by Deb Powers
Throughout history, people have used cannabis to help open their minds and connect with the world around them. Most often, they used cannabis as part of a ceremony to help them focus their minds and open themselves to the experience.
In today’s world, people are turning to cannabis as a way to balance their emotions, unwind from the daily grind, and reconnect with a more mindful state of being. Here’s what you need to know to understand how weed affects your emotions, and how to mindfully incorporate it into your wellness routine.
A Short History of Cannabis and Emotions
Before we get into the science behind how cannabis interacts with our emotions, it’s helpful to understand the various ways cannabis has been used to enhance states of being throughout history. These are some of the cultures that have used cannabis to help them meditate and be more mindful in their lives.
- Some ancient Chinese cultures were using cannabis for spiritual reasons 2,700 years ago.
- One of the earliest Chinese medical books said a person could talk to spirits by using cannabis.
- In Egypt, cannabis was connected to Seshat, the goddess of wisdom. Followers may have used cannabis in religious ceremonies.
- Ancient Greeks may have burned cannabis during religious ceremonies.
- Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, created bhang (an edible mixture made from the buds, leaves, and flowers of the female cannabis plant) from his own body. He drank it to focus his power when doing good things for the world. People eat or drink foods made with bhang on special occasions.
- Some Native American tribes believe that smoking cannabis with others helps spread peace.
- Rastafarians use ganja to raise their awareness, get rid of negative energy, and bring peace and community.
The Science Behind Cannabis & Mood
In the modern world, the religious and spiritual practices involving cannabis have begun to be backed up by scientific research. Here are some basic things scientists know about cannabis and how it works in your body.
- The cannabis plant is made up of more than 500 different substances. Some of them are found in many other plants. Some, called cannabinoids, are much less common in other plants. Scientists have found between 100 and 150 different cannabinoids.
- These cannabinoids and compounds work with your body’s endocannabinoid system to help send messages between your brain and other parts of your body. Scientists believe that the ECS controls nearly everything your body does.
- THC has a very similar molecular structure to the neurotransmitter anandamide, which is an endogenous cannabinoid that our bodies naturally produce. Also known as the bliss molecule, anandamide is thought to help regulate our mood. Because THC has a similar structure, scientists believe it is able to stimulate the same areas of the brain as anandamide.
- Many of these substances seem to work better when you use them together in the right ratio. This is called the entourage effect. This effect can be heightened by using products that pair cannabis with other herbs and spices, like those from The Root of It All (which take their cue from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda).
How Does Weed Affect Your Emotions?
So how does weed affect your emotions? It can depend on a few things, including the type of cannabis product you’re using. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using cannabis-infused essential oils to help you on your path to wellness.
- Cannabis helps you relax, especially when you use a strain that has a mix of THC and CBD. Why It Helps: It’s hard to meditate or be mindful when your brain is going around in circles. A little weed can help still your mind and make it easier to stay in the moment. The Root of It All’s SLOW tincture blends basil, orange, and fennel, three essential oils that help calm and relax your mind. Slow is infused with an indica strain with a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD, so you get the maximum benefit from all of the ingredients.
- Weed may help you “disconnect” from your emotions. Why It Helps: One of the keys to meditation and mindfulness is to recognize what you feel without holding onto it. One recent study found that cannabis makes it easier to process your emotions without getting stuck in them. If stress is making you restless and unable to quiet your mind, STOP is for you. The blend of chamomile, lavender, and valerian root promotes tranquility and you peacefully unwind from the day’s emotions so you can ease into sleep.. The 10:1 indica strain has just enough THC to activate the other benefits.
- THC activates the part of your brain that notices details. You notice the rainbow on a soap bubble or the way the veins on a leaf look like little trees. Why It Helps: The goal of mindfulness is to live fully in the moment. Cannabis gives your brain a little extra nudge in the right direction. In fact, yoga and meditation may mimic the effects of cannabis on your brain. GO uses cardamom, ginger, and rosemary, essential oils that wake up your senses and boost your energy. Infused with a THC-strong sativa strain, it’s ideal if you need an energy boost to get you through hot yoga.
- Cannabis may help with muscle relaxation and body balance. Some research suggests that cannabis helps relax your muscles, making it easier and more comfortable to meditate or do yoga. And obviously, it’s much easier to meditate when you’re not in pain. REWIND is your go-to to help soothe and relax muscle tension. The special turmeric, black pepper, and cloves blend is infused with a CBD-dominant sativa strain for fast, targeted relief.
How to Use Cannabis to Elevate Mindfulness
There’s no one way to use cannabis as part of your mindfulness practice. It depends so much on your needs and what you want to accomplish. These pointers can help you create your personalized routine.
- If muscle tension or soreness is a problem, check out these tips on how to use THC salve to soothe muscle aches. Apply 15 to 30 minutes before starting your practice for full effect.
- Start low so you can see how cannabis affects your practice.
- If you’re using a tincture, drop one or two drops under your tongue. Hold for 15 seconds, and then wait 15 minutes before you begin meditating.
- Remember that mindfulness happens all the time, not just when you’re meditating or practicing. These are a few other ways to add in a little boost during your day: 1) Before you go for a walk, try some GO to increase your awareness and energy. 2) Unwind after dinner to help you enjoy your evening more. 3) Ease stress before social activities to have more fun with friends. 4) SLOW will help ease you into a relaxed state of mind for your evening. 5) STOP for Sleep at bedtime helps ensure a restful night’s sleep.
Cannabis can be an aid to meditation or used on its own to help you be more mindful and present in your life. The key is choosing the right blend for the effect you want.
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