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?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Savor the taste. Different strains yield various flavors. Some are more pungent and others are citrusy. Notice what you taste- any bitterness, sweetness, etc…
- 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.
- 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!
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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