Any novice to the use of cannabis can smoke a bit of cannabis and zone out in front of the TV. But those who are more experienced and intentional when it comes to their cannabis use may find the substance beneficial to the practice of meditation. By adding cannabis to your meditation, you can allow the herb to elevate your experience and expand your consciousness, deepening the meditative state and giving access to planes of thought you might not otherwise have been able to experience.
Sound a little bit new-age-y and flaky? You might be surprised to learn just how long cannabis has been part of the ritual of meditation for some people and about the many things it can do to enhance your practice.
The History of Cannabis and Meditation
The use of cannabis as a supplement to meditation has roots from about 1500 BC when ancient Hindus revered it as one of their five sacred plants. In fact, legend has it that the Hindu deity Lord Shiva was known for loving cannabis. Ancient Hindus incorporated the plant into the practice of their religion. To this day, an annual spiritual festival in Nepal features the marijuana plant as a part of the celebration.
Thanks to the stigma that has developed around cannabis, many of these practices have been lost or simply failed to make their way to the United States. But as the legality of cannabis accelerates, we have the opportunity to discover the meditative benefits it offers.
The Benefits of Cannabis as a Supplement to Meditation
So why should you consider incorporating cannabis into your own meditative practice? The answer is that the effects of cannabis lend themselves particularly to several of the mental breakthroughs meditative practice tries to encourage. By incorporating marijuana into your practice, you may discover new depth in the following ways:
- Perception. While high, you may find yourself aware of something you don’t usually notice. The stereotype is that people high on THC are able to entertain themselves endlessly by staring at their own hands, but the truth of the matter is that you may be able to consider your body, your surroundings, or aspects of your life in ways that you would not have ordinarily thought about.
- Relaxation. Cannabis is a great tool to help your body relax. As long as you are wise and mindful about dosage and what strain you use, you can achieve a very relaxing high that will enable you to come to a place of stillness and deepen your meditative state. Relaxation also prompts your body to engage in deep, even breathing, which is a fundamental tenet of meditation.
- Awareness. The high mind searches for any kind of stimulus, and if you don’t provide that stimulus—by turning on the TV, for example—the brain will turn inward for entertainment. This is exactly the function of meditation it is meant to encourage. Your mind will call forth memories and ideas and present them for your examination and analysis, allowing you to think deeply and travel inward.
How to Get Started
If you develop an anxious high or overdo it, your meditative experience is going to be ruined. Therefore, it’s a good idea to start with a small dose for your first experience. Choose a strain you’ve tried before so that you’ll know what to expect. You may want to opt for smoking or vaping so that you can maintain a steady, consistent high, rather than experiencing one that peaks dramatically and then trails away.
Make sure you are in an environment where you feel comfortable. Maybe you prefer to surround yourself with trusted friends, or maybe you’re happiest on your own. Then, enjoy the ride!