Cannabis & Mindfulness
Living with anxiety can be exhausting, especially given the times. Personally, it took me way too long to find healthy practices that helped me cope or relieve it. The act of mindfulness was one.
Practicing mindfulness can be an extremely beneficial tool for improving mental health (which helps our overall health in turn). While some might think of this as a private practice, the truth is mindfulness is far from reserved for monks and yogis.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is pretty simple. It's the mental state where all your attention focuses on the present moment. Maintaining a moment to moment awareness of whatever it is you are doing, is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a practice that has been around for thousands of years, involving various religious and secular traditions as well as non-religious meditation. It has a variety of research-backed impacts and benefits, including a reduction in stress, and improvements in job satisfaction, emotional regulation, focus, and more.
A simple way of putting it is to think of mindfulness as a state, trait, or practice. We can experience a moment of mindfulness––a mental state. We can also have a sustained experience that is more like a habit or a strong tendency to be mindful––a trait. Or, we can engage in a more intentional practice of mindfulness by using various physical forms, postures, and activities, including seated mindfulness meditation, mindful walking, and mindful eating.
How does mindfulness help our lives?
Practicing mindfulness has shown to:
Reduce stress -
When you become aware of your thoughts, you have more control over how you react to them. When you are in this capacity, you can observe your feelings instead of letting them consume you. Practicing control over your reactions to life situations will help to control and reduce stress.
Decrease depression -
Once you gain more control over your reactions, you can work on stabilizing your moods more. Often, it is our guilt about the past or anxiety about the future that increases depression. If you can learn to remain in the present moment, you can assess the situation more clearly and, hopefully, less negatively.
Improve overall health -
When our mental health is good, our physical health follows. Science shows many links to health issues that are induced or heightened from stress (there's a reason they call it the silent killer).
If mindfulness has a possibility of improving your general health, it's worth a try!
How does cannabis aid in mindfulness?
Where do cannabis and mindfulness come together? In more ways than one!
Cannabis has been reported to help improve a multitude of ailments, moods, activities, and other practices, including mindfulness. The two are a better pair than you might think––as long as you find the right strain and dosage.
As many users report, cannabis can help induce a heightened sense of body and mind awareness. When using before meditation, cannabis can help bring users to a calmer state and make it easier to quiet the mind and focus on the practice.
It's not stoner placebo effect either; science shows cannabis is proven to help you relax into your meditation.
"The cannabinoid receptors most densely populated in our brain, our CB1 receptors, are responsible for our brain's inhibition and excitation response that just allows the optimal kind of functioning of brain chemistry," says Emma Chasen, cannabis educator and co-founder of Eminent Consulting. "And so our CB1 receptors, being part of the endocannabinoid system, promotes balance in this arena. And really, we're looking at three primary neurotransmitters—GABA, dopamine, and glutamate."
Each of these neurotransmitters serves a different function. Glutamate––one of the brain's most prevalent neurotransmitters––promotes optimal brain health while dopamine helps to control mood, and GABA modulates stress. And when you introduce cannabis into the system, it has a direct impact on all three of these neurotransmitters—which can make it easier to relax, focus, and settle into the experience of meditation."
Science shows us how each puff can be proven to help if you find the right strain.
Easier to relax
One key component to remaining mindful and present is the ability to relax. Luckily, many users report feeling more relaxed when consuming cannabis. Of course, this too depends on the strain and setting you are consuming in––but once you unlock the right combination, the possibilities are endless.
To help with this, try looking for strains with the terpene linalool. Linalool is the terpene found in lavender and is proven to help promote bodily relaxation and stress relief.
With the chaos of our busy day to day lives, it can be challenging to focus on any one thought (let alone nothing) for an extended period. Luckily, cannabis can be of great help with improving focus as well.
If you have trouble focusing, try finding strains with limonene. Limonene is a terpene that helps to improve focus, decrease stress, and boost overall mood.
Investing in your health is well worth the time it takes.
Whether you're doing it for fun or feeling better, cannabis is one of the best tools nature has given us to treat ourselves.
Mixing cannabis with other healthy rituals or practices can elevate you to a new level of happiness and peace. Find your balance and share your experience with others!