How to Use Mindfulness with Cannabis for Mental Health

How to Use Mindfulness with Cannabis for Mental Health

by Laura Geftman, LCSW 
These days trends indicate that both cannabis and mindfulness interventions are readily being embraced. A mind-body approach is being embraced by every variety of healthcare. Cannabis is taking the forefront in this new age of mindfulness as part of a greater push toward healthfulness and peace. What was once a considered shameful and additive habit is now being promoted as a healthier way of managing with mental health.

What is Mindfulness?

Multitasking is considered a positive in our society. However, our brains are not designed for multitasking. Dividing your attention takes away the experience and ultimately makes it impossible to complete tasks to the best of your ability.
Be here now. You seen it on t-shirts, bummer stickers and maybe even tattooed on a friend. The mindfulness therapeutic technique aims help create focus on the present moment, slowing down, not multitasking and being more conscious. It’s about creating a calm consciousness to recognize one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness is about accepting the quality of your state of being. By tuning into the present and acknowledging the moment, you can increase self-control and emotion regulation. Mindfulness helps decrease stress and psychological distress. It has also been attributed as a way to build concentration and increasing happiness.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness. Meditation and yoga are commonly practiced exercises.
The practice of Mindfulness Based Therapy (MBT) has been embraced by mental health professionals treating depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Psychotherapist use mindfulness techniques in treatment such as visualization, breathing exercises, and the use of mantras.

Mindfulness & Cannabis

When combining cannabis with mindfulness, we increase awareness and expand our consciousness. A deeper connection with your high means a deeper connection with yourself.
When using cannabis, not being fully present does not help the user to immerse in the experience and consciously connect with its effects. Being present can create a stronger connection with the effects of cannabis both physical and mentally. If passive and disconnected, the user is only getting high and not necessarily magnified your mood.
This awareness helps to maintain a healthy relationship with cannabis while bringing enjoyment to being present rather than falling into the stress of mindlessly multitasking. It is easier to feel the variety of effects a strain provides the body when your attention is focused on experiencing the high. Being engaged in the experience, you may notice that you feel intricate sensations more consciously. For example, if using an Indica strain, couchlock may give you the sensation of comfort and safety.
Mindful cannabis use helps users learn how they react to certain strains. As different strains and dosage varies, it’s important for individuals to whether a certain strain is yielding the effect needed. Users need to know how they react mentally, emotionally, physically to monitor and responsibly continue to benefit from cannabis use. Ultimately this awareness can help a user who’s less preoccupied with other thoughts or task target their use, manage their symptoms and lessen their use.
Mindful cannabis use includes being aware of the kind of cannabis you’re consuming- both the strain and its terpenes. Knowing more about what you are using helps to identify its best use, how much you should consume, and what you’ll experience.

How to Use Cannabis Mindfully

It’s a proven fact that planning and create habits around cannabis use can further your understanding of its process. If you are aiming to manage your anxiety or depression, approaching cannabis with mindfulness will help you best achieve relief. So let’s get planning.
Each individual needs to find their our practice that provides you best experience. Here are some suggestion that will help you find you mindful cannabis practice:
  1. Set an intention. Before using it’s best to set an intention to guide your experience in the right direction. Ask yourself if there’s something you want to feel or accomplish. Well consuming cannabis, visualize your intention and act on it.
  2. Stick to your nose. Smell the strain and see what you most respond to. Notice what it smells like and if that smell reminds you of anything. Be aware of your bodily reactions- mouthwatering, wincing, smiling, etc… The flavors of the terpene combination with provide your body with intuitive knowledge of not only what’s appealing to you but also what your body craves.
  3. Listen to your body. Budtenders and other consumers alike can be valuable sources of information. Both have varied education and experiences. Neither are you. Your body will tell you what feels good. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.
  4. Savor the taste. Different strains yield various flavors. Some are more pungent and others are citrusy. Notice what you taste- any bitterness, sweetness, etc…
  5. Take notes. Writing down what you notice about your experience will help you to recreate or improve upon your next experience. Note what, where, when and how you used. It will help you identify your best strains, methods and dosages.
  6. Journal your thoughts & feelings. Writing down the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing before, during, and after your use can help you understand your needs and manage your symptoms. Cannabis can help surface and reveal thoughts and feelings. Buried resentments and sublimated desires may come up. Writing about your experience helps to acknowledge what materializes and process what it means to your wellbeing.
Remember consistency breeds results. So what works for you? Are there any steps to conscious use you would add to the list? Comment below and let us know!

About Laura Geftman, LCSW

Laura Geftman, LCSW is the Founder of The Calm, Cool & Collected and a practicing therapist. Beyond all things cannabis and mental health, Laura is passionate about developing greater understanding for kindness and acceptance. In her free time, Laura can be found on her yoga mat, in a kayak or singing karaoke.

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Mindfulness & Cannabis

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Dawnmarie

    I did not know that there were flavors. I suppose that I did not think about it. I do think that the advice in #6 is good for many things in life.

  2. Very interesting, Cannabis has been such a popular topic right now! I like your thoughts about the mindfulness of using it!!

  3. Susan Franklin

    Laura, I can so relate to your paragraph about mindfulness and multi-tasking dividing our attention. It’s so true, we think we’re being productive and then I find that I haven’t given the proper attention needed and that ultimately, I’m less productive. Although I am not a cannabis user, I find that you provide such great information, guidance and help on the responsible use of it. It’s very helpful and I’m getting a great education.

    1. Hi Susan! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! Proper attention makes us more productive for sure! And happy to provide any and all useful information! Take good care!

  4. Nikki

    All great tips and information. With something new everyone needs to learn to be “mindful”. Happy Holidays!

  5. Tracy Foster

    Interesting read, I love the steps you have at the end. I have never thought about how each person could have a strain or variety that best suits them. I thought of it more of which variety is best.

    1. Hi Tracy! For some people it’s one strain that does the trick and for others it’s a variety. Each person’s needs are uniquely different! Cannabis can help with a very wide variety of symptoms! It’s kinda amazing stuff!

  6. Angela Greven

    Great post, I’ve shared your content with a few of my friends who use cannabis for medical reasons. Has truly helped one of my very close girlfriends with her anxiety! Thank you 🙂

    1. Ohmygoodness! That’s so great! Please let your friend know to reach out if she has questions. I’d be happy to help! Take good care!

  7. Rachel Newlon

    Excellent advice that I think more cannabis users really need to consider! Thanks!

  8. Shelly

    Interesting article. I’m not sure I agree with the mindfulness and pairing it with pot, but still a good article.

  9. Tricia

    I can’t say that I have ever really thought of cannabis in this way. Very interesting to ready about the steps and finding what works best for you. Not sure this is the right approach for me, but I enjoyed reading this!

  10. Katie

    I really enjoy your posts. I find them very interesting! I recently started taking CBD oil for anxiety and I can’t believe I didn’t think to journal how it made me feel.

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