Cannabis and meditation have each been with us for thousands of years. I’m not sure which came first, but they have long been connected. Some cannabis strains can induce peace and calm, and some others can push users to paranoia and hallucinations. For some people, these experiences complement and enhance their meditation practices.
Some schools of meditation discourage the use of any stimulant in the pursuit of a “purer” sober experience. They feel external influences might alter their desired connection with the spiritual. But we know enough about the chemistry of cannabis strains to review the strains that might improve meditation.
What you need to know about meditation
Every major organized religion encourages some form of meditation using internal and external practices to support the experience. Gregorian Chant inspires singers and listeners. Hindu mantras repeat melodious sacred words to create trance like experiences with spiritual, medical, and magical effects. Jews date their chanting (called “cantillation” and “leyning”) to the time of Ezra during their Babylonian Captivity. And, Islam encourages the practice of Dhikr, the verbal or mental repetition of phrases praising God.
These and other cultural tactics are used to create a state of spiritual openness and readiness. Millions also use meditation as a means toward mindfulness, self-awareness, physical and emotional relaxation, or a therapeutic remedy for problems with anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, and hypertension.
Types of Meditation
- Metta Meditation (Loving Kindness Meditation) repeats specific phrases to produce warm-hearted feelings for others.
- Chakra Meditation uses incense or candles to envision the body’s seven chakras, the sources of well-being.
- Vipassana Meditation seeks to achieve self-transformation through deepening self-awareness. It’s a strict discipline prohibiting intoxicants.
- Yoga (and its multiple variations) is an ancient but popular meditation regimen you can practice in formal sessions or individually at home.
- Transcendental Meditation repeats a personal mantra for 20 minutes twice a day. It claims to help you reach an inner peace without effort.
UCLA research studied those who have meditated more than 20 years “to add further support to the hypothesis that meditation is brain-protective and associated with a reduced age-related tissue decline.”
Yale researchers found meditation reduced activity in the brain’s “me center,” the default mode node (DMN) where the mind wanders and busies with self-referential thoughts.
And, Johns Hopkins studies confirmed that meditation can reduce anxiety and depression to a degree equivalent to a prescribed anti-depressant.
Cannabis and meditation
Some consistent meditators use cannabis before their sessions to relax and ease into their experience. Some use it after to extend the experience. While some use cannabis during their meditation exercise, it presents a distraction from the focus required of successful meditation.
Commonly used strains include:
1. Hindu Kush: One of the landrace strains, Hindu Kush has been in our hands for eons. A pure Afghani Indica, it may have first been used for its psychic effects, a dream provider with medical benefits.
The Kush has long been a master leader of scores of descendent strains. It still produces a quick full-bodied relaxation following a potent mental punch. It starts and continues for hours with a heavy headed drowsy effect especially with the stronger strains. Once you build up some tolerance, you can use it during days and might use before meditating.
Everything about Hindu Kush supports meditation, from the notes of incense in the aroma to piney qualities that arise from its deeply sedative qualities. With its 100% Indica, you cannot underestimate the THC content of 22%+ and tested as high as 33%. But if you are looking for something to deaden the chatter in your brain to help you meditate, Hindu Kush will do the trick.
2. Double Dream: This sativa-dominant hybrid offers the taste and aroma of sweet berries and spices. It leaves you dreamy and happy treating many symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain, inflammation, migraines, PSTD, and more.
The 90% sativa assures you rest. With negligible CBD and up to 26% THC, Double Dream produces a funk and spice layer under its blueberry fragrance. The high is slow to hit the brain before it spreads throughout the body. The cerebral excitement can be stimulating or creative, but it may also leave in a hypnotic state susceptible to suggestion. Hazy and dreamlike, the effects will help you sleep, reduce inflammation, and relieve nerve pain. But the trance like results turn some users off.
Its body/brain balance conditions you for a comfortable and lasting meditation session. Parented by the ever-popular Blue Dream, Double Dream is difficult to find. Calm and peaceful, it can empower or extend your meditative state.
3. White Widow: A classic and popular strain, White Widow is a sativa-dominant hybrid, nicely balanced a 60% Sativa / 40% Indica. Its 1% CBD and 1% CBN offset the 18% THC. This combo produces a moderate cerebral high with relaxation layered below.
Medical patients have long treated with White Widow for Bipolar Disorder, chronic pain, depression, fatigue, migraine headaches, PSTD, and spasticity. However, the same patients will tell you white Widow takes some time getting used to the dramatic impact. Novice smokers may like the lemon and pepper elements, but it can produce heavy coughing in first-time users.
Once accustomed to White Widow, users will enjoy its benefits without ruining their day. It’s recommended for long walks, picnics, and open-minded meditation, and it will encourage socialization and creativity.
4. Lavender (Soma #10): This Kush strain comes from a rich purple plant with the unique aroma we associate with the lavender herb. A 40% Sativa / 60% Indica, it sports a little skunk under its tested 14% to 27% THC.
The floral sweetness triggers a strong euphoria, but paranoia and panic are not unusual. For some, it lifts moods, reduces depression, and eliminates stress. It remains popular among veteran users who have increased their tolerance levels.
Rich and earthy, Lavender produces a tingling body buzz and a cerebral calm and focused clarity to support exercise and yoga sessions. It helps you move and stretch with freedom and without pain.
5. AK-47: This strain has a threatening name but a classic appeal. A Sativa-dominant hybrid, it holds a moderate level of THC between 13% and 20%. The 65% Sativa / 35% Indica ratio alleviates inflammation-related pain. This Cannabis Cup Award winner will leave you relaxed and mellow for hours.
It’s not a pretty plant, but it has an appealing combination of earth, tropical, citrus, and flowers. A brief powerful and euphoric head high leads to a thorough body relaxation that still permits clear-headed thinking when needed.
The chill produced offers a great opportunity and support for yoga and meditation of all sorts.
Letting cannabis aid your meditation
People meditate for scores of reasons. It can enhance personal or spiritual experience. It opens doors to fuller self-awareness and mindfulness. And, it can clear the mind and reduce physical stresses. No one recommends smoking cannabis while meditating, and those who do are probably fooling themselves. But it can precede or follow your exercise to improve and extend the event.