mediation, often how we consume cannabis, and how we regulate what are typically thought of as automatic processes in the body; try box breathing to return the body to baseline, or homeostasis. Breathe in to a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, and hold at the bottom for 4. Another method I love to practice is “inhaling peace, exhaling tension.”

4. Do what works for you.


Mindfulness can be practiced wherever we go: it doesn’t have to look like sitting in silence. Anytime you are bringing your awareness to the present moment, whether you’re eating, jogging, or folding laundry is a practice of mindfulness. I practice walking meditation, yoga (another form of moving meditation), and a few different techniques, including body-scanning, visualization, and loving-kindness meditation.


5. Find a teacher.


I hear this a lot from students: “How do I know if I’m really meditating? Am I even doing this right? I suck at this.” When learning anything, or diving deeper, a teacher can provide valuable insight and guidance to alleviate some of the “stress” that comes with venturing into uncharted territory. Join me to radiate from within, and shed stress through conscious cannabis consumption every Friday in Venice Beach. Check out the gorgeous Ceremony Meditation, and sign up for our first class August 10th, 5:30-6:15pm {https://ceremonymeditation.com/pages/book-service-class}. Stone Road will be sponsoring clean green certified flower that is #grownwithlove, and Dankgals will provide beautiful crystal pipes to infuse our ritual with clarity and intention.

Whether you are a seasoned sitter, or are new to the practice, know that true security is inner peace, and our bodies and minds can recall these moments no matter what is going on around us. Take the leap, and discover what freedom lies behind your closed eyes!








Articles cited: https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/vbxj58/this-is-what-happens-when-you-combine-weed-and-meditation
https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/93760
https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-and-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd

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