Meditating can be described as the act of training the mind to quiet: shush now, cerebellum. It induces a mode of consciousness that promotes relaxation, builds internal energy, and increases serotonin. People who meditate tend to improve their ability to be loving, patient, and accepting. Meditation teaches practitioners mindfulness too, the act of appreciating the moment as it happens. Because you may as well appreciate the crud out of it – that moment will never be back again.
Some people view meditation as worthless – to quote President Business from the Lego Movie, they see it as “Hippy, dippy, baloney.” But science backs the believers and, perhaps, it’ll convince the nonbelievers too.
How Meditating Impacts the Brain
According to Forbes, meditation impacts both the physical and emotional in a number of ways. Some of these include:
It slows the aging brain: A study conducted at UCLA found that people who regularly mediated had brains that aged better than those who weren’t down with the om. This could be a direct result of meditation or it could be a domino effect: meditation reduces stress and stress reduces brain atrophy.
It influences antidepressants: Researchers at John Hopkins looked at mindful-based meditation and its relation to depression, pain receptivity, and anxiety. They found that meditation had the same effect as antidepressants, neither of which were a cure-all for mental strife, but certainly weapons worth using.
It changes the size of key brain areas: Harvard researchers found the meditation altered key areas of the brain. Mindful-Based Stress Reduction increased cortical thickness in the hippocampus – which influences learning and memory – while decreasing the volume of the amygdala – which influences stress, fear, and anxiety.
It reduces social anxiety: It might seem like meditation would compound social anxiety rather than relieve it – sitting crossed legged in the middle of a dinner table and chanting can get a bit awkward – but studies indicate that mindful meditation
Helps a variety of anxiety disorders, including the type brought on by parties and people
It helps with addiction: Meditation affects the self-control regions of the brain, which better prepares people to escape the grip of addiction. People in cessation programs who meditate are much more likely to quit smoking than those who only participate in the program.
Why People Don’t Meditate
As mentioned above, some people don’t believe in the power of meditation and this makes it unlikely for them to engage. But there’s two other reasons people don’t meditate: time and ability.
With everyone’s lives jam-packed with work, soccer practices, and binge watching Gossip Girl (now on Netflix!), meditation falls by the wayside.
Many people get around this by meditating in the morning as soon as they get up
Sure, it involves awaking a few minutes earlier, but that’s why coffee was invented. Meditating in the morning also gives you less to think about: if you wait until night, you might spend your entire session contemplating your tough day at work or the traffic so bad the friendly, neighborhood snail beat you home.
Ability limits people too: meditation is hard. The act of sitting down and remaining silent isn’t difficult, but quieting the mind often seems impossible: we sit, we chant, and we still can’t turn off our brains. Whether we worry about an upcoming project or the tasks of the day or simply hear the theme song from Different Strokes over and over again in our heads – Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum! – quieting the mind is extremely difficult.
But this is where cannabis helps.
How to Meditate with Cannabis
The first step in meditating with cannabis is to get the right strain. There is no universal answer, as strains effect people differently, but strains that cause creativity or an influx of thoughts aren’t ideal for meditation: you’re trying to turn the brain off, not give it crack.
Because of what meditation requires, most people find strains dominated
by indica more conducive to this mindful practice. These strains are sedating, relaxing, and calming. They’re also not as anxiety-inducing as sativas: you can meditate beside your bong without thinking your goldfish is judging you.
Once you have the correct strain (ask your budtenders for a name that’s right for whatever you’re hoping to accomplish during your practice), plan your meditative session around consumption. As soon as you start to feel the relaxation effects, begin.
The influence of cannabis should enhance the ability of your mind and body to relax
studies suggest that it’s beneficial before meditation and yoga. Marijuana has the ability to distort perception as well, which allows you to sit for longer periods without thinking how badly you must get up and get on with your day. Time flies when you’re smoking fun.
A Note on Paranoia
Paranoia is part of pot: The budtender is a budtender and a serial killer. Soylent Green capsules are people! Your company that’s never ever conducted a drug test will surely do one first thing tomorrow morning! You can avoid paranoia to a point – use strains with low THC, use those high in CBD, or only use strains that you’ve smoked before without any nervous effects. But paranoia comes with the territory and it’s something you may want to avoid during meditative practices. However – if it does arise – use it to your advantage.
In the event paranoia rears its head during a session, go with it and see what happens. Sitting, listening, and considering your thoughts is an ideal way to gain introspection. Though the thoughts may seem paranoid, they’re still your thoughts and they’re communicating something to you, providing insight, and maybe giving you the answers you crave.
Just as some poets, writers, and artists swear they come up with their best ideas when they’re in the shower, perhaps you’ll come up with something while you meditate on marijuana: take a toke or two and then suddenly understand every single thing about nuclear fusion.