High Thoughts: Marijuana and Self Awareness

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COVID-19 lockdowns sprang up out of nowhere giving many people additional downtime that we’ve never had before. There’s a lot of talk about learning to speak a new language, taking an online course, getting back into painting, or pulling the trigger on that business you’ve been talking about, but while making the most of this newfound free time is great, you shouldn’t have to feel pressured to be an overachiever. However, one aspect that does deserve more attention during this stressful time is putting ourselves and our mental health first and cannabis may be able to help. Reggae legend Bob Marley once said “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.” Most pot smokers will agree with Bob and others that marijuana and self awareness are connected.

Why does self awareness matter?

What is self awareness? Self awareness is the concept of being fully aware of your own emotions, characteristics, qualities, motives, desires, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s essentially knowing everything about yourself and how others perceive you. Believe it or not, it is not something that comes naturally. Just like it takes time to build relationships with others, seeing yourself clearly also takes effort. When you become self aware, it’s possible to make positive changes to your mindset, goals, and beliefs. Working on becoming more self aware is essential to achieving happiness, overall wellbeing, and foraging your unique path in life (it pretty much makes you a better human). Self Awareness also happens to be a quality associated with effective leaders since it inspires creativity, confidence, improved communication, and superior decision making.

Marijuana and self awareness

From alleviating chronic pain to treating insomnia and epilepsy, the health benefits associated with cannabis are far reaching. While building self awareness can be done without assistance, improved self awareness and reflective contemplation are common effects marijuana users experience (there’s even various subreddits discussing the topic). While there are few scientific studies on the subject, many marijuana smokers have opened up about self-analyzing, saying they are able to better understand their characteristics and feelings when high. One pot user explained that, “the marijuana high made me introspective, and I used it to catalogue my strengths, weaknesses and traits. The drug was a revealer, not an escape mechanism; it helped me see who I was and what I needed to be.” Without hard science to back up these claims, we have to take cannabis smokers at their word, but with so many people having reported the same experience, it seems very likely that heightened self observation is just as prevalent as other effects from bud like the munchies. Luckily, this altered perspective allows us to self reflect objectively and gain valuable insight into our personality and character.

Normally we think of ourselves as either being much more amazing than we actually are or are held back from reaching our full potential by feelings brought on by imposter syndrome, when in actuality neither is true. Accomplished astrophysicist Carl Sagan explains it best, “Cannabis brings us an awareness that we spend a lifetime being trained to overlook and forget and put out of our minds.” When we’re baked, most of us are hanging out with friends, watching movies, listening to music or focusing on other activities that overshadow having a meaningful experience with our inner self (although that’s also part of what makes pot so great).

Girl journaling with coffee

How to be more self aware

The next time you partake, turn off all distractions and be present in the moment. Taking a walk while high, especially out in nature and in complete silence, can be an extremely cathartic experience. How is your subconscious mind when high? What part do you play in your own life and others? Where do your thoughts take you?

You can also try this self contemplation journaling exercise that is useful (high or not) to dive deep into your inner self:

  • After ingesting your favorite strain, find a comfortable spot and begin by writing down any thoughts that arise. Also write down anything you happen to be feeling.
  • Is there a thought that stands out to you or keeps recurring? Think about where this stems from. What caused you to think of this particular thought?
  • Next, reflect on the future. Write down your future plans, goals, desires, and the reasons why these are important to you. What are your main priorities for the future and what’s standing in the way from reaching these dreams?
  • What does your ideal self look like? Include everything from looks and personality traits to relationships and your career.
  • Later, you can ask a friend, family member, or someone you trust to describe your main traits and personality. Does their answer match up with your beliefs about yourself and your priorities in life?

Marijuana and meditation to build self awareness

Meditation has been widely studied as a mechanism for coping, healing, and mindfulness. Self awareness is one of the main goals in most practices so it’s no surprise that adding marijuana to the mix can elevate and aid the process. Some people who practice meditation regularly do not recommend the use of marijuana or other psychoactive substances, while some encourage its use as an aid. Stacey Mulvey, the founder of an infused yoga and meditation studio in Las Vegas explains that cannabis can allow you to reach a place of enlightenment in your practice that normally takes people many, many years to achieve. Whether you meditate regularly or are completely new to the practice, cannabis may relax you enough to allow you to view yourself from a new perspective.

Marijuana and Depression

Obviously we are not medical experts and marijuana is not the answer for everyone, however it’s worth giving Mary Jane a try, particularly if you suffer from anxiety or depression since the plant is known to also treat these ailments. If you want to start getting to know the true you while improving your professional life via self awareness, cannabis may be able to assist you in your personal journey.

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