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Cannabis and meditation: best practices for an elevated mind

Published on August 2, 2017 · Last updated September 29, 2020

As the zen saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”

Easier said than done, right? To clear the mind and prepare for true meditation, you must forget about your list of chores, put away tomorrow’s anxieties, and try not to dwell on that embarrassing thing you did 12 years ago at your best friend’s party.

If you find yourself struggling to let go of your thoughts, consider lighting up before clearing out. Cannabis has a knack for focusing the mind when combined with meditation techniques, and with our guide below, it won’t be long before meditation is a simple part of your daily health regime. With time, patience, and perseverance, you’ll go from meditative newbie to a full-blown relaxation expert.

Why meditation matters

Negative thinking, or even overthinking, is a bad habit like any other. Just as one can get caught up in a cycle of biting nails or procrastination, it is also possible to develop patterns of thinking that are unhealthy. These states of mind can create heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and depression that have very real negative effects on not just mental, but also physical, health.

For the negative thinker, the best way to diminish those perceptions is by stopping undesirable trains of thought the moment you realize you’re having them, and replacing those thoughts with mindfulness and peaceful stillness. But how do we get to that place of stillness? It can be rather difficult to relax the mind, especially in today’s hyper-stimulating world.

Cannabis, however, is a wonderful vehicle to mentally get you where you need to go—our brains are full of cannabinoid receptors in areas of the brain related to behavior, thought, and mood. When cannabinoids in cannabis interact with these receptors, they produce euphoric, relaxing effects.

The Endocannabinoid System and CBD’s Role in Stress, Anxiety, and Fear Responses

That said, some may also find they experience an increase of anxiety after consuming certain strains or with certain cannabinoid ratios. It’s best to find the ideal strain for you on a personal basis, before embarking on your meditative journey.

It is equally important to explore differing meditation methods as it is different strains. From gazing meditation to deep breathing to body mindfulness, there are so many paths of meditation that can help clear your head. So put emphasis on your mental health by embracing meditation, cannabis, and the healing power of a clear and focused mind.

How to pair gazing meditation and cannabis

The purpose of “gazing” meditation is to sharpen your focus, promote clarity, and aid concentration by settling your eyes on a fixed object. The focus on the object allows for the dismissal of wandering thoughts and thinking patterns, ultimately clearing a path for a calmer mind.

The object can be anything of your choosing, but we recommend you opt for something soothing to view—common choices are the flame of a candle, a mandala, or ripples in a body of water.

Take your practice to the next level by reaching for a focus promoting strain such as the buzzy hybrid Double Dream.  This deeply relaxing strain will invigorate the mind while maintaining mental clarity and full-body tranquility.

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Step one: Once you have chosen your object, sit across from it in a comfortable position (consider sitting cross-legged on a pillow).

Step two: With the object in clear sight before you, allow your focus to settle on the details: the way the candle flame flickers and moves as though it breathes; the intricate patterns and colors of the mandala; how the sunlight glints off the rippling waves.

Step three: Do not strain your gaze—simply allow the image to wash over you as you rest your gaze upon it. Allow your attention to be focused entirely on the object. As you gaze gently, allow your breathing to soften, deepen, and gradually move towards viewing the object without contextualizing it in thought at all.

Final step: Gaze until your mind is still and all that stirs is the flame of your candle and the rise and fall of your chest.

How to pair deep breathing and cannabis

Deep breathing is the cornerstone of meditation. By controlling our breath, we can control not only our thoughts, but even the strongest and most volatile of emotions. It is the simplest way to gain control of a runaway mind.

Inhale an uplifting strain to capitalize on those meditative feelings of euphoria—we recommend the bright sativa Chocolope for its elating effects and ability to crush anxiety.

Step one: Sit in a comfortable position of your choosing with your chest upright and back straight. Close your eyes and relax your shoulders. Allow the tension to melt out of your body.

Step two: Observe your breath in this relaxed state. Then, take a long, deep breath in through the nose, filling up your whole abdomen and chest with air.

Step three: Once you have inhaled fully, pause at the top for just a beat or two and then very slowly begin to exhale fully out. Pause here for another couple beats (these pauses should always be comfortable and never strained). Then, inhale again and repeat this pattern.

Final step: As you breathe, allow your thoughts to focus solely on your breath and gradually allow your mind to clear. Simply exist in this space breathing mindfully and relax as all else melts away.

How to pair body mindfulness and cannabis

If you have trouble relaxing or sitting still, this method may be the one for you. The idea here is to focus your attention on your body, scanning each part to observe the areas that are holding tension and mindfully allow it to relax. With this inward focus, the mind is permitted to let go of aggravating thoughts.

Such a calm, meditative routine deserves a heavy indica to really open up a deep sense of alleviation. Before you begin, pick up Master Kush—this knock-out strain provides full-body relaxation without the mind-numbing effects commonly associated with heavy indicas, so it’s the perfect pair for complete meditative comfort.

Step one: Begin by lying flat on your back on a comfortable surface such as a bed or yoga mat. Allow your arms to rest at your sides with your palms turned up and fingers naturally curled. Legs should be relaxed with feet allowed to fall outward. Permit yourself to sink into the earth beneath you; really feel the heaviness of your form as you fully unwind.

Step two: Treat your mind like a scanner ready to inspect each part of your body and banish any tension it may find. Start at your feet, toes and ankles, letting them relax fully. Move up your legs, thighs, hips, lower back, and stomach. Continue on to your arms, hands, fingers, shoulders, neck, jaw, and all the muscles in your face. Move your focus over your body slowly, taking your time, and when you discover tension, allow it to dissipate, leaving fluidity and release in its place.

Final step: As you relax your body, make sure your breathing is relaxed as well. Long deep breaths in, followed by long slow breaths out. When you have completed your scan, you will find your entire body is filled with relaxation. Continue to lie there and breathe, while turning your focus inward, allowing the relaxed state to extend to your mind as you seek those moments of clarity and stillness.

Have your own meditation techniques that are enhanced with cannabis? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Rae Lland
Rae Lland
Rae Lland is a freelance writer, journalist, and former editor for Weedist and The Leaf Online. With a focus on culture, music, health, and wellness, in addition to her work for Leafly, she has also been featured in numerous online cannabis publications as well as print editions of Cannabis Now Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @rae.lland
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