Meditate While You Medicate: The Other Side of Cannabis
Emily Earlenbaugh was introduced to cannabis as a patient.
“I suffer from chronic pain, anxiety and fatigue conditions, and cannabis helps me to manage and relieve my painful symptoms. Unfortunately, while there are many types of cannabis, only a few work for me. Starting out, it was a challenge to sort through the variety of cannabis options. Still, when I had mastered these variables, I had a medical cannabis regimen that worked better than any of the conventional treatments I had tried.”
That’s what inspired her to shift her life focus to cannabis education - with a passion to help others find an easier path to the cannabis options that work for them.
“My experiences as a cannabis patient paired with my educational background (I have a doctorate in the philosophy of science from UC Davis) informs my approach to cannabis education. Start with the best science available, and then fine tune with mindfulness to find what works best for you!”
What is Mindful Cannabis Consumption?
Mindful cannabis consumption is all about combining education with mindfulness to find the best cannabis options for you. Being mindful is about paying attention, and this means paying attention both to the science and data that we have about cannabis, and to how cannabis affects you on an individual level. By tuning into your own needs, reactions and rituals you can vastly improve your cannabis experiences.
At Mindful Cannabis Consulting we help to educate patients about the cannabis science, while teaching cannabis specific mindfulness techniques to help improve and fine tune their cannabis regimens.
Emily’s Top 3 Strategies to Avoid MindLESS Cannabis Consumption:
#1 Choose Products Carefully
When you go into a dispensary, it’s easy to just pick a strain name that sounds tasty, or go with the budtender’s recommendation on what’s good this week. It’s also easy to take a toke off of any joint that a friend is passing around the room. But this is a straightforwardly mindless way to consume. You are just taking whatever is given and hoping it works out.
Cannabis is so diverse, you never know what a random product will do.
To avoid this, start with a little research ahead of time to find products or strains that are highly rated for the effects you are looking for, or find ones that have worked well for you in the past. Once you know what does and doesn’t work for you - get picky about your cannabis. Indulge in only the cannabis products you enjoy using, and your cannabis experiences will get a whole lot better.
#2 Meditate When You Medicate
Another way to mindlessly consume is to use cannabis while you are doing other things. If you are multitasking like this it is easy to use too much, not enough, or to not even notice the effects of your cannabis.
Instead, try focusing fulling on the ritual of cannabis and giving yourself a few minutes to meditate on the experience.
If you are smoking or vaping, let that be the only thing you do. Sit and notice the way it feels, the joint or vaporizer in your hand, the smoke or vapor moving in and out of your lungs, the effects of the cannabis beginning to affect your body and mind. For topicals, focus on the sensation of application, and the relief of pain and tension in your body. For edibles, notices the tastes and textures of the edible. Just be with that is happening, and you are likely to have a more intense, calming and effective experience with cannabis. You are also more likely to notice when you’ve had enough, and whether the medicine is helping you achieve your desired effects.
#3 Track Your Experiences
My last bit of advice is to track your experiences with cannabis.
The mindless consumption of the wrong products can only be fixed by knowing what products work for you. And unfortunately the best way to find that out is still through trial and error.
To make this trial and error process as short and painless as possible, track your experiences with cannabis so you remember clearly which products worked and which failed to help, or made things worse. Mindfully noticing and recording these experience can help avoid future mindless consumption of the wrong products.
How can we make the most pure, consciousness choices as consumers new to the space?
First, I would say to follow the advice outlined above about avoiding mindless consumption. It can be confusing at first to find products in the space, so finding help from people who know more about the plant can also help. I would add that starting small with dosing is important for avoiding negative side effects.
What’s been your most surprising discovery while working in the field thus far?
I think the most surprising discovery has been the extreme variety of effects that cannabis can create. With hundreds of different chemical compounds, in virtually endless combinations, cannabis can produce some starkly different effects, such as making you tired or energetic, in less pain or more pain, more relaxed or less relaxed, more hungry or less hungry, and so on.
Sometimes these differences are because of differences in chemical composition the strain or method used for ingestion, sometimes because of an individual's biochemistry, and other times because different of doses used. Understanding all these factors can be the difference between improving your situation and making it worse.