“Medical” and “recreational” cannabis (marijuana) are now the law in more than half of the United States and gaining a foothold around the world. Many people familiar with these two types of marketplaces might describe them in the following ways.
These two categories of understanding cannabis use are insufficient.
An evolving way of thinking about cannabis use is to evaluate whether the plant is being consumed consciously. This perspective reveals the overlapping nature of medical and recreational cannabis.
Medical cannabis consumption is conscious cannabis. Some recreational cannabis consumption, but not all, is conscious cannabis.
Take, for instance, the healthy person who uses cannabis to calm down, or to get in the zone, or to change their way of thinking. Is this recreational use? If they live a happier, healthier, or otherwise “better” life through their use of cannabis, is it really merely recreational? Cleary not.
Conscious cannabis use can be defined as the use of cannabis to get more out of life. At its core this is a simple idea, but it involves deliberate thought and intention with respect to using cannabis. It also implies that cannabis can used without intention, lacking purpose and, perhaps, destructively. Important as it is to acknowledge the ways cannabis can be used to live a better life, it is equally important to understand the potential ways it can be misused and abused.
Con·scious Can·na·bis /ˈkän(t)SHəs ˈkanəbəs/ (noun)
The intentional use of cannabis to get more out of life.
Conscious cannabis use has two main facets. The first component is intention. Intention can be any number of potential reasons a person has to use cannabis – to relax, to connect with friends, to sleep, to get creative, to shift from a bad mood, to practice gratitude, to reset the mind, etc. The second component is engaged consumption – conscious use requires attention to the cannabis being consumed and the dose being received.
It takes two simple steps to use cannabis consciously - and ultimate to lead a better life alongside cannabis.
Deliberate intention of cannabis use is essential to regularly gaining value from consumption of the plant. It is a prerequisite for conscious use. Without intention, the plant controls you as much as you control the plant. Furthermore, without intention it is impossible to choose which and how much cannabis to consume.
Setting your intention for cannabis use does not ensure you will align results with your intention. Experiencing a particular result with cannabis requires understanding what you will consume and how much. The chemical (genetic and environmental) diversity of cannabis is immense – hundreds of cannabinoids, thousands of terpenes, and any number of unknown compounds contribute to the “Entourage Effect” you experience during consumption.
The diversity of cannabis, however, is not a lost cause. There has never been more information available to cannabis users than there is now, and new tools and resources are making it even easier to understand the likely effects of any given product. Namely, Leafly and Cannabinder, along with company websites that provide analytical information, like Heylo.
Cannabis (via cannabinoids and terpenes) can help promote homeostasis in mammals, including humans. Homeostasis can create lasting feelings of health and wellbeing, perhaps leading to a longer and more fulfilling life. But homeostasis is not inherent to cannabis use. Conscious cannabis use can increase the likelihood you receive potential benefit from cannabis by aligning your intention and consumption with your actual use.