Thoughts and Experience on Cannabis
Cannabis has a long history in human culture and so does bonding around a fireplace. At first you might wonder the significance between the two, but I find there is a deep connection with relaxation and healing effects of cannabis.
Throughout history, fire has symbolized warmth and power. Its symbol transfers greatly into the real world as combustion creates energy to achieve certain tasks that otherwise would be impossible. Fire is what seems to separate man’s evolution from other species on our planet. This means from the beginning of the discovery of fire, humans were being surrounded by the smoke of the plants native to the land, which indirectly includes inhalation of terpenes. Terpenes can be found on all plants, even algae. The connection with terpenes in food is great but so is the inhalation of terpene smoke.
I began to question if some part of this activity is ingrained in human culture for good reason. Terpenes have effects and use in homeopathic medicine. The terpene linalool for instance, which is found in both lavender and cannabis, has been shown to promote relaxation. In Dr. Ethan Russo’s “Taming THC ‘’ he discusses terpenes in cannabis — benefits which include anti-inflammation, antifungal, sedation, etc. There is also an emphasis on the entourage effect and the synergistic effects of the combinations of cannabinoids and THC. Considering there are 250 terpenes have been found in cannabis, there is a lot to learn about how to utilize them in modern medicine (The Terpiodic Table).
Inhaling terpenes seems to be a way of establishing biodiversity in human consumption. We often think of food and beverage to be all which we consume but often we forget other senses. We too are just complicated animals needing to redesign our lives to our ideal environment. So it comes to be no surprise as humans adapt and evolve that our habits do as well. While we may not often have the time to share stories over a bonfire with friends after a long day of fighting for our basic needs (thankfully) we can bond with our friends over a joint or a bowl over the hardships or challenges that come with modern experience. A way to achieve a sense of peace in our beautifully traumatic world.
Campfires have been proven to reduce blood pressure (Dana). Lower blood pressure positively affects the heart and body in many ways leading to a longer lifespan. In addition, campfire bonding has been linked to prosocial brain experiences. Think back to your memories of being around the bonfire with friends? Mostly relaxing and comforting. Maybe even warm and fuzzy. Fire meditation whether alone or with friends seems to have many benefits, even with just a small flame.
While looking at the experience holistically, you can see how cannabis connects us to the parts of life we appreciate the most. Food is more enjoyable, your favorite games are more exciting, the sky is a more vibrant shade of blue. For those who have PTSD, depression, anxiety or difficulty appreciating the present moment, this is a small blessing.
Another part of the experience I think needs to be kept in mind is how powerful l placebo really can be. Part of the high is the packaging and marketing. As a previous budtender, I can tell you that it is the truth. If you have positive memories or messages about a certain strain versus another, the experience seems to vary.
In the power of the placebo, Kaptchuk says, “People associate the ritual of taking medicine as a positive healing effect. Even if they know it’s not medicine, the action itself can stimulate the brain into thinking the body is being healed.” (Harvard).
I see this as an opportunity to help you get grounded. Personally, I incorporate mindfulness practices of deep breathing and meditation to create a safe space for my mind, body and soul. A lot of which I struggled with committing to alone as my anxiety/PTSD symptoms would distract me from the task. By incorporating cannabis use, I could get my body and brain to relax enough to break out of the intrusive thought patterns. Self-discipline is very important when it comes to the healing journey and being able to actually meditate multiple times a week allowed me to reprogram my brain and body. But like anything in life, moderation is the key to being able to truly appreciate and be grateful for the experience. Not one thing seems to ever be the answer, but it’s the awareness of self and willingness to find ways to heal which truly allows change to occur.
Many in the cannabis community see this modern practice is a way of connecting us to our roots and ancestors. I see it as a way to get tuned in with nature and the ecosystem of planet Earth while taking advantage of its medicinal properties, adding it to my self-care grounding routine. There is still so much to explore when it comes to cannabis — along with many other medicinal herbs — and modern holistic medicine. Cannabis users and other herb smokers all seem to have this in common they find the act of smoking comforting and relaxing. So as long as you prioritize your health and are aware of how cannabis affects you specifically, toke (or your preferred consumption method) on my friend.
Dana Lynn, Christopher “Hearth and campfire influences on arterial blood pressure: defraying the costs of the social brain through fireside relaxation” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25387270/
Russo, Dr Ethan “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
The Terpiodic Table, accessed June 2022, https://eybna.com/terpenes/the-terpiodic-table/
Harvard Health Publishing, 2019, accessed April 2022, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-health/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect