Do you wish you could change your mood? So many of us do. And it makes sense. With the endless stressors in most of our everyday lives, it can be hard to escape from negative emotions like anxiety, depression, and anger.
As someone with a lifelong diagnosis of chronic anxiety, I know the feeling of being trapped in these seemingly endless emotional experiences. I know how hard it can be to do anything to pull yourself out. I remember it like it was yesterday, going weeks or months without relief from the anxiety, depression, and sense of frustration – and having everyone in my life telling me to ‘just relax.’ It’s easy to tell someone to just relax – but it’s often easier said than done. Actually relaxing is the hard part.
I suffered helplessly with my own anxiety and depression for a good chunk of my life – but then I made a simple change that totally shifted my experience. I started using a combination of cannabis and meditation. For me, this combination was life-changing. While I still experience a normal and healthy range of negative emotions, they don’t control my life anymore. Rather than weighing on me all the time, they come and go, and I’m able to be much more resilient to their effects when they are present.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one who has been helped by this combination. Research is starting to show that meditation and cannabis can make a serious impact on both your emotional state and your resilience to negative emotions.
Read on to learn the science behind this mood-boosting combination.
How Meditation Helps Your Mood
Meditation has long been associated with relaxation, improved mood, and stress relief. Still, new research is proving that this is more than just marketing buzz. Studies are now showing that even someone’s very first session of meditation can help reduce the anxiety they feel later in the day1. Meditation is an ongoing practice that can help reduce daily anxiety2 reduce depression3 and make us more resilient to stress. But meditation can also help reduce negative emotions in general – and part of this has to do with how it impacts our brain.
In a new study4 looking at data from over 1500 participants, researchers analyzed brain scans from both those who participate in meditation or yoga and those who don’t. Researchers looked at brain scans and their progression over time. They found that those who meditated or did yoga tended to have smaller right amygdala – an area of the brain associated with fear and aversion to unpleasant stimuli. This area of the brain takes negative stimuli and triggers emotional responses to it like fear or sadness. So the reduction in its size suggests a lessening of this reactivity towards stress or negative stimuli. Researchers in this study suggest that meditation can help improve our mood because it reduces our reactivity to challenging experiences and emotions. I can also help us to become more resilient to their effects.
This can have a significant impact on both your mood and your ability to change it.
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Modifying Meditation with Cannabis for Added Mood Boosts
As it turns out, cannabis can also help with shifting your mood and making you more resilient to emotional stress. Studies on cannabis show that its two primary cannabinoids, CBD5 and THC6, can reduce anxiety, boost your mood7, and make us more resilient to future stressors8.
This is partly because these compounds boost serotonin levels, much like conventional antidepressants do. This can give some added chemical assistance in maintaining your calm and keeping your mood positive.
Terpenes For Meditation And Energy
In addition to CBD and THC, other chemicals in the cannabis plant, called terpenes, have also been shown to be helpful for emotional resilience and balance. These chemicals are responsible for smell and taste in cannabis and other plants, and many of them have therapeutic benefits as well. For example, terpenes like limonene9 (also found in citrus) and alpha-pinene10 (also found in pine needles) are well known for their mood-boosting properties. They may help lift you out of depressive states. When it comes to anxiety relief, terpenes like beta-caryophyllene11 (also found in black pepper), linalool12 (also found in lavender), and myrcene13 (also found in mango) have incredible calming properties.
Related Article: How To Enhance Your Meditation with Terpenes
If you are looking for the best terpene for anxiety, one study14 actually compared different strains of cannabis and found anxiety relief was most correlated with the terpene trans-nerolidol.
Adding these terpenes and cannabinoids to your meditation practice can help improve your emotional resilience and boost your mood. It’s a winning combination that can help make it easier to deal with stress and depression right away and can help build even more resilience over time. So why not try it out?
Changing your mood isn’t always easy – but it can be a lot easier with meditation and cannabis.
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