Should You Blend Meditation Sessions With Cannabis?

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Meditation & Cannabis

With varying opinions on the subject, we talked to experts in the field to find out whether this duo is a go or a no.

If you’re new to meditation, finding your center can take some time. And the same goes for cannabis — finding a strain or method of consumption that you can get down with regularly also requires some experimentation. But should you roll these two new wellness hot topics into one super session? Some camps say yay, while others aren’t so sure. And there is good reason to be trepidatious on all fronts. But that shouldn’t stop you from learning whether or not these two things can help you improve your current state of being.

“Meditation is bringing one's attention to a point of focus, such as the breath, a mantra, a body scan or visualization,” says Emily Thring, founder of The Quiet Company, a meditation studio in Toronto. “Different techniques call for different points of focus,” she continues. “The practice is keeping your attention on that point of focus to achieve a mentally calm or clear state. It helps to remove you from the present moment and can help manage anxiety, stress and rumination.”

So does cannabis help or hinder the idea of meditation? “It is recommended to first experience both on their own and then decide for yourself how you would like to pair it,” say Carolyn Plater MSW RSW and Stephanie Kersta MSc RP, both mental health clinicians and psychotherapists, who just opened wellness space Hoame in downtown Toronto. “There are many meditative classes that encourage one to indulge prior to their meditations — whereas other classes encourage consumption during the actual practice. This is of course an individual choice.”

And it makes sense when you think about it. Cannabis can be a mind-altering experience, in both good ways and bad. So it’s best to know how your body is going to react to a strain before you bring in meditation, because no one wants to feel anxiety or stress while they are trying to find their zen. And Thring agrees: “I think that plant medicine like cannabis is very powerful and can enhance your experience but it should be explored with caution.”

And there could be some negatives to getting high before you meditate. Both note that if someone suffers from anxiety or mental illness to tread carefully. “If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, I would not combine them as it might be an intense or overwhelming experience,” recommends Thring. “A significant con would be adverse reactions particularly if people are using cannabis with high doses of THC - the psychoactive component of the plant,” Plater and Kersta add.

And is there a way to avoid going into a bad place when it comes to meditation and marijuana? You may want to look into the strain you’re consuming. Strains with higher THC levels, like Plater and Kersta mention above, might contribute to the feeling of uneasiness or anxiety that comes with being stoned. So make sure to test out the strain that you want to use in a safe environment like your home, which is often a recommended tool for experimenting with cannabis in general. Once you know how the plant will affect you, you can go out into the world or get into your head, with less panic.

Another thing to note: “Cannabis is a tool. Just like any other tool, it takes years of practice, patience and perspective to truly see the depths of its value,” Nimea Ariana, a visionary artist and designer who works with cannabis, believes. “We are just breaking into new territory with its legalization in Canada and the beginnings of it happening world-wide.” So if it’s not working for you now, that doesn’t mean it won’t be something of added wellness value in the future.

When looking for a strain that is best suited to meditation, that answer is also individual. It’s likely best to incorporate a CBD, indica or hybrid strain into your meditation at first, as opposed to a sativa. Indicas or hybrids can act with a more calming effect, which is in conjunction with how you want your meditation practice to take shape.

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Whats Next?

With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, we can be sure of two things:

Research will continue to advance in the space and meditation and marijuana might just be the next big wellness trend.