Meditation, let alone stoned meditation, offers a plethora of proven benefits.
Meditation can reduce anxiety, increase a positive outlook on life, and even treat various stress-related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As you may know, anxiety, IBS, and PTSD are also some of the primary health conditions that cannabis can treat. Meditation is excellent, and medical marijuana does wonders, but did you know that you can combine the two for mindful superpowers?
Keep reading to learn how meditation can improve life quality, how cannabis can enhance meditation, and how to try out a stoned meditation yourself.
How can meditation improve life quality?
When we’re stressed out, our body produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is called our body’s “built-in-alarm system.” It alerts us of danger by releasing inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. Ideally, we’d only have this stress result when we’re in real trouble, such as in a car accident or if a bear attacks us while we’re hiking. In such situations, the stress response can prompt our body to react to protect us. Thus, the fear is a warranted reaction.
However, this chemical reaction to stress also occurs when we’re not in life or death situations (even if it feels like it), but during the everyday stressors of life. For example, a misunderstanding with your spouse, a nasty email from a co-worker, or even an upsetting news alert on your phone can all cause your body to flood with cortisol. This release can have detrimental effects such as anxiety, increased blood pressure, depression, fatigue, and insomnia.
Regular meditation can help prevent us from experiencing an onslaught of cortisol. But it can also help us recover from the harmful effects of stress. IBS is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine and can be caused by stress. Symptoms include cramping, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, as well as constipation. Evidence suggests that meditation can help lower the severity of IBS symptoms.
For the one in 11 people who will be diagnosed with PTSD, stress is an ongoing issue in their lives. It stems from real, horrific trauma and can make day-to-day life difficult. For example, people with PTSD experience anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, and difficulty with intimacy in relationships due to their trauma. While it’s not a cure-all, research shows that meditation and yoga can reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms.
Furthermore, a review published in June 2017 in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience concludes that “chronic inflammation is an essential component of chronic diseases.” These include cancer, depression, and cardiovascular diseases. One study suggests that mindfulness meditation can reduce the inflammation response triggered by stress. So what happens when we up the ante by adding cannabis to meditation?
How can cannabis enhance meditation?
Cannabis and meditation have a lot in common. They’re both alternative modules of healing with ample research to back of the effectiveness. Additionally, if you live in a state with safe access to legal cannabis, both marijuana and meditation are accessible. So far, we’ve covered how everyday stressors from work, family, or the news can flood the body with the stress hormone cortisol.
Evidence shows that meditation can lower cortisol, but here’s some inspiring news: Recently, a study came out that demonstrated cannabis users have a lower stress response than non-cannabis users. The findings of the stress test indicated that non-cannabis users experience higher levels of cortisol than non-cannabis users. As a result, cannabis users have more “resilience to stress.”
This could explain why cannabis is used for anxiety and can even help us see the glass half-full. One study found that people who use marijuana have a lower negative bias, meaning they tend to take a more positive attitude towards life.
Cannabis can also treat physical manifestations of stress, such as IBS, that also react to meditation. Marijuana can safely reduce pain and ease nausea associated with the disruptive condition, and it’s not the only one. People have used cannabis to treat PTSD for years, with everyone from veterans to sexual assault survivors reaping the benefits of the plant’s ability to quell anxiety, quiet the mind to access traumatic memories safely, and fight nightmares and flashbacks. So what happens when we mix meditation and cannabis?
The best cannabis for meditation is one that your body is comfortable and familiar with. When you are using the plant for stress and anxiety, remember that too much THC can cause anxiety, so don’t overdo it. Implementing a mindfulness practice can also help you only consume as much as you need. Practice makes perfect. When you become familiar with meditation and your body’s relationship with marijuana, you can add a smoke session to your next meditative breathing exercise, such as the one below.
Try a guided cannabis-enhanced meditation:
- Find somewhere comfortable to sit. This could be a pillow on the floor, a yoga mat, or even at your desk.
- Inhalation works best for this meditation. Place your pipe or vape nearby on the floor within arm’s reach. Take a few moments to gather yourself.
- We’ll be using the four-fold breath for this meditation, which is known to aid in stress relief. Let’s try the regular version first.
- Inhale for four counts. Hold for four counts. Exhale for four counts. Hold for four counts.
- Repeat this cycle three times.
- Now, while continuing to watch your breath, grab your cannabis. In time with your breath, inhale for four counts. Slowly exhale the smoke or vapor for four counts. Hold for four counts.
- Repeat three times or whatever best suits your meditation needs.
- Enjoy a few rounds of breath without cannabis to begin to come back to an alert state.
- Don’t rush to get up. Take your time, and calmly and gracefully return to the waking world. Go about your day with newfound calmness, joy, and serenity.
Remember to always check in with your doctor and therapist about a new mental health program. Have fun with this, be easy on yourself, and gradually incorporate more cannabis-enhanced medtation techniques to reduce the stress of daily life.